21 faith leaders for the 21st century – #Interfaith21

Dr_NAv7W4AAwbFm-1024x640Young Christians, Muslims and Jews at the forefront of interfaith cooperation in the UK are honoured today in a unique collaboration between media outlets from the three faiths.

British Muslim TVChurch Times and Jewish News, together with Coexist House, joined forces for the 21 for 21 project to identify inspiring individuals aged under 40 who are increasing dialogue and breaking down barriers – particularly as volunteers but also in their working lives.

 

It is believed this is the first time media outlets from different faiths have cooperated in such a way anywhere in the world. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “At a time of concerns about antisemitism and Islamophobia, this initiative between media outlets of different faiths is more important than ever.

Despite the challenges, we have much to be proud of when it comes to the depth and breadth of interfaith cooperation in this country.  It is right we should celebrate those leading the way now and in the future.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM JEWISH NEWS (UK)

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Project launched to improve ties between Christians, Muslims and police

Bright yellow jackets worn for high visibility.Thu 04 Oct 2018

By Eno Adeogun

A new project is trying to get Christians, Muslims and people of other religions working together more closely to tackle crime.

Faith and Police Together wants to see more projects like the Street Pastors initiative – which help make our streets safer.

Paul Blakey MBE is a Christian and one of the founders.

He told Premier’s News Hour the group wants to promote good work the Church is already doing.

“As a Church, as Christians, we’re really good at engaging with our police,” he said.

“In some way we need to kind of support and celebrate and encourage and equip other faith communities to do similar things.”

The new initiative has identified addiction, homelessness, youth related crime and loneliness as four priority areas to concentrate on and to encourage faith communities to engage with over the next year.

Deputy Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Paul Netherton said in a statement: “Often faith groups have a high motivation to help within our society but sometimes don’t know how they can help or even how they talk to the police to find out what the problems are or how they can assist.

“My experience of working with groups and churches is that once you start the conversations you unlock massive social capital that can transform an area or make a real difference to a problem.

“This is a great initiative and is welcomed by the police and will lead to some transformational change to some of the most challenging social issues across the country.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM PREMIER (UK)

UK Sikhs serve iftar to 5,000 Syrian Muslims for Ramzan

khalsa_aid__3_The Sikh community is known for its generosity and selfless service. Exemplifying the value of ‘Sarbat da Bhalla’ which translates to well-being for all, Khalsa Aid, a UK-based international NGO, is providing iftar food packages for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Iraq.

Khalsa Aid is funding fresh food for Ramzan in collaboration with the Sawa for Development and Aid, a local Lebanese charity. Together they are providing fresh iftar meals to more than 5,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon daily through their ‘Ramzan Kitchen’.

It’s part of a month-long initiative run by Sawa Aid. Sawa means “together” in Arabic. The kitchen has been open for the past five years and is funded through donations.

The initiative has helped provide a sense of belonging for a community that has had to flee their homeland to escape persecution.

Khalsa Aid became the first ever cross-border international humanitarian aid organisation based on the Sikh principles. The charity was founded by Ravinder Singh, who was struck by the plight of the refugees in Kosovo in 1999.

FULL ARTICLE WITH VIDEO FROM INDIA TODAY 

Scotland’s Evangelical Island Gets Its First Mosque

81854Despite its size and location, the Isle of Lewis off the northwest coast of Scotland occasionally makes national news in the United Kingdom because of its conservative religious practices—including the strict observance of the Sabbath by many on the island.

 Lewis was the site of the UK’s last great revival—beginning in 1949 and carrying on for three years—and remains one of the most devout parts of the country.

Over the years, there have been controversies relating to the operation of ferries to the mainland on Sundays. More recently, a movie theater has opened seven days a week, while a leisure center maintains its Sunday closure. All have drawn media coverage with quotes from Christian spokespeople reported as being “outraged” by the proposals.

