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.

European Network on Religion and Belief – Brussels May 2012

Walking Madou – the entrance to a no-car zone in Brussels where children play on the street.  Several enorb participants stayed overnight at the nearby Institute of Cultural Affairs.

People from over 50 organisations gathered from across Europe yesterday and today in Brussels for mutual understanding and shared action.  Some were from religious traditions, some were from belief*/non-confessional/convictional/humanist/philosophical traditions.

A round table meeting was held at the EU Parliament with Vice-President Laszlo Surjan.  We discussed the contribution of religious and non-religious communities to overcoming discrimination, violence and extremism in Europe.

Several LBFN members had made suggestions for our contribution on moving from anger and violence to dialogue and positive action: I included the aftermath of 7/7 and the shooting of Jean-Charles de Menezes, Hate Crime Forums, responses to the protests against Harrow Mosque’s new minaret and the role of women.  Thank you to everyone who was in touch about this.

Here are some photos of the event.

Vice-President Laszlo Surjan (third from left) at enorb’s round table at the EU Parliament, with (l-r) Melissa Sonnino (CEJI), Jackie Goymour (Women’s Interfaith Network & LBFN) and Alan Murray (President of enorb).

Harjinder Singh (Sangat Sahib Gurudwara) and Martin Gurvich (Hindu Forum Europe – and enorb’s treasurer).

Catriona Robertson (Convener, LBFN, centre) speaking on how local communities move from violence to positive action, with Yolande Iliano (Chair, Religions for Peace – Europe, left) and Karen Walkden (LBFN, right). Thanks to Melissa Sonnino for the photo.

Georges Lienard (G3i) addressing the round table on Secular European Traditions: what contribution to European security?

Alan Murray (AFAN) and Dennis de Jong MEP.  Dennis spoke at today’s meeting.  He has brought together an all-party group of MEPs to support freedom of religion and belief – whatever your outlook on life, he said, religious or otherwise, you need the opportunity to reflect on it. The group is also in touch with the External Action Service, noting that it was slow to respond to the Arab Spring last year.

Amarjit Kaur (United Sikhs Belgium) who described the difficulties facing Sikh schoolchildren in Belgium in relation to religious dress.

Augustine Booth-Clibborn (Inter Faith Network UK) and Abdullah Faliq (The Cordoba Foundation)

Helene Egnell (Centre for Inter Faith Dialogue in the Diocese of Stockholm) and Hannah Wallace (consultant with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation).

Karim Chemlal (Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe), Alan Murray (All Faiths and None) and Gérard Delfau (Egalité-Laïcité- Europe).

Sayed Ali Abbas (Majlis Ulema Europe), Hannah Wallace, Catriona Robertson and Tinci Singh (United Sikhs).

Exchanges between enorb member groups across Europe was a popular idea.  There’s no substitute for visiting a local network in another country to learn about the different contexts and challenges – and in return, welcoming them to, for example, London.

It was inspiring to meet so many practitioners from across Europe who are building communities of trust in their own countries and who are committed to working with each other on a European level.

The enorb website is now live and will carry photos and reports of the Brussels meeting soon.

*The words we use to describe each other haven’t found consensus yet – a Buddhist participant reminded us that many Buddhists are both religious and non-confessional.

European Network on Religion and Belief 29th-30th May

LBFN is one of the groups bringing together a network of Europeans who are working across religious and belief boundaries.  The network has now been registered under the unsurprising name of European Network on Religion and Belief.

Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dr László Surján, has kindly invited us to the EU Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday 29th May at 3pm.

There will be a reception nearby that evening and an intercultural breakfast, workshops and lunch the next day so that groups from across Europe can get together and work out priorities for the first year or two.  A formal launch is planned for the autumn.

The title for discussion at the meeting on 29th May is a bit long-winded but highly topical – SECURITY: the contribution of Europe’s diversity of religions, humanist and philosophical traditions to overcoming discrimination, violence and extremism.

Let LBFN know if you’d like to apply for an invitation.  It promises to be a fascinating afternoon, with the opportunity of meeting multifaith/interconvictional groups and practitioners from across Europe.  Places are limited for the Parliamentary meeting, but there is more space at the subsequent events.

LBFN will be making one of several very short presentations at the EU Parliament – shall we add this topic to the agenda for our next LBFN meeting so that everyone’s views are shared?  Let me know your thoughts.

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 www.multifaitheurope.eventbrite.co.uk.  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.