Women in Conflict: a writer’s perspective | Shami Chakrabarti | 21 September

win-logo

The Women’s Interfaith Network invites us to join them at Berwin Leighton Paisner, Adelaide House, London EC4R 9HA, on Wednesday 21st September 6.00pm – 9.00pm to hear Shami Chakrabarti in conversation with Elif Shafak, Bahiyyih Nakhjanvani and Saurav Dutt, followed by a Q&A session and refreshments.

Download the flyer here.  Admission: £15 WIN Members and Students / £20 Non-WIN members.  Tickets available from http://billetto.co.uk/en/events/women-in-conflict-from-a-writers-perspective.

Bahiyyih Nakhjanvani is an Iranian who was educated in the UK and USA and now lives in France. In 2007 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liege. Her books have been translated into many languages. Her novel The Woman Who Read Too Much is set in the 19 Century and centres around a poet and scholar who shocked the political powers of Qajar Persia and violated religious convention by casting aside her veil.

Elif Shafak is a Turkish columnist, speaker and academic. She has published 14 books, nine of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English, blendingWestern and Eastern storytelling traditions on stories of women, minorities, Immigrants and youth. Her writing draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions reflecting her interests in history, philosophy, Sufism and cultural politics. She was awarded the title Chevalier de lOrdre des Arts et Lettres in2010.

Saurav Dutt, a trainee lawyer of Bengali parentage, is the Guardian Books and LA T Times Books short listed British author of fiction and non-fiction works who has written for The Guardian and The Independent. He is a novelist, independent film producer, playwright, screenwriter and above all an accomplished author. His latest  novel The Butterfly Room challenges the stigmas attached to gender, sex, discrimination, homophobia and domestic violence.

Film premiere | #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship | 21 September

londonisopen-21-septLBFN’s peace & reconciliation strand includes convening the London Peace Network, which marks the UN International Day of Peace each year.

Join film-makers, artists, religious leaders and LBFN friends from across the capital on Wednesday 21 September at 8am-9am at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square for the premiere of a short film celebrating London’s places of worship – we are open and welcoming, not closed and fearful. Download the flyer.

The film is inspired by the Mayor of London’s #LondonIsOpen series and will be shown at Southwark Cathedral later in the year in the presence of the Mayor.  Churches, Islamic centres, temples, synagogues, meeting houses and gurdwaras will be open to guests during their times of worship or meeting on 23, 24 and 25 September – contact LBFN for details.

To secure your place, please register on the Eventbrite page.

Refugees & Migrants: what is the current crisis telling us?

Refugees & Migrants 21 SeptemberJoin us for a Syrian Breakfast on Monday 21 September 8.15am – 9.30am to mark the UN International Day of Peace 2015 at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PW (Goodge St tube).

The London Peace Network, Christian Muslim Forum, East London Mosque & the Faith-based Regeneration Network will be welcoming speakers from different walks of life: Phil Champain, Director of 3FF (formerly of International Alert), Dr Maha Azzam, policy expert on the Middle East, Dr Omer Hamdoon (Muslim Council of Britain) & Steve Miller (Faith-based Regeneration Network). There will be a chance for everyone to add their own thoughts and reflections.

Please let LBFN know by 5pm on Sunday 20 September if you plan to join us.

Please circulate this invitation to your colleagues & networks.  We look forward to seeing you!

Autumn’s coming!

For some, August is a chance to get a bit of work done without a cascade of emails and phone calls, for others it’s a well-earned rest and an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

Either way, London springs back to life soon!  Check your online calendar or paper diary now and don’t miss out . . .

DCLGlogoFriday 21 August (deadline) Senior Policy Advisor – leading on Muslim community engagement at Department for Communities and Local GovernmentThe Faith Engagement team is seeking an individual to fulfil the role of Senior Policy Adviser, leading on Muslim community engagement, helping to lead the faith team and, in particular, to help diversify and strengthen Government engagement with Muslim communities across a range of issues.  More information here.

UtopiaUntil Sunday 23 August  Utopia at the Roundhouse, Camden Lock.  Life stories from ordinary and extraordinary Londoners from many backgrounds brought together in an installation by film maker Penny Woolcock and Block9 (Glastonbury), with video & evening performances.

easternfaithsrWednesday 26 August 6.30pm – 9pm at London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre.  Eastern Faiths Scriptural Reasoning “seeking to engage the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Assyrian and Buddhist communities so that we may know one another without ignorance.”  Scriptural Reasoning is where people from different faiths gather to read and reflect on short passages from their scriptures. Scriptural reasoning is not about seeking agreement, proselytising or ‘being right’ but rather increasing understanding about one another’s traditions and exploring the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries. The result of this is often a much deeper understanding of ones’ own and others’ scriptures.  Booking essential, contact Jayde at London Central Mosque.