The latest twist in religious affairs has occurred in Stornoway, with 8,000 people the largest town in the group of islands. However, it doesn’t involve Christians outraged about Sunday openings, but that a Free Church of Scotland minister was not outraged by plans to build the first mosque on the largely evangelical churchgoing island.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

Muslims consider Queen Elizabeth’s ties to the Prophet Muhammad

20180407_MAP004_0“QUEEN ELIZABETH must claim her right to rule Muslims.” So ran a recent headline on the Arab Atheist Network, a web forum. It was only partly in jest. According to reports from Casablanca to Karachi, the British monarch is descended from the Prophet Muhammad, making her a cousin of the kings of Morocco and Jordan, not to mention of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

The claim, first made many years ago, is gathering renewed interest in the Middle East. Why is not clear, but in March a Moroccan newspaper called Al-Ousboue traced the queen’s lineage back 43 generations. Her bloodline runs through the Earl of Cambridge, in the 14th century, across medieval Muslim Spain, to Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter. Her link to Muhammad has previously been verified by Ali Gomaa, the former grand mufti of Egypt, and Burke’s Peerage, a British authority on royal pedigrees.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ECONOMIST 

‘Punish a Muslim day’ generates anger, fear and solidarity in Britain

DX3OqvDVwAABpxRThe letters arrived in March. Sent anonymously to multiple communities, the letters with words in bold at the top declared that Tuesday, April 3, would become “Punish a Muslim day” in Britain.

Sent to homes, lawmakers and at least one business, the documents detailed a disturbing point-based system that would award attackers for acts of hatred and violence: 10 points for verbally abusing a Muslim; 500 points for “butchering a Muslim using a gun, knife, vehicle or otherwise.”

Police launched an investigation, urging communities to stand together.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police service told London’s Evening Standard that there is “no credible information” that any hate crimes would happen on Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, there were no news reports of hate crime incidents relating to the “Punish a Muslim day.”

At a time when hate crimes are on the rise and British Muslims are repeatedly feeling the sting of the xenophobia that surfaced during and after the 2016 Brexit vote, the letters caused distress, not just to those receiving them, but also in the broader Muslim community.

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FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Reports of Islamophobia: 1997 and 2017

Reports_on_IslamophobiaTHE ROAD TRAVELLED

Earlier this month the Runnymede Trust launched a new report, Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all, to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the landmark 1997 report, Islamophobia; A challenge for us all. The significance of the original Report is hard to over-estimate. While it is the case that it did not coin the term Islamophobia, it certainly gave it legs.  And while it is also true that the report did not end Islamophobia, it did indict it.

The 1997 report was the first comprehensive combined survey and policy intervention on an increasingly prominent phenomenon and against the context of heightened global problematisation of Muslims as Muslims. This is worth remembering for two reasons. Firstly, whatever its final form as a document, the consultative nature of the work which fed into its pages generated a momentum and a sense of stake-holding important to its reception and impact. Whether adopted as leverage or contested in whole or in part, the report and the momentum of its discussion produced Muslim agency over Muslim agendas. The publication of the report propelled Islamophobia into public consciousness. It shaped the national and global conversation, even if much of that conversation was only to contest the vocabulary that the report sought to establish. Second, because it is worth being reminded that already in 1997 the report was a response to diverse interrelated historical shifts, both local and transnational: the post third worldist and post-67 global resurgence of Muslims signified by the Revolt of Islam; the increasing debasement of the grand narratives of modernisation come-secularisation in the social sciences; cumulative postcolonial and post-cold war challenges to the Eurocentric world order; the identification and ascriptive reclassification of ethnically marked and immigrant populations as Muslim, and concomitant mobilisations over the way in which existing race-relations based anti-discrimination legislation afforded them only uneven and inadequate protection, recourse, and redress as Muslims. This isn’t just about recasting a twenty year view into a longer genealogy. Against presentist fixation on framing the Muslim Question in the horizon of 9/11, it bears remembering that the report was published four years before George W. Bush declared the ‘war on terror’, and that in some ways this never-ending war was as much a reflection of Islamophobia as it was its intensification.

The 2017 report does not repeat the impact of the original report; perhaps never could. In any case, it is a very different document.  The 1997 report was the work of a commission; the present report is an edited collection. It is based neither on community consultation, nor on new research and evidence into the policy areas it covers, but rather on commissioned chapters by academics summarising their research in different registers. Each chapter, as their bibliographical references mostly attest, speaks in an individual voice, and the volume makes little effort to engage let alone convey or build upon the mounting and increasingly diverse body of academic scholarship on Islamophobia produced across the world, including in two specialist journals, and numerous reports.  Even its most significant departure from the 1997 report, that of defining Islamophobia as anti-Muslim racism, is eroded by this lack of engagement. There is something to be said for an edited collection of single-theme focused chapters, but the absence of connection and engagement across the chapters is problematic.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CRITICAL MUSLIMS STUDY (UK)