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.]

Jewish Museum Brussels

Several LBFN friends have visited Brussels to contribute to meetings of the European Network on Religion & Belief.  The shootings over the weekend at the Jewish Museum there, on the eve of national and EU elections, have made distressing news.

The League of Muslims in Belgium has issued a statement condemning the killing of innocent people.  ENORB has an English translation of the LMB statement on its website.  CEJI – a Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe – has also responded with an article on Anti-Semitism and the Future of Europe outlining recommended actions.  Karim Chemlal (LMB) and Robin Sclafani (CEJI) are both members of ENORB and will be participating in the AGM on 17-18 June in Brussels, which will include a reflection on the results of the EU elections and their impact on religion and belief communities across the continent.


Three invitations to Europe-related events:

The third of Faith Forum for London‘s EP Election hustings takes place this evening at 6.30pm-8pm at the Al-Khoei Foundation, Chevening Road, Brent NW6 6TN.  Confirmed speakers include Jonathan Fryer (Lib Dem), Glyn Chambers (Conservatives), Claude Moraes MEP (Labour) & Shahrar Ali (Green Party).

europehouse-mediumEurope House (where LBFN held its 10th anniversary last November) is hosting a panel discussion on the results of the election and the implications for Britain and Europe on Thursday 29 May 5-6.45pm. Register here.

The European Network on Religion & Belief, which LBFN has been instrumental in setting up, holds its second AGM on 17-18 June in Brussels.  The event is free of charge – register & find full details here.  There are excellent speakers (including Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University), themed workshops, an opportunity to meet others from across Europe, social visits (including the European Parliament), shared meals and a discussion of the impact of the EP 2014 elections.  Several LBFN members have made the trip to Brussels over the past three years – catch a train and join in!

Arts Event PosterSTOP PRESS – Journey into Europe

One more Europe-related event, Sunday 18 May 5.15pm, a joint event supported by Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue at Universal Peace Federation, 43 Lancaster Gate, W2 3NA.

Prof Akbar Ahmed will introduce his new research on Muslim Culture in Europe, Journey Into Europe, with British Muslim artists & musicians from Rumi’s Cave.

What’s On

A quick round-up of activities in London over the next couple of months, for activists and thinkers alike.  Plenty to get our teeth into – enjoy!

sfmhThursday 24 April 12.30-2pm South London Inter Faith Group informal lunch meeting at Streatham Friends Meeting House, Redlands Way, SW2 3LU.

Tuesday 29 April, 6pm – 8pm Multifaith Hustings for the European Elections at the Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Road, Brixton, SW9 7PH, organised by Faiths Together in LambethFurther details here.

PortcullisLogoTuesday 29 April 6.30pm at the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, SW1A 2LQ.  Building Communities In An Age Of Change, with GlobalNet21 & Community Development Network London. Speakers include Andy Sawford MP & Steve Wyler of Locality.  Details here.

hfof_logo_no_strapWednesday 30 April 7.15 to 9pm Women’s Discussion Group (discussion, support and friendship) Hounslow Friends of Faith, Hounslow Community Centre, Montague Road, Hounslow TW3 1JY.  Details here.

Wednesday 7 May 6.30pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, EC4M 8AD. Climate Change: Building the Will for Action with Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Download the flyer here & book a place here. 8 May 7 – 9 pm Faiths Together in Croydon event on Interfaith Marriage at CVA, 82 London Road, CR0 2TB. Contact Matt at

Saturday 10 May 7.00-8.15pm Conversations for the Soul (one to one interfaith conversations about beliefs and practice) at the South London Islamic Centre, 8 Mitcham Lane, SW16 6NN.  Details from John Woodhouse on 020 8677 0588 or 0790 8888 586 or email

Sunday 11 May 2.30pm Lambeth Multi-faith Action Group. Faith in lamag-spring-event-2014Education at Corpus Christi Church Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 5BJ.  Speakers include Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Sarah Thorley and Fr Joseph Briffa SJ.

Monday 12 May 6 for 6.30pm at 77 Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2EZ  Atheists: the Origin of the Species with Nick Spencer of Theos (book launch and discussion).

peace bird v smallTuesday 13 May 9.45-11.45am London Peace Network planning group meets in central London, probably in the Euston Road area.  The Peace Network was brought together by LBFN to promote the Olympic Truce and to support local peace-building. Visit the website to see what is planned and let LBFN know if you’d like to join us for the planning meeting – you would be most welcome.  Check LPN on Facebook.

Tuesday 13 May12.00 to 13.30 Lunchtime Dialogue in Whitechapel with the Christian Muslim Forum. A regular session based on Conversations for the Soul (tandem dialogue between people of different faiths) on the second Tuesday of each month. More details from CMF here.

GoldsmithsWednesday 14 May 5-7pm Faiths & Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths.  Faith in the Public Realm Dilwar Hussain of New Horizons in British Islam at lecture room RHB 137. Registration and more details here.

Wednesday 14 May 5.30pm to 7.00pm.  RUSI, 61 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET.  How has religion become an agent in peace-building in conflict areas of the world?  Westminster Faith Debates.

london-interfaith-centre-logoWednesday 14 May 18.30 Narrative Practitioners Forum – for those who use personal narrative and story in their work to share best practice and learn from each other. At the London Inter Faith Centre, 125 Salusbury Road, NW6 6RG. With St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation & Peace, the Forgiveness Project, International School of Storytelling and Guerrard Hermes Foundation for Peace. £10. Book here.

