Leicester Launch

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The Christian Muslim Forum is organising a series of women’s event launching our new report this November to mark National Inter Faith Week. The report ‘Come to the Edge’ outlines the joint role of Christian and Muslim women in dispelling fears and myths, breaking down barriers between communities. The Leicester launch on 15 November was the first in a series of other launches across the UK.

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

Leicester showed the other cities how it’s done! Over 50 women from local Christian and Muslim communities came together to celebrate their lives, faith and experiences of the city they share. We certainly came to the edge!

Every woman was given a rose as a sign of beauty and friendship, we then raised not our glasses but our roses in a toast to ‘friendship’ It was a great evening with women laughing, sharing stories and most importantly forging new friendships. 

We were all asked to share our ‘one wish’ the answers were so varied from ‘Getting closer to God’ to ‘Exploring the world with my husband’. It was so good to see so much passion and enthusiasm through the women. They each spoke to someone new, someone they did not know, after sharing their wishes it was as though they had known each forever, they did not want to stop!

There are lots of Women of Faith groups meeting up in the city and county. I have met some ladies recently who have been meeting for more than 10 years! Part of this initiative is to try and connect these groups and inspire others to join. 

I am part of such a group, we meet once a month at a fantastic lady called Janet’s house, she is so welcoming, we have tea, chocolates, talk about our Faiths, and have a good laugh. One month a Muslim will share a life story and Christian share scripture, This will rotate so that both faiths share something from scripture and a story. It is so informal and friendly, anyone can start up a similar friendship group!

At another Christian-Muslim dialogue group I attended there was a talk on Bibi Hawa (may Allah be pleased with her) from a Christian perspective and the Muslim perspective, there was much similarity but also much difference which gave way for discussion and dialogue. We talked about how both our faith traditions share great grandparents! These kind of events are not to try and force our opinions on the other faith, nor is there evangelism or dawah, it is purely to understand and learn from each other. 

Insh'allah (God willing) we will have more of the events over the next few months, I am building a directory to help link up these women’s group. If you are part of a group, would like information on setting up a group or want to know where your nearest group meets then please get in touch. I am happy to help and if you live in the city you can apply for a Near Neighbours grant, the possibilities are endless.

The launch of MYX, a Christian Muslim Youth initiative is also this November and is open to young people aged 15 to 19. MYX is about bringing Muslim and Christian young people together to use their faith as a force for good, MYX members will take part in volunteering days, and will get full leadership training. 

I am a youth and community worker who is full of passion about making positive changes in my city. I love living in Leicester! We are so diverse and yet we share a sense community spirit and pride. When there are difficulties locally, nationally or internationally we rally around and gather our friends and family for support and push for a change and when it is time to celebrate our achievements we do so with such enthusiasm which was demonstrated at the launch. Islam teaches me to search for knowledge and know my neighbour/the other, I can’t think of a better way to do it, I have come to the edge and am willing to let my guard down. I would love for anyone interested to get in touch and get involved. 

To find out more call 07742040929 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

For any men interested in joining a group, there is a mixed Christian Muslim dialogue group which meets at St. Philip’s Church in Evington, contact Daud Sameja for more information on 07932 086254. 

It runs projects encouraging local co-operation between Christian and Muslim communities (Near Neighbours), between women of the different faiths (Come to the Edge), and has released guidelines on Ethical Witness and (soon) on Interfaith Marriage.

For further information, please contact Director, Julian Bond, 44 (0)20 7729 6830   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Raheema Caratella
Forum Youth Specialist and Leicester Women's Outreach Worker

 

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