Jews, Muslims and Christians join hands for interfaith service at St George’s Cathedral

South African Jews for a Free Palestine lead Shabbat prayers at St George’s Cathedral on Good Friday. Picture: Shakirah Thebus

South African Jews for a Free Palestine lead Shabbat prayers at St George’s Cathedral on Good Friday. Picture: Shakirah Thebus

Published Apr 2, 2024


Cape Town - In a truly unique expression of interfaith solidarity, a Shabbat, Iftar (fast-breaking meal), and Good Friday service was held at St George’s Cathedral on Friday, a site of many interfaith solidarity convergences.

The gathering was organised by SA Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP), St George’s Cathedral and cathedral dean Father Michael Weeder, and the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association.

More than 200 people filled the cathedral to witness and take part in the Shabbat service led by the SAJFP.

Since October 20, SAJFP has been hosting its “Shabbats Against Genocide” at various locations and sometimes in collaboration with other faiths and activists.

Shabbat services have also previously taken place at the Claremont Main Road Mosque and the Tennyson Street Masjied in Salt River.

SAJFP member Caitlin Le Roith said: “The role of the interfaith community is multi-layered. On one level, it provides a vital space for communal reflection to collectively process our grief and rage.

“On another, the interfaith solidarity movement works to dispel the myth that what is happening in Palestine is a religious conflict, and not colonial occupation, apartheid and genocide.”

SAJFP invited and hosted Rawan Masri, a translator at the Palestine Museum in Ramallah and co-founder of who also spoke at the event, and Fathi Nimer, a policy fellow at the Al Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network and co-founder of

Iziko Lamaqabane facilitated a visit of a group of Palestinian students from the Bethlehem Bible College.

A student of the murdered Palestinian writer and poet Dr Refaat Alareer, Eman, a Palestinian from Gaza, poignantly rendered his final poem, “If I must die”.

Alareer was killed inside his home during an Israeli bombardment on December 7, 2023.

“Hearing the heart-breaking and gut-wrenching details of life under occupation reminds us of the urgency of the Palestinian cause, calls up our humanity and our commitment to justice, and stirs us to action,” Le Roith said.

During the day, a three-hour vigil for Good Friday took place at the cathedral. At the interfaith gathering, Father Weeder opened the event with a warm and welcoming “Assalamu alaikum” and “Shalom”.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairperson and Claremont Main Road Mosque secretary, Jaamia Galant, said: “The interfaith gathering at St. George’s Cathedral was testimony once again to the rich legacy of interfaith solidarity in Cape Town that was forged during the anti-apartheid Struggle.”

The Shabbat services paused for the rendering of the adhan or Islamic call to prayer, signalling the breaking of the fast for Muslims at sunset. A small group performed salaah inside the cathedral. Attendees were asked to bring along food which was then shared with all.

“The interfaith gathering in solidarity with Palestine reaffirmed the struggle of the Palestinians as a struggle against Zionism, against settler colonialism, a struggle about land, dispossession and dignity, and not a religious struggle between Muslims and Jews or between Islam and Judaism,” Galant said.

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