Friday 16 May  Deadline for call for abstracts (invited from scholars and relevant practitioners) for an academic workshop Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain. Wide range of papers welcomed. Workshop organised by the Dialogue Society and Coventry University on 20-21 November in Coventry.

Thursday 29 May 10.30-15.00 Religion and Belief in Higher Education conference at SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London, N1 9BE. Papers include one on the social and academic experiences of Christian, Sikh, Muslim and Jewish students. £60. Details here.

chris2-300x169Tuesday 10th June to Thursday 12th June: Understanding Islam, a three day course with Dr Chris Hewer and the Faithful Friends group in Ham, Richmond. More details from Diana Mills at

Saturday 14th June 9.45am-6pm Westminster Interfaith’s 29th Annual Multi-Faith Pilgrimage for Peace – this year in Haringey.  This is always a popular event – booking form & contacts here and more details in the latest newsletter here.

Monday 16 June  Reflections of Jesus and Muhammad, or Distortions?  Day conference with the Christian Muslim Forum and several leading speakers at Abrar House, Crawford Place, nr Edgware Road W1H 4LP.  Details & registration here.

enorb logoTuesday 17 June – Wednesday 18 June  European Network on Religion & Belief AGM in Brussels, Belgium. Grassroots practitioners from across Europe gathering together, with Matthew Goodwin (Nottingham University) speaking on the far right in Europe and the impact of the recent elections.  This is a free event (reasonably priced accommodation available), with a visit to the European Parliament and Commission included. Further information & registration here.  LBFN has been part of ENORB from its inception.

Christian_Muslim_Forum_LogoThursday 26 June 18.30 to 21.00  Multiculturalism – Problem or Solution?  How do we all fit together, what kind of society do we live in, is it working?  Speakers include Dan Nilsson DeHanas, Akeela Ahmed, Ajmal Masroor, Revd Alan Green (Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum).  £5. Details from the Christian Muslim Forum.

Members of Kingston Inter Faith Forum & South London Inter Faith Group appeared on Sky News on Monday, sharing views following the Prime Minister’s Easter message.  View the clip here.

headingGreater London Presence & Engagement has produced a helpful briefing (Susanne gave us a sneak preview at our last meeting) to the controversy surrounding ‘religious slaughter’ – download it here.

At LBFN’s last meeting at DCLG we agreed to form several ‘social labs‘.  Our regular meetings are very successful at bringing a wide range of practitioners together from across the capital, but there are too many of us now to discuss our concerns in depth each time.  Have a look at the Social Labs page and let the convener know which one(s) you’d like to be involved with – there are six to choose from.

waterA few borough networks are refreshing their ideas, getting involved in new activities and attracting new members.  Contact LBFN if you’d like to meet up with similar faith forums/multifaith networks to share experiences.  Our Waterloo office is a perfect meeting space, with its informal cafe and plenty of space.

Please pass news on to your communities and networks and let LBFN know if you have any events, publications, job opportunities or news you would like to share.

Keep in touch via email.  And if you are on Facebook, please ‘like’ LBFN’s page and use it to link to your own activities.  LBFN’s convener tweets @multifaith and is always happy to find LBFN friends on Twitter.


EU election hustings

Faiths Forum for London is organising a series of hustings, ahead of the EU elections on 22 May, supported by Europe House.  The first is this weekend, on Sunday 30 March 5-7pm at The Sternberg Centre, 80 East End Road, Finchley, London N3 2SY.

EU electionsThe line-up includes:

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, Conservative Party
Jean Lambert MEP, Green Party (Invited)
Ivana Bartoletti, Labour Party MEP candidate
Jonathan Fryer, Liberal Democrats MEP candidate
Gerard Batten MEP, UKIP (Invited)

There will be two further hustings in the series, one at an Islamic centre and the other at a Hindu temple.  To register for Sunday’s event, visit the Europe House website.

Inter Faith Week 17 – 23 November

inter faith weekEvents in London are beginning to appear on the Inter Faith Week events map: blood donation (Bushey), end of life traditions (Golders Green), civic (Brixton) and headteachers’ (Westminster) events. 

This year the Week will be celebrated from Sunday 17 November to Saturday 23 November.  It falls within the European Semaine de Rencontres Islamo-Chrétiennes 14 – 24 November.

If you are planning an activity, add it to the official IFN website so that everyone knows about it and can come along if they’re able to.  Inter Faith Week is now in its fifth year and the aims are

  • Strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels
  • Increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
  • Increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs

Download the flyer and have a look at the variety of London events in a previous year in our Archive section.

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.

European Network seminar | Brussels 19-20 March

enorb_invite_cardThis is a good opportunity not only to discuss discrimination across Europe at the EU Parliament, but to meet practitioners from across the continent.  The event is free for small organisations and you can register here.

Some participants are staying on for the afternoon and evening of 20th March for some informal networking – a couple of visits and an evening meal together.  Let me know if you’d like to join us.