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Inter Faith Dialogue & Multi Culturalism

  • May 7, 2013 · 6:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Don Foster the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government has agreed to host a meeting on Inter Faith Dialogue in a Multicultural Society.

We are told we live in a Secular age and in many ways we do. Yet in the 21st century we have seen a revival in faith based movements and an interest in spirituality. We have also seen an expansion in diversity and this has led to questions about social cohesion and the importance of dialogue How do we understand what is happening in 21st Century society and how can we all live together respecting each other's convictions.

This is not about a debate over whether religion is right or wrong but given that there are such diverse faiths and communities within society, then how can we accommodate each other and live together in tolerance. How do we respect our differences and what is the framework needed for that respect to always be mutual.

The Rt Hon Don Foster MP was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government in September 2012. Don was a science teacher for many years, before becoming a science project director with the Avon Education Authority. He later became a lecturer in education at Bath University. During the 1980s he served as a councillor on Avon County Council and was Chair of the Education Committee. Don Foster was elected as MP for the Bath constituency in the April 1992 General Election when he defeated Chris Patten with a majority of 3,768.

David Goodhart is the director of Demos. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine, which he set up in 1995. David has grown Prospect into Britain's leading current affairs monthly and he remains the magazine's editor-at-large.David is a prominent figure in public debate in the UK. He is a well-known broadcaster, author, commentator and journalist who regularly contributes to the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the Financial Times. Before Prospect, David was a correspondent for the Financial Times for 12 years - including a stint in Germany during the unification period. David is currently working on a book, The British Dream, about postwar multiculturalism, national identity and immigration.

Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI is on the Board of Directors of Faith Matters. His working history includes over 15 years experience in the community and voluntary sector in positions that have included social policy lobbying, project and general management, conflict resolution work and leading organizations as the Chief Operating Officer. Fiyaz was previously a Councillor in Haringey [masked]) and a Councillor in Oxford [masked]). A previous Deputy President of a mainstream political party in the UK, he has also campaigned heavily on Black and Minority Ethnic (group) inclusion within political parties and discourses. He was also appointed to be on the Working Group for Communities that was linked to the Extremism Task Force developed in 2005 after the 7/7 bombings. In early 2008, Fiyaz was successful in becoming an elected member IDeA Peer Mentor for national work with local authorities on the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda. Fiyaz was honoured in June 2009 by Her Majesty the Queen and was bestowed with the Honour of the Order of the British Empire.

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  • Andria

    It's never really a "religious war" anyways...it is almost invariably about protecting land, territories, ones power bases and/or homes. The tragedy of Palestine and Israel immediately comes to mind.
    Mmh, maybe this meeting will avoid such difficult issues but in the end, people are living with the outcomes of these "religious wars" and the suffering is huge. Please watch a film (free on line) called "Rise Like Lions" which depicts a young woman standing in front of armed soldiers in Gaza and begging them not to shoot into a crowd as there are children there... They do in fact stop for those moments but her courage and their bemusement is quite a sight to watch
    At one point, one of the men/soldiers does fire into the crowd but completely haphazardly so now one is killed:-)

    Does any one here know how that huge bloody wall came about there?

    April 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      sorry, but you haven't quite put yourself in my shoes, and i'm not sure why you're ok with making a one-sided film, it goes beyond offence, it puts people's lives at risk in an on-going war, and it justifies hate speech

      May 9, 2013

    • Andria

      Me film-maker? I wish. U got the wrong gal huni

      May 9, 2013

  • P.Selvaratnam

    Dalai Lama Criticises Buddhists Including Monks For Violence Against Muslims in Sri Lanka and Burma, 8 May 2013, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/21073

    May 9, 2013

  • Sharon

    Not enough time to explore the multifacet and multi dimensional issues relating to defining multi culturalism.

    1 · May 8, 2013

  • Mark B.

    Hi again :)

    Sarah and I, plus others there last night have decided to organise a Summer globalnet21 picnic Something we can easily do to have a nice social + family-friendly time, welcoming and warm for all faiths and none and where we can share food, culture and maybe also discussion about the way forward. Probably early August in Regents Park Sound like a plan !?

    Please join our group at http://globalnet21.org/groups/faith-in-the-community/ Also we will have another North London study group meeting on June 12 - all welcome http://www.meetup.com/GlobalNet21/events/116719852/

    cheers !

    May 8, 2013

  • Piercarla

    Sorry I have another comment to make :) I agree with Christina that real Inter Faith Dialogue has very little to do with food or sport, so my suggestion is: why don't we ask the representants of each religion/spirituality/et all, what it means to them?

    May 8, 2013

  • Piercarla

    I believe Inter Faith Dialogue & Multi Culturalism will be truly achieved when we individually begin to honor one another and honoring passes through sacredness, and sacredness first of all towards ourselves.

    May 8, 2013

  • Christina M.

    An interesting and enjoyable evening of debate, where far more questions than answers were raised. The real issues of the evening - faith, as in the divine transcendent aspect of faith and its celebration; the enriching and strengthening of relationships and community through religious diversity and a true appreciation of multi culture was strictly off menu this evening. The New Faith in this hallowed and sceptred isle, since the success of the British Olympics it seems, rests in the power of curry and sport! Hmm...mercifully, there is hope, as a real appreciation of the urgency of transformation on a global level rises and brings back the sacred into the divine, both on an individual, an interpersonal and a collective level.

    2 · May 8, 2013

    • Christina M.

