Tzelem together with charities René Cassin and Detention Action brought together Jews, Muslims and Christians to call for an end to indefinite immigration detention. The interfaith day of action took place at Harmondsworth Moor, next to the largest immigration detention centre in Europe.
The event was part of the 'Time For A Time Limit' campaign, to highlight the plight of those held in immigration centres and to press for a maximum time limit of 28 days’ detention.
The UK is the only country in Europe not to have a time limit on how long immigrants can be detained. Innocent, and often vulnerable people, are routinely locked up for indefinite periods.
Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, of the Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, said: “As a rabbi of a Hillingdon synagogue I feel strongly that we cannot ignore the injustice that is happening right on our doorstep. Indefinite detention is a direct insult to Jewish morals.”
Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell joined in the discussion at the interfaith tent that was set up on the moor. He said: “British people would not support the system if they knew what it was like.”
The event's programme included the first-hand testimony of former detainees, and interfaith teachings and discussions.
Michael from Freed Voices, a group of former detainees held in the UK, said: "Detention is an affront to the human, moral values, at the heart of all religious faiths. Muslim, Christian, Jewish - whatever you are or wherever you are from, detention affects us all. It ruins lives and destroys communities. It's time those communities stood up and demanded change. It is time for a time-limit."
Those gathered took part in the breaking of the fast, as the Sunday fell within the Muslim fast of Ramadan and the Jewish fast of 17th of Tammuz.
His Grace Most Rev Kevin McDonald said: “These vulnerable people, many who have survived war, trauma and persecution, will experience severe distress and further loss of dignity while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. The people in Harmondsworth may only be 200m from us, but in terms of the rights that every human deserves - justice, equality and liberty - they are a million miles away.”