Posts Tagged ‘MINAB’

Archbishop hosts encounter between local Christians and Muslims

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, hosted an event at Lambeth Palace which brought together 50 imams and clergy from 25 local areas to encourage and strengthen local interfaith relationships.

The Revd Mark Fisher, Andrew Stunell MP, Bishop Richard Cheetham, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Maulana Shahid Raza

The event was supported by Mr Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government who spoke to the participants:

“Across the country, Christians and Muslims are making huge contributions to their communities in countless churches and mosques, charities and community groups. But, because they are often working towards similar goals, there is great potential for them to collaborate more.

“That is what this conference is about – challenging ignorance and building effective, friendly working relationships, not only between clergy and imams but also between their congregations. Inter faith activity is an important component of the Big Society we want to build, in which people work together for the common good and to tackle shared problems.”

The programme sought to celebrate and publicise the fruitful work done by these local dialogue groups, which are run by both mosques and churches in the local areas as well as in prison and hospital chaplaincies.

One example of the practical outworking of this is the Springfield Centre in Birmingham, a children’s centre that serves both mosque and parish church, as well as the rest of the community. The centre provides holistic support for children’s development and support to families with young children, as well as helping to foster local interfaith engagement.

The event, organised by the Christian Muslim Forum, provided an opportunity for many men and women from local churches and mosques to share their experiences of working with each other, and explore areas where they can work together locally on issues of shared concern.

The Christian Muslim Forum has brought together over 200 local leaders of both faiths since 2006 and will run the event in partnership with the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) and Churches Together in England (CTE). Participants have drafted a letter to go out to churches and mosques, encouraging leadership and congregations to meet and learn from each other.

Communities Together Preventing All Forms of Hate

The theme for this initiative is “Communities Together Preventing All Forms of Hate”.  This is to highlight civic responsibility and engagement which chimes with the aims of many national organizations, including inter-faith forums. The Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) have teamed up with the Christian-Muslim Forum, local schools and other places of worship in initiative open for all sections of the community to take part in this unique event.

We hope that this event will help raise further awareness of all manifestations of hate crime and the burdens placed on society by them. We also hope that this approach helps rekindle a new sense of collective community responsibility to curb the spread of hate crime, renewing our conviction that all people, faiths and cultures are able to live together in peace and harmony.

In preparation for the launch of the campaign, young people from 12 local schools have participated in an art competition themed on showing positive messages to challenge all manifestations of a hate crime. The winner of the competition will have his/her drawings printed on T-Shirts that will be worn by pupils. Sarah Teather MP, the minister of State at the Department of Education has kindly agreed to present the award during the morning session of this event. I would be grateful if you could deliver a short speech in this session.

There will be another session in the afternoon where community and religious representatives will gather to support this initiative and show their united stand against all forms of hate crime. You will also have an opportunity to view the art exhibition, displaying the drawings drawn by the pupils. The event will end with a symbolic reception function, which I hope your time will allow you to take part in.

This is the statement that was agreed and signed on the day:

‘We the undersigned pledge to support together the ‘Communities Preventing Hate Campaign’ by taking a stand against all promotion and encouragement of hatred between and within communities, whether religious or non-religious. We declare that there is no place in a harmonious society for groups or factions who aim to divide and undermine – our strength and future lie in our unity. We, therefore, oppose all forms of hate-crime and incitement to hatred, including:

  • Vilification of religion, religious believers and non-religious value systems
  • Gang-crime and mischievous fostering of inter-community tensions
  • Abuse of the vulnerable
  • Any offensive and aggressive extremism
  • All words and actions which justify and glorify domestic and international terrorism

We are committed to working towards the goal of all faith, and non-faith, communities working together to promote a new sense of collective community responsibility. Our vision is that such community responsibility has the power to curb all manifestations and expressions of hate-crime. In signing this statement we renew our conviction and commitment that people of all faiths and no faith are able to live together in peace and harmony.’

This is the agreed statement

Condemning Attacks on Places of Worship

Religious Tensions in Pakistan

We recently reported on threats against a Shi’a Muslim leader in Pakistan Dialogue – Waging Peace in Difficult Times and the Anti-Terrorism Fatwa. We take this opportunity to share these press releases.
28 May 2010, MINAB Condemns Attacks on Places of Worship

Reports from Pakistan claim that two centres of worship belonging to the Ahmadi/Qadiani sect in Lahore have been attacked. Even though this sect is not regarded as belonging to the fold of Islam by the majority of Muslims in the world, it is the belief of MINAB that all places of worship should be safe from any such attack, no matter to which faith or group they belong.

The Chair of MINAB, Maulana Shahid Raza, OBE, has condemned the attacks. “It is a human right to be able to worship in peace and security, so any attack on a place of worship is abhorrent,” he said. “It is hoped that such sectarianism does not raise its head in Britain.”
The message from MINAB is that Britain’s mosques should be places of safety for all who attend them, and Muslims must respect all other places where people gather for religious purposes.

The Christian Muslim Forum echoes this message that Christians and Muslims, and their places of worship, should be safe from each other and that people of other religions and those of no faith should all be respected and valued as God’s creations.