LePolicierAmoureux_1905x800-1200x504-350x200Thursday 3 September to Saturday 3 October Our friends at International Alert are holding their annual Talking Peace Festival.  This year’s line up includes ‘Peace in our cities’, looking at how urban conflicts erupt and what can be done to reduce potential flashpoints, ‘Peace from the street up!’ art show, Conflict Cafés (Middle East, Nepal), Peace Tracks, ‘Can an app stop a bullet?’ and much more, marking the UN International Day of Peace on 21 September.  Details at talkingpeacefestival.org.

london-interfaith-centre-logoMondays in September (dates tbc)  Christian response to religious plurality past and present, and how other faiths deal with the issues of religious plurality.

A new module starts at the London Interfaith Centre, part of their programme on “Living Together in a Multi Faith World”. More information here.  Contact Laurence Hillel for details.

slide-1Saturday 5 September Tour de Salah 2015 sponsored cycle ride, stopping off at London’s iconic Islamic centres for prayer, across London in support of humanitarian charities Human Appeal, Islamic Relief and Penny Appeal.  Register here.

ftil logoSaturday 5 September 10.30am – 4pm  Lambeth Inter Faith Walk 2015  A two mile walk through Streatham, visiting 6 places of worship starting at the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple. Download the map and directions here.  Some walkers will be sponsored, raising funds for Faiths Together in Lambeth.

ehrcWednesday 9 September 5pm – 7pm at the University of Chester: the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Work on Religion or Belief, organised by the Forum for Research into Equality and Diversity, the seminar will be led by Dr David Perfect (who has spoken at our European events) and will explore the EHRC’s policy, research and legal work on research or belief.  Further details and registration here or contact Chantal Davies at chantal.davies@chester.ac.uk.

Future of Faith 12 SeptemberSaturday 12 September 10am – 4.30pm.  Speakers and discussion on The Future of Faith in the UK – Evaluating Faith in a Secular Society with the Christian Muslim Forum, London Interfaith Centre and the Islamic Centre of England at St Anne’s and St Andrew’s Church, 125 Salusbury Road, London NW6 6RG (morning) and at the Islamic Centre of England, 140 Maida Vale, London W9 1QB (afternoon).  Contributors include Shaykh Dr Mohammed Ali Shomali, Bishop Paul Hendricks, Aliya Azam MBE, Dr Chris Hewer and Revd Maggie Hindley.  More information and registration here.

Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 September 9.30am – 4.30pm  Understanding Islam Course with Dr Chris Hewer in Kingston.  The course is designed for a small group of Christians who would like to learn more about Islam. Tuition is free but donations are welcome to cover costs. The course will take place in a private home. “Both Christians and Muslims have ‘wonderful ideals and awful realities’. We need to see the difference. Then we need to make sure that we compare like with like, ideals with ideals and realities with realities, and take care not to compare ‘my ideals’ with ‘your realities’.”  There is a further three day course on 13 – 15 November. Tea/coffee provided; bring your own lunch. Booking and commitment essential. More info from Diana Mills.

Tuesday 15 September  4pm – 5pm Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group at the Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace, close to Westminster Cathedral. The speaker will be Karanodakasayi Visnu Dasa Adhikari (Man Mohan Gupta) who will be talking on Vedic culture and civilisation. More info from John Woodhouse.

L_Strap_webThursday 17 September 9.30am – 8pm at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. The Impact of Diasporas.  The University of Oxford and the University of Leicester.  The event is the culmination and conclusion of two innovative, multidisciplinary five-year research programmes.  “Diasporas are not a modern phenomenon. Ever since the last Ice Age people have moved into the British Isles from the European continent. Our research focuses primarily on the cultural, linguistic, and genetic interactions between peoples known to history as ‘Celts’, ‘Britons’, ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and ‘Vikings’.”  More info here.

OHLW-2015-Web-Banner3178Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 September All day. Open House London.  Fifty-nine places of worship across the boroughs and many government and public sector buildings are open (free of charge) to the public during this annual architectural festival.

