This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Jesus the "mighty prophet"
A mosque is to stage a play about the lives of Jesus and Mary.
Worshippers from Leicester's Muslim Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Community are to stage the interfaith production to highlight the similarities between Islam and Christianity.
Jesus is a central figure in the Koran, in which he is known as Isa, and is revered as a major prophet fabled for his miracles, just as he is in the Bible.
The play will be performed at mosque in Duxbury Road, New Humberstone, Leicester.
The religious production is being put on as part of an inter-faith day of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
People wanting to attend the event from 7pm on Saturday, August 4, can either give up food and water during daylight hours, as most Muslims do, or just give up a treat.
Secretary of the organising group Ali Abbas Panju said: "Along with being the month of prayer, fasting and other benefits, Ramadan is also the month of unity.
"We are requesting that all attendees keep a one-day fast for the purpose of attaining closeness to God.
"The fast may be a fruit fast, a water fast, simply keeping away from something enjoyable for one day, or giving up a bad habit consciously for just one day."
The 40-minute play, called The Fast of Maryam and Isa, will be shown twice and focus on Jesus fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights.
Suleman Nagdi, of the Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicestershire, said: "Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all based on the same early texts and the only real difference between Christians and Muslims is that Jesus is not seen as the literal son of God in Islam, but as a mighty prophet who performed miracles.
"There are 24 mentions of Jesus in the Koran and a whole passage about his mother Mary.
"A lot of people are unaware of how important they are.
"The play has been chosen as it highlights these similarities and a devout Christian would be comfortable with the play.
"There are parts of the world where there are difficulties but there are also parts where Muslims and Christians work very closely together.
Christians and Jews are all considered 'people of the book' within Islam, following religions with the same message."
Manjula Sood, chair of the Leicester Council of Faiths, will be attending the event.
She said: "I think it's very helpful to celebrate the commonalities as well as the differences between the faiths.
"Judaism, Christianity and Islam have so many similarities and it's good to get together and remember the goodness of all faiths and the message of peace and harmony they share.
"Our ability to celebrate one another's faiths is a great strength of our city."
To reserve a place at the event, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org