Jews and Muslims in St Albans came together to show solidarity against sectarian violence and terrorism and to support Syrian refugees.

More than 70 people attended an event at the Maltings Arts Theatre titled Poetry and Music of the Middle East.

Members of the St Albans Islamic Centre recited classic poems translated from the Arabic. The Jewish poet Yvonne Green read translations from Hebrew as well as some of her own work.

There were musical interludes by the Cretan musician and singer Kalia. And in the interval snacks of hummus, falafel, pickles and flatbreads were served, donated by the Vine Leaves restaurant in Harpenden.

Simon Bowden of Ver Poets said: “We thought the food was very important, because it’s the universal language of the Middle East.

“This was an edgy occasion – because no one knew until the last minute how it would work.

"In the wake of the Paris attacks, people were naturally nervous about taking part. But in the end, many were brave enough to come along and the spirit of the audience and the performers was fantastic.”

Among the organisers was the interfaith adviser for the St Albans diocese, the Revd Bonnie Evans-Hills.

She said: "It was an honour, as a person of faith, to be asked to read alongside those of the Jewish and Muslim traditions, as well as those of other convictions.

"Art speaks a language of the heart and soul that both defies translation - and doesn't ever really need it.”

Donations on the night raised almost £220 to help Syrian refugees and the money will go to the charity War Child which provides schooling for children in the refugee camps surrounding Syria.