This year Open House includes BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the Buddhapadipa Temple, the Zoroastrian Centre For Europe, Friends Meeting House, Golders Green Unitarians, Lambeth Palace, Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue and The Queen’s Chapel (St James’s Palace).  More info here.

4cain-webMonday 21 September 7pm and four more Monday evenings. The Curse and the Promise: Religion and Violence St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square) Church Lecture Series reflects on both how faith can become the cause and perpetrator of conflict and persecution, and also the victim.

Monday 21 September Revd Dr Sam Wells, Monday 5 October Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Monday 19 October Revd Giles Fraser, Monday 2 November Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Monday 16 November Karen Armstrong. Download flyer.  More info here.

New_Scotland_Yard_sign_3Thursday 8 October LBFN’s training event at New Scotland Yard on cooperation on safety and security for local places of worship, with Ecclesiastical Insurance, Tell Mama, the Community Security Trust, London Resilience and the Metropolitan Police.  The training will include checklists and guidelines.  Our previous session was very popular, so early booking is recommended. Priority is being given to churches, temples, Islamic centres, gurdwaras and synagogues which book in pairs or groups. Contact LFBN’s convener for further details and booking.

Thursday 15, 22 October and 5 November  Community Reconciliation – working creatively with division at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.  A series Modern artof practical workshops to assist participants to develop strategies for bringing divided communities together. £150 for the three days and the workbook.  More info here.

Sunday 15 November to Saturday 21 November Inter Faith Week 2015 – visit the website here to add details of your local activities this year.  Download the flyer here.

Symposium-2-300x200Londoners may be interested in an initiative by the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, enabling difficult conversations around lived faith in Birmingham post ‘Trojan Horse’. A series of conversations over six months explored the theme ‘What does Lived Faith look like in a 21st Century City?’  A group of 24 people from different faiths met once a month for three hours each time to talk through the way faith is lived in Birmingham. The group consisted of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Ravidassi and Sikhs.  The topics were wide ranging and included issues such as evangelism and conversion, gender issues, young people and education, caste legislation, race and global conflicts. The aim was not, necessarily, to reach consensus but to find a way to talk constructively about these topics.  “By ‘lived faith’ we are looking to move beyond a purely intellectual understanding of religion to see faith as something that not only affects the way each individual member of a religion lives out their faith, but also the way in which that living inevitably interacts with those who live around them.” Read more about the Birmingham Conversations here.

3FF is developing a Festival programme, What Women Believe, that will premiere in Winter 2015. At its heart an exhibition of portraits and histories will celebrate the contributions of amazing women from the diverse communities of Camden “Do you know an inspirational woman in Camden?  Nominate a woman who is older than you and tell us about her in 150 words. Email your nomination to exhibition@3ff.org.uk. Stories will be shared in our online gallery, and a selection will be featured in a book and exhibition to celebrate Camden women.”

2094353690_a5e474dc5dThe Berakah Project is starting a multi faith youth ensemble in west London – the first of its kind in the world. The ensemble will be led by the founder of The Berakah Project, Mohammed Nazam, a professional musician and music educator with over 25 years touring experience with bands, writing music and working with young people in a range of contexts.  “We’re looking for young people from all faith backgrounds to take part and we are searching for the very best young musicians to take part in this ground breaking and vitally needed project.  Whether you play guitar, drums, percussion, sing, saxophone or keyboards – get in touch at: theberakahproject@gmail.com.”

IFN newsRead the latest Inter Faith Network for the UK bulletin here.  The well known Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals (for 2016) is now available on IFN’s website here.  Shap continues its printed format.

p01lcgjhBBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme in East LondonListen to this edition of the programme, recorded in East London on 26 July.  It includes bee hives at East London Mosque, the Near Neighbours Programme, Ed Kessler from the Woolf Institute and Imam Yunus Dudhwala, head of Chaplaincy Services at Barts NHS Trust (who spoke at LBFN’s Multifaith Spaces event) on organ transplants.

London Peace Café

tufts-cafe-usaMembers of our peace-building social lab were extra busy last month marking the UN International Day of Peace:

  • daily broadcasts on Premier Radio
  • London Peace Conference at St Ethelburga’s
  • visits to Islamic centres, synagogues, churches
  • #Flights4Peace over the Thames

A huge number of people got involved.  We’d like to keep these connections & collaborations going over the winter months – how can we bring our networks and our expertise together for peace?

Watch this space for news of the London Peace Café – hot chocolate, spicy snacks and excellent company . . .