The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) is the representative body of all UK Muslim denominations set up to promote good governance in Mosques and Imam Training Institutions through a process of self regulation. It has over six hundred mosques and training institutions as its members. It is a community led independent body, non sectarian in its outlook, representing the diversity of Islam with no role in matters of theology and is broad based with an accountable system of representation.
Press Release from Allama Inayat Ali Shakir, Chairman Tehrik-e-Akhuwat-e-Islami Pakistan and Interfaith Dialogue Committee
Islamabad: Chairman Tehrik-e-Akhuwat-e-Islami Pakistan and Interfaith Dialogue Committee and prominent Shia scholar Allama Inayat Ali Shakir has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks on the worship places of Ahmadiyyas in Lahore in which hundreds of Ahmadiyyas were killed and several injured and termed it an attempt to destabilize the country and worsen the law and order situation.
He was talking to a delegation of Ulemas of different faiths, who called on him in the central secretariat of Tehrik-e-Akhuwat-e-Islami (T.A.I) Islamabad. Allama Shakir said that Islam is a universal religion and guaranteed the protection of rights of all minorities, therefore the minorities in Pakistan have been given complete rights according to law. “Any religion of the world does not permit to assassinate the innocent people and attacks of worship places of other faiths”, he added and said that terrorists have no religion and enemies of entire humanity.
He said that incidents of terrorism on one hand are an attempt to defame the image of the country, while on other hand its object is to sabotage the efforts made for the promotion of interfaith harmony. Allama Shakir said that it is not only the responsibility of government to curb terrorism and extremism but the Ulemas and religious scholars should also play their active role for the elimination of this menace along with government functionaries.
He maintained that it is the dire need of hour to promote interfaith harmony, peace and religious tolerance in the country. “Government should initiate high-level inquiry to probe into the matter of Lahore blasts and unveil this conspiracy and brought the culprits to book and give them exemplary punishment, who are allegedly involve in this heinous crime” he demanded. Allama Shakir expressed sympathy and solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of injured.

Reflections on Inter Faith Week

The Launch

Inter Faith Week is not yet over but today seems a good time to reflect on what has happened so far. For me, and many others, Inter Faith Week began with a launch event on 12 November in London, many regional and national organisations had displays. There was a tremendous sense of energy and celebration as we shared our stories and details of our events. Some of the other organisations with an interest in Christian-Muslim relations are: St Ethelburga’sThree Faiths ForumUnited Religions InitiativeSt Philip’s Centre.

The highlight of the event was a series of brief speeches by young people of different faiths sharing their thoughts and experiences of inter faith which were truly inspirational and filled us with hope for what the next generation might achieve.

Faith Leaders Meeting

The second event I attended was a meeting of faith leaders and trustees of the Inter Faith Network at Lambeth Palace on 16 November. A statement was agreed and signed, these are the key points:
  • We believe that good inter faith relations are a vital part of a harmonious, just and respectful society.
  • We pledge, today, to deepen our work to increase understanding about and between our faiths and to strengthen our cooperation on social issues.
  • We renew our commitment to developing effective and long term ways of dialogue and mutual learning.
  • While our great religious traditions are distinct in belief and practice, there is much that unites us.
  • We will work to tackle with renewed determination the challenges of poverty, ignorance, injustice, crime and violence, and social fragmentation and to help shape a society where all feel at home; all are valued and justly treated; and all have a chance to thrive.

Interfaith Day

The most ground-breaking event of the week took place at London Central Mosque (Regents Park). The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), in collaboration with Lambeth Palace, organised an Interfaith Day. A central mosque is a mosque for the city, perhaps having a role similar to a cathedral, it is an open and welcoming space. The event itself showed the commitment of the Muslim community to improving inter faith relations by highlighting how this modern idea is integral to Islam since its earliest days. Some extracts from speeches by Muslims:
  • Maulana Mohammad Khan – ‘Islam lived in an inter faith community and started out by respecting other communities, our faith is not complete if we do not respect other beliefs, their scriptures and symbols.’
  • Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin – ‘Inter faith is not a hollow and secular initiative, it cannot be faith-less, we should learn from what other faiths have to offer, we cannot be adversarial. All faiths bring an enormous value to our lives. Christianity is a defining force for this civilisation. Differences of religion are the plan of God and it will remain so forever.’
  • Said Ferjani – ‘Dialogue is the engine of all the prophets – Jesus dialogued with everyone – it is the pillar of any genuine faith.’
  • Sayyed Mohammed Mousawi – ‘Islam is based on the best inter faith foundation, the Prophet Muhammad, who said, “be good to every human being”. Inter faith is the way of true religion, we need a movement of inter faith and should invite people to our mosques. We need to make inter faith a lively truth in our lives.’
  • Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan, newly appointed Chair of MINAB’s interfaith committee and Director General, London Central Mosque – ‘We need to build more bridges of understanding and dialogue. The alternative is misunderstanding, hate and ultimately terror.’
  • Fuad Nahdi, Radical Middle Way – ‘Listening is OK but dialogue is more advanced, it is not just tea, cucumber sandwiches and samosas. It is time for convergence not conversion.’

We look forward to telling you about our own Peace Worker’s experiences during Inter Faith Week next week.

Another ongoing initiative

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Julian Bond