We often receive enquiries about practical ways in which Muslims and Christians may engage with each other. This page contains a list of links and descriptions to give some idea of the range of activities taking place. The list links to websites that relate to the practical issues of setting up inter-faith activities that may be useful to Christians and Muslims - it is by no means exhaustive as there are many local initiatives that do not necessarily link with the national networks. The inclusion of a link to an external website should not be understood to be a CMCS endorsement of that website or of the site's owners and their products or services.
Christian Muslim Forum (CMF) - www.christianmuslimforum.org
CMF is an initiative launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2001. The main purpose is to help Christians and Muslims to live and work together creatively and harmoniously for the common good of society. To this end, CMF produced ethical guidelines for joint activities between Muslims and Christians, as well as guidelines for intermarriage pastoral care. CMF partners with others for joint humanitarian action for refugees, Christian-Muslim visits to Jerusalem, church-mosque twinning across the country, and groups working on the issues ‘which bite.’ The website provides news and updates about events with invitations to subscribe to their twitter feed, Facebook and newsletter.
Interfaith Network UK - www.interfaith.org.uk
The InterFaith Network UK works to promote understanding, cooperation and good relations between organisations and persons of different faiths in Britain. It provides opportunities for linking and sharing of good practice. Their website contains helpful advice and information to develop new inter-faith initiatives and to strengthen existing ones. The homepage contains a search function to help find local initiatives and to stay up to date with events and news, such as the annual Interfaith Week (helpful toolkit). It also has a resources page with practical advice on setting up different kinds of inter-faith activities, such as: sharing of stories, dialogue around scriptural texts, use of panels and audience/panel discussion, seminars and workshops on particular issues, fast moving ‘mini dialogues’, dialogues in the course of learning events and visits to places of worship, dialogue over food.
Big Iftar - www.thebigiftar.org
Iftar is the Arabic name of the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadhan. The Big Iftar is an open meal in homes, community centres, parks, town squares, schools and elsewhere during the annual time of Ramadhan. Muslims may invite friends and neighbours to share in this time, or it may be presented as a community collaboration. Big Iftar events are community-led and enable people from diverse backgrounds to meet and enjoy traditional food in an atmosphere of friendship and hospitality. The events are an opportunity for people to come together, create new friendships and learn from each other.
Bridges for Communities (BFC) - www.bridgesforcommunities.com
BFC connects people from different cultures and faiths, through various initiatives to build friendships and understanding of one another better. They seek to challenge the stereotypes and prejudice that exist between different groups of people by promoting interaction and friendship. Their activities include Peace Feast, cultural exchange programmes between the UK and Middle East and training in cultural awareness.
City of Sanctuary UK (COS UK) - www.cityofsanctuary.org
City of Sanctuary UK holds the vision that communities will be welcoming places of safety for all and will offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. COS UK is a movement in its own right but also contributes towards wider movement building through partnership work and supporting advocacy and campaigning initiatives. It runs groups and regional events, involving different sectors such as education, local government, health, sports and arts, as well as refugee organisations.
Citizens UK - www.citizensuk.org
Citizens UK organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good. They organise communities in various localities in the UK together with diverse civil society alliances on such matters as the living wage, asylum applications and poverty. Citizens UK works with a diverse group of leaders from schools, universities, hospitals, mosques, churches, charities and other community groups. They teach a method of community organising and host regular meetings.
Faith Matters (FM) - www.faith-matters.org
FM was founded by Fiyaz Mughal OBE, a former councillor in the UK. A charitable organisation, it works to reduce extremism and to develop platforms for interaction between Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Jewish communities across the UK. It seeks to celebrate pluralism, placing human rights at the core of its work. Their website contains regular news updates related to freedom of faith and expression. FM works for community cohesion, interfaith, conflict resolution and prevent programmes at a local, national and international level. Fiyaz is also founder of Tell MAMA, a network that supports victims of anti-Muslim hatred and records anti-Muslim incidents.
Presence and Engagement - www.presenceandengagement.org.uk
Presence and Engagement is the Church of England’s national programme equipping Christians for mission and ministry in the wonderful diversity of our multi faith society. It is different from inter-faith dialogue, although complementary to it. The programme focusses on the task of resourcing the Church for work which will include, but is not limited to, dialogue with people of different faiths.