Peace Conference | 15 September | St Ethelburga’s

A5_Peace-Conference-FinalPeace-building in the 21st Century – join people from across the capital on Monday 15 September at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. Download the flyer and register online.

From the crises in the Middle East, to reducing conflict in our homes and streets, this timely conference engages scholars, experts, faith and community leaders to discuss the limits and challenges of grassroots peace endeavours, learn peace-building skills, and explore conceptual frameworks governing peace and dialogue.

Here is an opportunity to listen to participants from different religious and cultural traditions, contribute our own insights and experience, refresh our conflict transformation skills, understand the hopes and fears of communities here and overseas, and take an active part in workshops and panel discussions.

Workshops include: Conflict Resilience, Dialogue Skills, Advancing Peace through the Arts, Hostage Negotiations.

Panels include: Peace versus War, Grassroots Peace-building, Conflicts in the Middle East, Peace or Appeasement?

The Muslim-Jewish arts group MUJU will be showing us their latest work on the theme of peace and Sikh students will be singing at lunchtime.  The Christian Muslim Forum, the Faith-based Regeneration Network and many others will be participating.

Lord Michael Bates, on his Walk4Peace to Berlin, acknowledging the anniversary of WWI and raising funds for child victims of war and conflict, has sent an encouraging message.  “It is all too easy to look around the world and get depressed about the cause of peace, but it is said it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness: that is exactly what London Peace Network are seeking to do and I applaud them for it and would encourage all those who care about peace to join in.”

Register online now – your contribution of £15 (£5 students/pensioners/concessions) will help cover costs and includes lunch. St Ethelburga’s is a beautiful and poignant venue but space is limited, so book ahead if you plan to attend. The full programme will be available next week.

If you would like any further information, please visit the London Peace Network or get in touch.

Staying safe in troubled times | action for peace

hate-crimeWith reports that hate crime on the grounds of religion or belief is on the rise in London, here are some useful contacts & sources of information and support which we can pass on to our networks.

Any hate crime, whether against a person or a place of worship, should immediately be reported to the police, calling 999 in an emergency.  Police contacts in each borough are listed here.  Third party reporting services (for those who prefer to report via a specialist organisation) are listed here.  Hate Crime Forums are active in many boroughs.

Two specialist organisations monitor anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish incidents.  They also offer support, advice and information for protecting individuals and religious buildings.  They are the Community Security Trust (for synagogues and Jewish communities) and Tell Mama (for Islamic centres and Muslim communities).  Both organisations offer security updates.

peace_bird_webThe violent conflicts in the Middle East are rightly causing a great deal of concern and distress across all communities in London.  Whilst speaking out privately and publicly, there is also a strong desire – especially where there are disagreements – to sustain the excellent local relationships which exist between Londoners from different religious traditions.

The widespread goodwill and friendship between local churches, synagogues, Islamic centres, temples and gurdwaras was demonstrated recently by open iftars during Ramadan in many boroughs, as well as interfaith walks, peace pilgrimages and visits across the capital.  Where there are differences of opinion, we aim to redouble our efforts to listen, to learn, to “disagree well” and to support those seeking peaceful solutions.  In a global city such as ours, we have opportunities not only to speak out but to come together in finding common ground to pursue just and non-violent ways forward.

Several statements on the Middle East conflicts have been issued, including two by the Archbishop of Canterbury here and here, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Muslim Council of Britain & the Women’s Interfaith Network.

Opportunities for people from different religious and belief traditions to come together in London for justice and peace include

  • Prayers for Peace in the Middle East Tuesday 5 August 4 – 5.30pm led by the Christian Muslim Forum and St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.  “We watch the news in great distress as we see our Jewish, Christian and Muslim sisters and brothers being killed and on the receiving end of atrocities in Syria, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt. We aim, through various inter faith and peace initiatives, to model the way of peaceful dialogue while petitioning our leaders and politicians to use their influence and intervene constructively. However, clicking on internet petitions and speaking out can seem like small actions or that our voices are not being heard. What can we do?”  Register here.

Lord Michael Bates, patron of the London Peace Network, sets off on his Walk for Peace to Berlin on Tuesday 5 August from City Hall at 11am, following the Westminster Abbey commemoration of the start of WWI the previous evening.  Last year he walked for the children of Syria, this year he is walking for the child victims of conflict and war.  Join us on Tuesday to give him a good send-off.

Please add to the above – helpful information, links, events – through the comments box below.