Freedom of speech, freedom of religion & belief

enorb logoTwo upcoming ENORB events in May.

LBFN has been closely involved in the European Network on Religion & Belief since its inception.

Tuesday 12 May 1-2pm, a lunchtime event at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P 3EU, to say au revoir to Kishan Manocha who is leaving for Warsaw soon.  Kishan (currently Director of the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’í Community in the UK) is taking up a post with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and will be talking about his new role and the changing European context for freedom of speech and freedom of religion & belief.  Europe House requires registration; to add your name to the guest list, please email LBFN.

Wednesday 27 May – Thursday 28 May.  ENORB’s AGM takes place in Brussels and the focus this year is Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Belief and Solidarity: what limitations are acceptable in a plural Europe?

ENORB AGM 2015There will be a full programme, with speakers from ‘laiciste’, religious and non-religious perspectives.  The AGM will start at 13:15 on 27 May after a shared lunch, with speakers and group discussions in the afternoon, followed by an evening meal.  Workshops and discussion will continue on the morning of May 28, when we shall also be agreeing policy directions for the next two years, finishing at 13:00.

ENORB meetings in Brussels are conducted in English (& a little French, which is interpreted).  They draw a wide range of people from across Europe, as well as EU officials and MEPs.  There is no charge for attending, overnight accommodation is available for around €50 and Eurostar train tickets from London start at £69 return.  Download the invitation here and register online at

Humanism, atheism, secularism across Europe: 12 November

Europe House 12 Nov 2014To mark Inter Faith Week 2014, LBFN and ENORB UK have invited Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association, to speak to us at Europe House, Smith Square, Westminster, SW1P 3EU on Wednesday 12 November 10am – 12pm.

Download the invitation here.

Andrew will be talking about the varieties of humanist, atheist and secular thought across Europe and how religious and secular groups can work together to promote fair treatment for people of all religions and beliefs.

There will be respondents from different traditions, followed by discussion.  Coffee and refreshments will be served from 9.45am.  Registration is necessary to clear security at Europe House, so please email LBFN’s convener by 10 November if you would like to attend.

Towards a More Equitable Religion and Belief Landscape


Full house at ENORB UK’s third meeting, which included presentations from the Religion & Society Programme, Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Consortium.  The afternoon ended with William Barylo’s new film “Polish Muslims”.

The University of Derby’s Professor Paul Weller was one of the speakers at the recent ENORB UK meeting as guests of the Human Rights Consortium, University of London.  You can download the slides from Paul’s presentation here – he has asked that we respect the request on the first slide © Not for direct quotation or reproduction without permission of the presenter.  Summaries of the research for distribution can be downloaded here and here.  Download a list of participants here.

Dr David Perfect of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission reported on recent research by the EHRC with Goldsmiths, University of London and the Coexist Foundation.  The meeting was well attended and it was good to see LBFN members, including John Lester (Havering), Jackie Goymour (Women’s Interfaith Network), Aliya Azam (Brent) and Steve Miller (FbRN).

The meeting ended with a new film, Polish Muslims, with an introduction by the director, William Barylo.

The next ENORB seminar in Brussels, Belgium, will be on 3-4 December.

[Apologies for very late posting – this somehow slipped the ‘publish’ button. ENORB UK is part of our Europe social lab and the next meeting will take place this autumn with the British Humanist Association.]

Unfair treatment as a result of religion or belief

Some of us attended the Religion & Society Programme‘s Westminster Faith Debates and contributed to its research on unfair treatment on the grounds of religion or belief.

The results have just been published and Paul Weller, Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby is speaking at the

University of London, Room STB9, Senate House, Malet Street, W1E 7HU on

Wednesday 16th October 2.00pm – 5.00pm

ENORB UK 16 October 2013The European Network on Religion & Belief, which LBFN has supported from the beginning, is developing a UK group of those interested in mutual understanding and common action between religious and non-religious groups.  We are interested in forming links with grassroots European multifaith and intercultural groups.

This is an opportunity to hear how discrimination in the UK has changed over the last ten years and to discuss the implications of this with others.  What is the situation in London boroughs?  How does discrimination or unfair treatment affect our community life?  What are the different ways in which we try to reduce discrimination and encourage fairness, particularly in relation to public services?

Dr David Perfect of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in Manchester will also be describing EHRC’s recent dialogue events in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London.  Some of us were involved in these conversations, too, so it will be good to hear how the research is developing.

Please download the flyer and pass it on to your networks and local public agencies – your local Council, police, NHS and Fire Service.  Those responsible for engagement and equalities will find the afternoon very informative.

The afternoon will end with a screening of a short film by William Barylo on Polish Muslims.  There are Muslim communities which have lived in Poland for centuries and others which have arrived more recently – this is a fascinating insight into Polish society and the director, William Barylo, will tell us more about it.

European network meeting | shared iftar


Conway Hall and the South Place Ethical Society, which dates from the seventeenth century and now hosts lectures and events for Humanists, atheists and interested people from many religious and belief traditions.

This Wednesday afternoon (17 July) there is a meeting of an exploratory group interested in linking with the European Network on Religion & Belief (which promotes understanding between religious and humanist/atheist groups, challenges discrimination and links to multifaith/multiconvictional grassroots groups across Europe – LBFN has been involved in this from the start).

After the meeting, we are invited to the London Muslim Centre in E1 to join Muslim friends in breaking the Ramadan fast with a meal (around 9pm).

We are meeting at Conway Hall, which has a long history and is “an educational charity whose aims are the study and dissemination of ethical principles based on Humanism and freethought, the cultivation of a rational and humane way of life, and the advancement of research and education in all relevant fields.”  The CEO, Dr Jim Walsh, is hoping to tell us something about Conway Hall at the start of our meeting.