      Whilst not wishing to belittle dialogue, for communication on interfaith to be meaningful, faith has to be the main ingredient. Otherwise we are talking jam sandwich, without jam; spirituality without spirit. Faith is the building block upon which trust grows and not the other way round. Let's focus more on our Greatness and less on our 'Britishness'.­ Battles are won and lost in our hearts, not on the battlefields.

      May 8, 2013

    • Piercarla

      This book might be of interest: 'Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life' by Marilyn Schlitz, http://www.amazon.com...­, from the Institute of Noetic Sciences, http://noetic.org/­

      May 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    • The 2 questions that I asked this evening which I would like to put forward to the online forum are-
    1.) For many years (the past 30yrs +) we have encouraged diversity through segregation. Why is it only recently that we are promoting diversity through integration?
    • 2.) What are your views on the need to engage in more work on interfaith & community understanding and relations rather than interfaith dialogue on theological issues that prove to be less constructive?

    May 7, 2013

    • Andria

      Dear Neil, PLEASE re-frame question two with different words. I am having a terrible time trying to understand the question & please 'scuse my stupidity

      May 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      2.) What are your views on whether we need to engage in more work on interfaith & community relations through shared common goals or in interfaith dialogue based on theological issues?

      May 8, 2013

  • will w.

    Tolerance and understanding are at the heart of our civilisation, so these discussions go to enlarge our view of who we are as a community and how to mitigate the pressures from the changes we see going on around us.
    Hope to come next time, have a good meeting, Will

    May 7, 2013

    • Andria

      Tolerance should be the heart of our civilisation. Certainly dialogue between disparate and diverse groups can encourage that

      May 8, 2013

  • Andria

    Yes thanks for the invite and if religion is to be taken seriously AT ALL, I suggest that religious leaders do everything they can to stop their congregations from using the name of Jehovah, Allah and/or Jesus to kill others.

    April 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It is unfortunate that humankind has distorted the great spiritual leaders' common theme and message to humanity and it was never about hurting each other or about controlling each other in either their names or in the name of something higher.

      1 · May 8, 2013

    • Andria

      It was never about hurting each other, but we live in a political. economic world Neil, and these are the kinds of forces humanity is largely engaged with... I am not the only cynical child of God, speak to the growing number of youth today...they are more interested in looking good (not such a bad thing), taking drugs and selling them...poverty will do that for you and on a good day, looking for something ("criminal" ) or not to pass the time. Granted, I have spent eons working with chemically addicted populations, but frankly, at least their lives are more honest... They know what they want/need and they just go get it by any means necessary...in some cases/.

      May 8, 2013

  • Piercarla

    I would like to mention something that has maybe been overlooked and that is: what is it that creates problems between people - inter faith, multiculturally, anywhere? Dialogue is certainly essential, but I think there is something else that needs attention and that is linked with ego patterns, communication and personal growth.

    2 · May 8, 2013

  • Mark B.

    salaams and thank you to everyone who participated in last night's excellent meet up. for those interested to help develop the action / study group i mentioned, please go to http://globalnet21.org/groups/faith-in-the-community/ where we are developing an on-line platform or alternatively email me direct to find out more about what we are doing, or to engage with any of the issues raised. warm regards !

    1 · May 8, 2013

  • Sabina

    Hi, is there a try before you buy on this? I'd like to try one event before I subscribe.

    May 7, 2013

    • Mouktar

      Hi Sabina,
      It's Mouktar (from Crowded Spanish Market on Monday :)) if you see an event/discussion you would like to come to, let me know and you can attend as a guest - you can attend more than one if you like to see the nature of the discussions before making up your mind.

      1 · May 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    • And lastly, my response to this evening's talk includes a response towards how to engage in constructive dialogue-I personally believe that we should construct achievable aims for the dialogue to have any value or a constructive result. We will also need to encourage dialogue through doing which was implied many times throughout the talk.
    And secondly, I believe that dialogue is still very important towards the ideals of integration and I disagree with an aspect of one of the panelist's viewpoints. It is not that dialogue need be secondary in achieving positive outcomes but it is more to do with how dialogue is approached that is more important. We need more Inclusive & Consistent Understanding as opposed to Absolutist Understanding. If we don't need to respect or understand another's faith or non faith background there'll inevitably come the point of a TRUST issue coming into play. The breakdown of trust at one point or the other is the root cause of politics, power and control.

    1 · May 7, 2013

  • Cherry

    Sorry can't make meeting now.

    May 7, 2013

  • Mike V.

    With apologies.

    May 7, 2013

  • Rajen

    I am really sorry but have to tender apologies for this meeting:(

    May 7, 2013

  • Ulla B.

    Apologies, as I will not be able to make it this evening. However, I am a believer in human rights and a secular society framework - with room for personal and private faith, spiritual and cultural freedoms.

    1 · May 7, 2013

  • Linda F.

    Hi - Sorry due to family commitments I can't now make the meeting. However I am sure it will be a great success and I look forward to hearing about it. Best wishes - Linda

    May 7, 2013

  • Tony G.

    I am really disappointed to have to change to Not Attending. I have both a private tuition session and another meeting I must attend. I do hope someone can use my place.

    May 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    sorry, but I'm unable to attend 'cause I've got the flu

    May 1, 2013

  • Mark B.

    really looking forward to this meeting !

    April 26, 2013

  • Stephanie R.

    Help! I want to register for this, but can't find where to do it

    April 25, 2013

  • terence f.

    unfortunately running a meeting elsewhere

    April 10, 2013

  • Andria

    Looking forward to this one. Do you know if any of the speakers care about drug policy reform? Please let me know
    Cheers
    Andria

    April 10, 2013

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