17/11/2016 17:25 GMT | Updated 18/11/2016 11:44 GMT

Amazon Prime Christmas Advert 2016: Powerful Film Depicts Friendship Between Vicar And Imam

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Amazon has surprised thousands with a powerful Christmas advert showing the friendship between a Christian Vicar and a Muslim Imam.

The American retail giant filmed the advert in the UK and quietly released it on Monday without the fanfare typical of its rivals.

Yet for thousands sharing the video online, the film’s message of unity couldn’t be more timely.

Watch the advert, above

The one minute, 20 second clip portrays lifelong friends and, according to Amazon:

... tells a story of a Christian Vicar and a Muslim Imam who are lifelong friends but aren’t as sprightly as they were in their youth.

One day the Vicar has a moment of inspiration and decides to do something to make the Imam’s life and work a little easier.

What the Vicar doesn’t know, is the Imam also has the same idea for the Vicar…

Amazon said it had worked with representatives of faiths in the UK including the Christian & Muslim Forum, the Church of England and the Muslim Council of Britain in creating the advert. 

These organisations helped Amazon be both accurate and respectful, it said. 

Church of England spokesperson Mark Arena told The Huffington Post UK: “We are delighted with reaction to this advertisement and we were so happy to work with Amazon. We were very clear that this tied into how our daily work so we thought: why not?

“What we are so interested in is the interfaith dialogue, given the level of outreach we are doing and this spoke so well to that.”

Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime's advert has surprised thousands online

The Church added: “The interfaith message of this advert reflects the long-standing, deep friendships between those of different faiths in communities across the country.”

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “The video from Amazon Prime is a brilliant advert highlighting an example of the strong friendships that exist between many Christians and Muslims across the country.

“The symbolism of gift-giving adds to the advert’s power, especially during seasonal festivities.”

Casting for the film reflected the advice Amazon received. The gentleman playing the Vicar is a practicing Vicar in London, while the man playing the Imam is a devout Muslim and the Principal of a Muslim School.

Producers used an actual church, St Dunstan and All Saints Stepney Church in London, and the East London Mosque for scenes within the places of worship.