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Stepping into Diversity Interfaith Week Feature

Interview on “Sunday Morning with Ricky Ross” with young people participating into the Stepping into Diversity project in partnership with West of Scotland Regional Equality Council. Originally broadcast on Sunday 24th of November 2013 on BBC Radio Scotland

Learn more about the Stepping into Diversity Project on http://interfaithglasgow.org/youth/

Fun with the family

After a week filled with dialogue, friendship building and very practical discussions around cooperation Interfaith Glasgow closed its programme for Scottish Interfaith Week with our Interfaith Family Fair at St Mungos Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow.  This event, which was many months in planning, was a day for talking, enjoyment and asking questions.  In the beautiful surroundings of St Mungo’s we welcomed people from a variety of faiths, belief traditions and also from no faith or belief tradition.  With the support of our volunteers Linda, Alan, Madhumita, Maqsood, George and Hala we arranged this event as an opportunity to learn a bit more about some of faith and belief traditions which exist in our city and also as a fun day out for the family with activities for children and young people to share the wonderful resources which St Mungos has on offer.  We opened our event with a minutes silence remembering those who died and were injured in the terrible helicopter crash in Glasgow on Friday night.  In the end around 150 people took the time to come along and ask questions to our stallholders from the Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pagan, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Brahma Kumari and Quaker traditions, enjoy activities with our face painters, henna artists, arts and crafts table, Arabic calligraphy with Khadija, Herbalist Monica Wilde, activities from the Forestry Commission Scotland, the wonderful St Mungos treasure trail (researched and put together by our volunteer Linda) and to experience the wonderful fashion show and dancing from Maryhill Integration Network.  The Glasgow 2014 team were also n hand to share with everyone what will be going on on the run up to and during the Commonwealth Games.  Feedback from the event has been positive and at Interfaith Glasgow we saw not only people relaxing on a sunny Sunday afternoon and taking the time to talk to each other but also asking questions and this to us is so important in breaking down barriers and removing misconceptions.

So where can we go from here?  With only a limited space we could only have so many people in the room and next time (hopefully) we can look at increasing the range of stallholders to not only revisit who attended this event but to also encourage other faith and belief traditions and also those from non-faith backgrounds to take space to share what is important to them and to share their perspective in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  Yesterday was great day and shows that people are interested in learning about each other and we look forward to working with communities across Glasgow to see what can be next in bringing people together through interfaith.  From Interfaith Glasgow we thank everyone who helped us make yesterday so wonderful, thank you 🙂

Friday Night Dialogue

As part of the ongoing events around interfaith week Masjid Al-Furqan hosted an interfaith dialogue session at their community hall in Carrington Street.  Guests speakers Shaykh Sohaib Saeed and Rev Cedric Blakey gave their Muslim and Christian perspectives on the the theme of the evening “My Faith my compass” and shared with the assembled audience aspects of their own faith and how this provides guidance and support in their own lives.  The speeches were followed by a lively question and answer session which showed not only an interest in dialogue but also the need for ongoing meetings and dialogues to ensure that people are getting the opportunity to engage with each other and ask questions both from faith and no-faith perspectives.  Interfaith Glasgow congratulates Masjid Al-Furqan for organising this event and for creating this space for interfaith dialogue and discussion. 

Out and About

During this week Interfaith Glasgow has been sharing its interfaith week experience but it is not just us who are supporting interfaith work in Glasgow there have been loads of other events this week, here are a few

On Sunday (24th) the Muslim Christian Couples Scotland held a social gathering for Muslim Christian families in the Glasgow area

On Sunday (24th) Interfaith Scotland’s Development Officer, Frances Hume, delivered an interfaith address to the congregation at Gorbals Parish Church

On Monday (25th) and Thursday (28th) West of Scotland Regional Equality Council ran guided heritage walks around 6 different places of worship in the West End of Glasgow (www.wsrec.co.uk)

On Wednesday (27th) the Ignatian Spirituality Centre, in partnership with the Bishop’s Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, hosted a talk on Islam delivered by Fariha Thomas.  This was part of series of talks which are being delivered over 2013/14

