Archive for October, 2019

Muslims & Christians welcome refugees

Mosques in North-East London with Churches and Christian groups are working together to sponsor a Syrian refugee family who arrived this summer to start their new life in the UK.

The Redbridge Community Sponsorship project – a partnership between South Woodford Mosque, Balfour Road Mosque, Ilford Methodist Church, Ilford Salvation Army, St. Thomas of Canterbury RC Church and Wanstead Quakers – was initially formed in 2017.

Read more about the sponsorship project from the Muslim Council of Britain,

Al-Andalus: the Legacy

Al-Andalus was the 800-year period of Muslim rule in Spain, ending in 1492.

BBC Radio 3 included a reflection by Andrew Hussey during a day of programmes exploring the music and culture of Al-Andalus. He journeys through Spain searching for its legacy today in politics, art and architecture.

“Professor Andrew Hussey is an expert on Spain and North Africa but the period known as Al-Andalus – the 800 years when Spain was under Muslim rule – remains a mystery to him.

He sets out to find out what it was and to search for its legacy today in politics, culture and architecture.

Al-Andalus is often seen as a Golden Age of civilization in a corner of Europe whilst the rest of the continent was still deep in the Middle Ages. Great discoveries were made in the fields of science and medicine and some of the most beautiful architecture and poetry in Europe was being created. It is also, rightly or wrongly, credited as a time when different religions co-existed peacefully.

Reconquista – when Catholic rule was asserted across the country – was completed in 1492. This was followed by the Inquisition, a period of repression of the Jews and Muslims who remained behind, many of whom converted to Catholicism. The myth of modern Spain was born: Christian, homogeneous, and definitely not tainted by Al-Andalus.

This idea has travelled through the centuries, endorsed by the Franco dictatorship in the 20th century and embraced in the 21st by the new far right party Vox. At the same time, violent Islamist groups like Isis and Al Qaeda lay claim to Al-Andalus, for them a lost paradise.

Andrew embarks on a quest to find out what is truth and what is myth about Al-Andalus. He visits the great wonders of the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba but also looks for traces of Al-Andalus in the culture today. He hears how both Reconquista and Al-Andalus have been weaponised by different political groups. And he explores Spain’s sometimes uneasy relationship with its Islamic past.”

BBC Radio 3

Listen to the programme here.

A perfect way of discovering the causes that you are truly passionate about

“For me, volunteering extends beyond developing practical and social skills. It is a perfect way of discovering the causes that you are truly passionate about.

It is a platform to educate yourself on the many issues surrounding the world, and on the ways to create change whether it be large or small.

Lastly, it is a way to give back to various communities that are in need of support.”

Sara, Jesuit Refugee Service UK

Pictured: Sara and Aidan who work together at the Jesuit Refugee Service in East London.

CMF visited the JRS Refugee Centre earlier this month. Legal support, accompaniment, destitution services, advocacy and music are offered, along with a day centre which brings a warm welcome & a hot meal to asylum seekers.

Sara, Centre Adminstrator, writes about her work in the JRS Blog and how volunteering has played an important part in her life since her teenage years.

The Centre welcomes volunteers from different faiths and backgrounds. Have a look at the volunteering opportunities available at the moment. If you’d like to run the London Marathon for JRS, find out more here.

Times journalist speaks about Christian-Muslim fostering story

“In August 2017, The Times published a piece with the headline ‘Christian child forced into Muslim foster care’. The story was front-page news the next day as well – and the next – but was it right?”

BBC Corrections

In an extended programme, the BBC’s Corrections series has looked at how three front page stories in the Times newspaper about a fostering placement, heavily criticised for stoking divisions, came to be pubished in August 2017.

CMF issued a statement at the time and the press regulator, IPSO, later upheld a complaint.

The programme includes the first interview since 2017 with the journalist, Andrew Norfolk, on this topic. He regrets in hindsight that he may have “pushed to the fore certain aspects” of the story.