Unity after Paris attacks

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Muslim, Jewish and multifaith leaders after the unity event at Regent’s Park.

LBFN helped to organise an event at London Central Mosque last Friday to demonstrate unity in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain took the initiative, inviting senior figures including Vivian Wineman (President, Board of Deputies of British Jews),  Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner (Senior Rabbi, Movement for Reform Judaism), Commander Mak Chishty (MPS), Jehangir Sarosh (Religions for Peace), Dr Harriet Crabtree (Inter Faith Network for the UK) and Mehri Niknam (Joseph Interfaith Foundation).

Cate Tuitt

Cate Tuitt

Several LBFN members attended, including Bessie White (Hounslow Friends of Faith), John Woodhouse (Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group) & Cate Tuitt, Justice & Peace Commissioner for the RC Archdiocese of Westminster, who shares her reflections here.

“Expressions of unity and hope were delivered in a meeting called by Dr Shafi & attended by Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies.

Commitments and dedications were expressed by all faith leaders and community advocates. A calling to be more motivated and engaged following the tragedy in Paris were made by the assembled dignitaries.

Shalom Salaam was the offered greeting to reflect the Jewish and Muslim days of worship, united in their grief for the loss of life of Jewish, Muslim and secular brothers and sisters.

Catriona of LBFN recalled visiting the Jewish Museum in Brussels after the shootings last summer, saying how important it is for Jews to be able to be Jews, for Muslims to be Muslims and for everyone to be who they are. She reflected on the passage from the Qur’an chosen by Sheikh Khalifa (49:13) on living well together while remaining different. She welcomed strong leadership as well as essential grassroots work.

Sorrow was balanced with the courage and dignity to continue to work tirelessly in support of one another, our faith communities and beyond to overcome those who try to divide our unity and peace.

Dr Shafi said this was a time for unity and engagement. He expressed sadness at the recent backlashes against Muslims.

Vivian Wineman reminded us of the wonderful religions of peace and love, the common bonds they hold and of the need to protect both Islam and Judaism as minorities in Europe.

The overall consensus was that we must not fall prey to what terrorism wants by reacting in a hostile manner to those of different traditions.

We must reinvigorate our efforts, build confidence and raise trust in renewed covenants for peace.”

theresamayThe Home Secretary spoke today on government measures to end anti-Semitism.

The Metropolitan Police will be holding a joint meeting with LBFN’s crime and security social lab soon.  Mosques, synagogues and others wanting to work together to improve safety are welcome – please get in touch if you are interested.

The Peace Café (continuing discussions from the London Peace Conference) meets six-weekly – contact LBFN for details.

The next LBFN meeting on Tuesday 20 January will include local reflections on the Paris attacks.

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Peace weekend | 20th, 21st, 22nd September

The London Peace Network (which LBFN brought together last year for the Olympic Truce) is up & running again.  The salaam / shalom / peace bird is on the wing.  Find all the latest information on https://www.facebook.com/sept21 – link, like, share!

This is an initiative which offers a simple and effective way to build and strengthen relationships between people from different religious and cultural traditions at local level – at the same time as many people all around the world are engaged in peace-building activities.

peace_leaflet_church_webThe UN International Day of Peace falls each year on 21st September.  Last year, hundreds of Islamic centres led their local communities in marking the day by inviting in visitors to exchange messages of peace.

This year Islamic centres will be inviting in visitors on Friday 20th September, synagogues on Saturday 21st September and (to warm up for next year when the Day will fall on a Sunday) churches on 22nd September.

What you can do:

  1. Decide when you would like your visitors to arrive.
  2. Contact your local faith forum to find people from different religious traditions.
  3. Invite them to your Islamic centre, synagogue or church, along with any information they may find useful for their visit.
  4. When they arrive, exchange the messages of peace on the back of the flyer – or your own messages of peace.
  5. You may offer a cup of tea or some simple hospitality – it is up to you.
  6. If you would like to stay in touch, exchange contact details before your guests leave.

Churches Together in England, amongst many others, is supporting this initiative.  The flyer for churches can be downloaded here.  The flyers for synagogues and Islamic centres will be available soon and the Christian Muslim Forum is helping local religious communities get in touch with each other.  Messages of peace from nine traditions are printed on the back of each leaflet.

