CMF is a national partner of Near Neighbours.
We provide expertise through our focussed work on Christian-Muslim relations and support the wider Near Neighbours programme with training, expertise and resources across England.
Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.
We develop the networks and capacity of local communities and organisations through sustainable initiatives, such as our Church-Mosque Twinning Network, that will continue to impact long into the future.
Christians and Muslims in England
There are significant asymmetries between the Christian (60%) and Muslim (5%) populations in England:
- age profile
- ethnicity and heritage
- longevity of institutional life
- voice in public affairs
- levels of hate crime and discrimination experienced
- treatment by the press
Additionally, there are many differences within Christian and Muslim communities regarding all the above.
Although there is excellent work taking place across the country, the context within which Christian-Muslim engagement takes place – nationally and internationally – is far from ideal and relations have deteriorated in recent years.
Christians and Muslims share concerns regarding freedom of religion & religious expression, the duty to neighbour and stranger, peace building, scholarly engagement and social action.
We also differ, with Christians concerned about extremism and Muslim involvement in ISIS, the persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries, newspaper headlines about grooming and the place of women in Muslim society.
Muslims have pressing concerns around security, Islamophobia and hate crime, the far right and discrimination. Media coverage of Islam is also a growing concern.
Both Christians and Muslims would like to see a more developed theology, from within both traditions, of inter faith engagement.