Meetings for Better Understanding (MBU)
MBU has been described as a middle way between confrontational debate and the type of dialogue that blurs the boundaries between different faiths. The aim of MBU is to promote a mutual comprehension of what Muslims and Christians believe. These meetings enable the two communities to encounter one another in a relaxed context of friendship and learning. The meeting is structured around two speakers and Q&A. The meeting is moderated and time-limited for each part of the activity. There is no central website but a pdf on how to set up a group is available online .
Rose Castle Foundation - www.rosecastle.foundation
Rose Castle is a faith-based peace-making initiative providing a space where those in conflict can meet face-to-face. It runs courses and retreats to equip leaders with practical peace-making strategies to be reconcilers capable of transforming challenging disagreements, and to give them an opportunity to reflect, rest and restore.
Scriptural Reasoning (SR) - www.scripturalreasoning.org
SR is a tool for inter-faith dialogue whereby people of different faiths come together to read and reflect on their scriptures.Unlike some forms of inter-faith engagement, it is not about seeking agreement but rather exploring the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries and learning to ‘disagree better.’ Their website contains a description of the activity and resources to facilitate a group, including text packs. It also links to an interesting project that asks how Christian and Muslim scientists engage their scriptures. SR has a base in the Rose Castle Foundation.
Spirit of Peace (SP) - www.spiritofpeace.co.uk
SP is an inter-cultural and inter-faith initiative that meets around the issue of peace in a variety of formats. Activities aim at fostering friendship, inclusion, and stronger communities through an appreciation of cultural diversity. Regular and special events include ‘Bring-and-Share’ community suppers, monthly conversation events, and presentations by those who work for peace in the UK and Middle East. Groups host workshops and training in skills to create communities of safety and human flourishing. One particular activity is training in Kingian non-violence which is based on the work of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. SP also promotes the Compassionate Communities/Cities Initiative.
The Feast - thefeast.org.uk
The Feast is youth focused, bringing together teenagers from different faiths and cultures to build friendships, explore faith and change lives. They work by building good relationships with groups of young people and then invite them to ‘encounter’ events where they can meet one another. The relationships between the young people have to be developed in distinctive ways, as their varied communities have different structures and youth programmes based on faith and culture. The Feast website contains a helpful resources page that lists events with guidance on how to structure activities.
Centres & local examples
Council for Christian Muslim Relations, High Wycombe - www.ccmr-wycombe.co.uk
CCMR is an example of a local independent organisation that brings Muslims and Christians together. It aims to raise the profile of the need to build good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs in High Wycombe. CCMR believes Christians and Muslims share as partners to address common concerns, and aspirations and works with both public and voluntary sectors. It promotes and engages in inter-religious dialogue based on mutual respect. To this end, CCMR runs a programme of activities which can contribute to and support community cohesion.
Faithful Neighbours - http://www.faithfulneighbours.org.uk
Is the Presence and Engagement hub for Diocese of Leeds, the Church in West Yorkshire & the Dales, helping Christians to interact with confidence and hospitality as they meet people of different faiths. It offers training, creates networks and facilitates inter-faith conversations.
Faiths, Neighbours, Changemakers FNC - www.fncbham.org.uk
FNC, also known as Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre, in Birmingham is a Presence & Engagement centre facilitating programmes such as Birmingham Conversations, The Feast, Faithful Friends on Tour and other opportunities for conversation.
St Ethelburga’s - www.stethelburgas.org
St Ethelburga’s is a centre for reconciliation and peace in the City of London. It provides two venues for hire that are dedicated to peace and reconciliation activities. They aim to inspire and equip people from all backgrounds to become peace-builders in their own communities and lives. Their training includes: conflict management and faith communities; dialogue and group facilitation; disagreement success; and working with personal narrative and story. St Ethelburga’s is also a hub of expertise and innovative practice, influencing policymakers, academia and faith communities to help build a global culture of peace.
St Philip’s Centre - www.stphilipscentre.co.uk
The St Philip’s Centre in Leicester is a Presence & Engagement centre which offers people the opportunity to encounter people of other faiths and runs training programmes for churches, schools and communities.
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