Please circulate the flyers as they become available and assist your local faith forum or network to participate through issuing and accepting invitations during the peace weekend.

If you would like any further information or details, just contact LBFN’s convener.

What’s On: prayers for peace| funday | lunch | lectures | religious history

Seven invitations – two of them are for tomorrow.

Ismail SerageldinWednesday 29th May at 5.30pm: Lecture by Dr Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria, Memory, Culture and Hope: Reinventing Relations between the West and the Muslims, followed by a reception. The Drama Studio, Institute of Education (Main Building), 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL. Download invitation here.  Please register at administration@egyptculture.org.uk.

Wednesday 29th May at 6.30pm: Kensington and Chelsea Forum of Faiths: Inter Faith Prayers following the murder in Woolwich at Al Manaar, Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, 244 Acklam Road W10 5YG.  Contact Revd James Mather.

Thursday 30th May at 12.30pm: South London Inter Faith Group Lunch at Streatham Friends Meeting House, Redlands Way, Roupell Park Estate, Brixton Hill, SW2 3LU. As usual, a vegetarian lunch will be served at 12.30pm. Contact SLIFG at membership@southlondoninterfaith.org.uk.

Muslims-Multiculturalism-SOAS-2013Saturday 1st June – Sunday 2nd June: SOAS, University of London, Conference, Muslims, Multiculturalism and Trust: New Directions.  To consider the potential offered by lived experience and creative visions of intercultural exchange to offer new ways of envisaging multicultural experience.  Speakers include Rehana Ahmed, Valerie Amiraux, Claire Chambers, Sohail Daulatzai, Rumy Hasan, Salah Hassan, Tony Laden, Alana Lentin, Nasar Meer, Tariq Modood, Anshuman Mondal, Peter Morey, Stephen Morton, Jorgen Nielsen, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Amina Yaqin.

Friday 7th June at 6.30pm:  The 2013 WPCT Lecture will be given by the German Ambassador, H.E. Georg Boomgarden, Valuing Europe beyond economics: what binds us together? at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P 3EU.  Contact Win Burton.

BATCASaturday 8th June 12-5pmBATCA Funday in Broadwater Road, Tooting, London SW17.  Anglican church and Muslim school combine to provide fantastic afternoon of fun “Celebrating Life Together”. Attractions appeal to all including inflatables, fairground rides, clowns, sideshows, animals to pet from Kingston City Farm, arts and crafts workshops, sports, stalls run by craftspeople and stalls run by local voluntary and community organisations. Multicultural food will be on sale throughout the day. The road space will be closed to traffic and filled with attractions and stalls.  Contact Kate Allan.

Friday 14th June 12-4pm: Exploring Religious History in Wandsworth, with the Open University.  Balham Baptist Church, 21 Ramsden Road, London SW12 8QX.  Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network and the OU’s Building on History team invite you to explore the religious history of the area and to discuss a prospective local religious history project. Contact Nadeene Morris.

AGMs ahoy!

It’s the time of year for celebrations and AGMs.  Five invitations have dropped into the LBFN inbox.

ftil logoFaiths Together in Lambeth holds its meeting on Tuesday 11th June at 6pm – more details from the Chair, Alan Gadd.

batca logoBATCA – Balham & Tooting Community Association holds its AGM this week on Tuesday 21st May at 7pm.  Details from the Secretary, Narween Barwany.

The Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy‘s 10th Anniversary falls on Wednesday 5th June and celebrations will include welcoming the Mayor of Greenwich.  Contact the Co-ordinating Chaplain, Revd Malcolm Torry for more details.

hfof_logo_no_strapNot a meeting, but Hounslow Friends of Faith are planning a Walk of Peace and Friendship on Sunday 30th June.  Contact the Secretary for details.

Westminster Cathedral Inter Faith Group has circulated an invitation for Thursday 13th June at 4.30pm at the Cathedral’s hall.  Cardinal Tauran, the Pope’s senior advisor on interreligious dialogue, and representatives from different religions will offer prayers for peace in their different traditions.  More details from John Woodhouse.

Let LBFN know if you have an AGM or event planned and you’d welcome visitors from other boroughs.