On Thursday (28th) a lecture “Conflict, Toleration, Appreciation and Transformation – Four Modes of Interreligious Relations” was delivered by Prof. Perry Schmidt-Leukel (Muenster University) at the University of Glasgow

Throughout the week Inner Space has provided guided mediation sessions at their centre http://www.innerspace.org/glasgow/

There is still more to come.  Tonight (Friday) at 7.30pm at the Masjid Al-furqan there will be talk from a Muslim and Christian on “My Faith my compass” and on Saturday (30th) the Glasgow Peace Federation will be running at women’s event at 39 Napiershall Street, Glasgow.  For more details please visit http://interfaithglasgow.org/scottish-interfaith-week-2013/

Spreading the word …

As part of our Interfaith Week programme Interfaith Glasgow was featured on the Juma programme (English on AwazFM today hosted by Shoket Aksi.  AwazFM is a community radio station based in the south-side of Glasgow which delivers a range of programmes to the South Asian and African communities in the city.  Thanks AwazFM for having us on.  Tune in 107.2 or visit http://www.awazfm.co.uk

Time for Dialogue

We are now more than half way through Scottish Interfaith Week in Glasgow and momentum has not slowed down yet.  There has been such a diversity of events and dialogues which show the desire and also the continued need for interfaith opportunities.  Today Interfaith Glasgow assisted the University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre host it first event since it official opening the day before.  The Interfaith Cafe which was a call to students and staff at the University to come together and talk about their experience of faith and belief and the shared values and principles held across faith and belief traditions.  The new Chaplaincy Centre was looking great and with the help of Interfaith Scotland the room was decorated with artefacts and information from a variety of faith traditions.  The discussion sessions which attracted 15 people from across the staff and student body were facilitated by members of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Baha’i faiths and allowed a real opportunity for people of different faith and belief backgrounds to come together in dialogue regardless of background and we hope that this will be the beginning of continued opportunities for reflection and dialogue within this space.  Congratulations goes to Rev David Young, Strathclyde University Chaplain, Naseem Anwar – Equality and Diversity Manager and thanks goes to Kellie Bracegirldle for all her help at this event and the people who took their time to facilitate and attend this event.

Faiths Together Challenging Poverty

Tonight people from a variety of faith and belief traditions came together to listen and discus how to challenge poverty.  Interfaith Glasgow’s Faith and Poverty event was borne out of a desire from the St Mary’s Justice and Aid Network to bring faith communities and anti-poverty groups together and to learn what each other does and to start a discussion about what we can do together.  So with the support of St Mary’s and people from the local Muslim community Interfaith Glasgow was able to put on this event for Interfaith Week not as an event just to celebrate interfaith activity but to actually bring people together to talk and start thinking about where faith and belief communities and go from here in the fight against poverty.  

The event was very well attended and we were delighted to receive a civic welcome from Bailie Scanlon, to have Hanzala Malik MSP convene our event and to also have speeches from Morag Gillispie (Scottish Poverty Information UNit), Kathy Galloway (Christian Aid Scotland), Venerable Rewatha (Therevada Buddhist Vihara), Dr Rizi Mohammed and Charandeep Singh and Ravindar Kaur Nijjar (Glasgow Gurdwara).  Our thanks also goes to the organisations and projects who shared their own experience and hosted discussion groups including Poverty Truth Commission, Faith in Community Scotland Transformation Team, Passage to India, Jewish Care Scotland, West of Scotland Regional Equality Council and Glasgow Central Mosque (Qurbani Project), Glasgow City Mission, Salvation Army, Glasgow Gurdwara, Kagyu Samye Dzong and Cafe Simon.  Thanks also goes to Rev Cedric Blakey, Vice Provost of St Mary’s Episcopalian Cathedral (Glasgow) for his support and vote of thanks.  Interfaith Glasgow is looking forward to looking at the evaluation forms as verbal feedback was really positive at the end of the event so we are looking forward to learning what attendants thought but also to understand how we can support this interfaith approach to challenging poverty.