We will be welcoming contributions from:

1. Yolande Iliano, Chair, Religions for Peace–Europe and founder member of ENORB

i. Inter/multifaith and inter/multiconvictional work in Europe

ii. Young Ambassadors for Europe 2014 – a life-learning, intercultural journey on the Danube, facing water challenges

2. Abdullah Faliq, The Cordoba Foundation: Lessons from Woolwich and implications across Europe.  Steve Miller, Faith-based Regeneration Network: Muswell Hill after the fire at the al-Rahma Centre (Steve has sent this informative link from Channel 4).

3. Navleen Kaur, All Faiths And None: Sikhs in Europe

4. Rosalind Parker: grassroots intercultural arts projects in the UK & in Europe

5. Stephen Shashoua, 3FF: Explorations in Sweden, Munich & Vienna.

6. William Barylo: Polish Muslims – an unexpected meeting (new film)

7. Pavan Dhaliwal, British Humanist Association: Humanist Marriage and the passage of the Same Sex Marriage Bill through Parliament

Let LBFN know asap if you plan to

  1. attend the meeting and/or
  2. join Muslim friends in breaking the fast later in the evening

If you would like to be added to the email list for this group, please let LBFN know.

European network AGM 21 May

enorb logoLBFN has been part of this European initiative from the start, linking intercultural groups across Europe which are building communities of trust, challenging discrimination and engaging with the EU.

So please make yourself welcome at ENORB’s first AGM in Brussels on Tuesday 21st May at 1pm.

Download the invitation and the programme which have all the details.  Registration is at eventbrite.  We are also forming a loose network in the UK to link to ENORB and to share experience and expertise on religion and belief issues – please let LBFN’s convener know if you are interested in joining the mailing list.

Samovar, mint tea or chai? Inter Faith Week | 26 November 3-5pm

After Breakfast (2010) and then Lunch (2011) in Multifaith Europe during Inter Faith Week, LBFN welcomes you to afternoon tea with a difference!

Download the flyer here and distribute to your networks.

Come to the Boardroom, 1st Floor, Voluntary Sector Centres, The Merchant Centre, 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3BF on 26th November 3-5pm.

There will be updates from the European Network on Religion and Belief (launched this year) and discussion on how local religious, multifaith and interconvictional groups across Europe can work together for the common good.  Local communities in Europe face a number of challenges.  What are the issues?  How do we tackle them together?

Bring tea leaves (or bags) of your choice, and any additional ingredients, and we will enjoy a wide range of tea which is currently drunk in very different ways across the continent.

We are delighted that the Faith-based Regeneration Network is hosting this special occasion – thank you!

Book now to reserve your place: there are limited seats around the boardroom table.

Lunch in Multifaith Europe

Interested in the emerging European Network on Religion & Belief?  You’re in excellent company.

Frugal lunch but sparkling company at Europe House

People from over 30 organisations met at LBFN’s Interfaith Week event at Europe House yesterday.  Those who stayed on to network were pleased to meet Michael Shackleton, Head of the European Parliament Information Office, who was showing a visitor a striking portrait of Churchill.

Here are some photos – the programme can be downloaded here, you can see the clip from Plain Tales of the Hijab here and the Limmud film is here.

Navleen Kaur & Rachel Heilbron

Phil Rosenberg & Arzoo Ahmed







Catriona Robertson, Mansoor Habib, Jon Dal Din (hidden), Hannah Wallace & Steve Miller

Revd David Rayner, Revd Andrew Moughtin-Mumby & Tarsem Bhogal

Rabbi Larry Becker, Revd Richard Jones & Canon Giles Goddard









Suggestions for the new network and launch next year include:

  • local-to-local links
  • tackle racial and religious hatred
  • marketplace so that Europe-based groups can find each other
  • improve the competence of government institutions in dealing with religion & belief (explanation of terms)
  • model effective ways of bringing people of different traditions together
  • involve young people & youth groups
  • promote effective education on religion & belief
  • ensure a proper space for women
  • facilitate conversations between social justice work and academic & theological research
  • concern about the far right
  • acknowledge complexity and the different historical contexts across Europe
  • celebrate the wide variety of religion & belief traditions in Europe today
  • a convivial evening event at the launch, bringing together people of all faiths and none

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please let us know asap.  The next planning meeting in Brussels is on 8th December – LBFN and All Faiths And None will be present.

European network on religion & belief – 28th November

Last year’s Brêakfåst in Mültifaitħ Eŭrőpe during Inter Faith Week was a great success, despite the early hour.   Catch up with the latest news on the Europe page.

This year, we are meeting at Europe House, the European Parliament’s United Kingdom Office in Westminster, on Monday 28th November.

We’ll meet at 12.45pm for 1-2pm, with extra time for networking after that.  I guess we should call italthough you’d be wise to bring your own tiffin/sandwiches/piece if your lunchtime requirements go beyond light refreshments.

Let me know if you’d like to know more or download an invitation here.  You will need to add your name to the guest list at  The planning group is working towards a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels next year.

Europe: building trust between communities

At LBFN we have welcomed the possibility of stronger links with similar grass-roots groups across Europe.  Our Breakfast in Multifaith Europe during Inter Faith Week last year brought together several other groups with similar interests.

Last week an exploratory meeting involving pan-European groups took place in Brussels and was followed by a meeting at the European Commission, arranged by Alan Murray, Director of All Faiths and None.  LBFN’s Convener was happy to take part in both.  There was a positive response and there is a possibility of a conference later in the year, again in Brussels, bringing together intercultural groups (within the EU ‘religion & belief’ includes Humanist traditions) from across Europe.