The Edge Report Launch in Birmingham

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BirminghamThe Edge report in Birmingham was the fourth launch to take place, after Leicester, Bradford and Burnley.

The event started with the arrival of the women for networking, looking at the Faithful Friends exhibition and sharing lunch.

“The Near Neighbours Project in Birmingham has produced a major photography exhibition highlighting the friendships that have been formed through the work of Near Neighbours. Launched in November 2012 at St. Martin’s in the Bullring, the exhibition consists of a series of beautiful photos that introduce us to people who have met and formed a friendship through working together on a project funded by Near Neighbours.”

Around 40 Christian and Muslim women from all ages and different backgrounds took part in the launch, met other women and learnt about the report. The launch took place on Monday 26th November, at St Martin’s Church.

Wahida welcomed everyone and read extracts from the report to inform the women about the aim and content of the report. The reports details common issues raised by Christian and Muslim women:

  • Alienation and mistrust which can result from perceptions of ‘The Other’
  • Lack of shared spaces and public spaces where women’s voices can be heard
  • Alienation between young people
  • Stereotyping
  • Overcoming obstacles such as forced marriage
  • The impact of global events, such as the Arab Spring, on local cultures

Liz Carnelley, programme director of Near Neighbours, spoke about the Near Neighbours programme, projects undertaken and grants available.

Saraya, one of the attendees, told us about the women’s group in Birmingham which meets regularly, this was formed after they attended the Come to the Edge residential in March 2012. She invited us to their next meeting on Saturday 1st December.

Sarah then introduced the drums, their different types, ways of using them and their country of origin. This exercise was much enjoyed by all attendees, who had the chance to swap their places to be able to play on the different drums available. The women then used all the drum techniques and skills taught by Sarah to play together for a few minutes on the drums, according to the instructions given by Sarah.

As with all launches, Wahida told attendees about the ‘I wish’ exercise which involves each attendee writing her wish or wishes on a paper, then sharing it with others. The wishes were varied, from personal wishes to humanitarian wishes to wishes for other people. Here’s a selection of the wishes written by attendees:

  • I wish to go to Mecca
  • To walk more and more closely in the way of Jesus, and show his love more deeply + widely.
  • Food for all! At many levels
  • I wish that no one is lonely and everyone had a place to call home
  • Young people would stop killing each other, joining gangs
  • I wish for a world where people know and love their differences
  • I wish that love for humanity always over-rides any hate for ‘others’

At the end of the launch, Jessica distributed the roses to the women, as a sign of friendship and beautiful photos were taken to be exhibited at the Roses of Friendship Exhibition, early 2013.

We had a very enjoyable and useful time at the launch in Birmingham. Seeing women committed to build new relationships and create friendships with one another was inspiring.

One of the attendees said that it was her first time attending such an event with people of other faiths and said that she is encouraged and is looking forward for more.

Jessica Foster, Near Neighbours Development Worker, said: “It was fantastic to see so many women coming together to celebrate the work of the Christian-Muslim Forum and the new friendships that are flourishing in Birmingham.”

Wahida then thanked Jessica for all her support to make the launch happen and all the women for attending, showing their support for dialogue and further work between Christian and Muslim Women and having taken part in the launch of The Edge report.

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