The Christian Muslim Forum
- tackles the tough issues which divide our communities
- challenges anti-Muslim and anti-Christian hostility
- supports local church-mosque twinning and friendship
We stand together in solidarity in times of need.
Established in 2006 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Christian Muslim Forum brings together Muslims and Christians from a variety of denominations and traditions to work together for the common good.
We do not underestimate the privilege of getting to know one another across religious and other boundaries, especially in uncertain times.
Being honest about our distinctive beliefs, and the experiences which lie behind our public positions, leads to greater trust. It boosts our ability to work together, to affirm what we have in common and to recognise our differences.
We are excited to welcome on board a growing circle of prominent supporters as we tackle one of the most important issues of our time.
Near Neighbours Programme
CMF is a national partner of Near Neighbours.
We provide expertise through our focussed work on Christian-Muslim relations and support the wider Near Neighbours programme with training, expertise and resources across England.
Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.
We develop the networks and capacity of local communities and organisations through sustainable initiatives, such as our Church-Mosque Twinning Network, that will continue to impact long into the future.
Christians and Muslims
There are significant asymmetries between the Christian (60%) and Muslim (5%) populations in England:
- age profile
- ethnicity and heritage
- longevity of institutional life
- voice in public affairs
- levels of hate crime and discrimination experienced
- treatment by the press
Additionally, there are many differences within Christian and Muslim communities regarding all the above.
From our network and from research data, we know that opportunities to develop positive Christian-Muslim relations are urgently needed.
Although there is excellent work taking place across the country, the context within which Christian-Muslim engagement takes place – nationally and internationally – is far from ideal and relations have deteriorated in recent years.
Christians and Muslims share concerns regarding freedom of religion & religious expression, the duty to neighbour and stranger, peace building, scholarly engagement and social action.
We also differ, with Christians concerned about extremism and Muslim involvement in ISIS, the persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries, newspaper headlines about grooming and the place of women in Muslim society.
Muslims have pressing concerns around security, Islamophobia and hate crime, the far right and discrimination. Media coverage of Islam is also a growing concern.
Both Christians and Muslims would like to see a more developed theology, from within both traditions, of inter faith engagement.
Some of the tough issues we have identified
- Media, free speech, public debate: where does legitimate criticism blur into ridicule, bigotry and xenophobia?
- Anti-Muslim hate crime: substantial rise, impact on Muslim communities, on society
- Persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries
- Race & Islam, race and Christianity: the impact of race and racism on Christian-Muslim relationships
- Relationships with Government: who is and who is not at the table when policies affecting Christians and Muslims are being developed and funded?
- Populism & white supremacy: intimidation of Muslims in the name of Christianity & Christian heritage
- Marginalisation of Muslims in public life: a different experience from many (but not all) Christians
- Guidelines for worship: Christians visiting mosques, Muslims visiting churches
- Victim mentality and white saviour syndrome: differing experiences of the heritage of colonialism and immigration
- Extremism, terrorism and the Prevent Programme: fears of terrorism in the name of Islam, support for and criticism of the Prevent Programme
- Freedom of religion and belief: freedom to worship in safety, to express religion or belief
- Reputation and loyalty: being regarded as a sell-out, or as naïve and providing credibility for extremists
- ‘Christianist’ analysis: clash of civilisations, European Christian heritage seen as incompatible with peaceful co-existence with Islam
The Christian Muslim Forum in action
- Tackling contemporary issues by an invited group of committed Christians & Muslims
- High level events with senior Christians & Muslims, most recently an afternoon with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE
- A successful Church-Mosque Twinning Programme supported by the Near Neighbours Programme
- Westminster Seminars, for example on Belonging and Brexit, hosted by Westminster Abbey
- Briefings on Integration and Opportunity and Religious Supplementary Schools
- Standing together in times of need (London Central Mosque after the Christchurch attack; Archbishop of Canterbury visit to Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park)
- Guidelines on ethical witness, inter faith marriage, civic celebrations of Christmas and halal food labelling
- Public statements of solidarity, e.g. in response to ‘Punish a Muslim Day’
- Visits by the Archbishop of Canterbury to share iftar meals at Islamic centres
- Christian-Muslim national speaker tour of Islamic centres, cathedrals & churches
- Events focusing on young Black Muslims and Christians, populism & white supremacy, youth employment, gender justice
- Providing reliable advice; consulted by policy makers & parliamentarians
- Refugees: linking Christian and Muslim initiatives
- Joint study tours to Bosnia, ‘Shared Perspectives’ courses at St George’s College, Jerusalem
- Partnership with Methodist Church Districts
- Active social media and popular newsletter, sharing news of friendship & solidarity, upcoming events, new resources & ideas
- Consultancy, e.g. Amazon ‘Priest and Imam’ advertisement
- The reception of overseas dignitaries, e.g. the Grand Mufti of Russia
- A wide network of grassroots activists across the country, meeting up each year, sharing experience & expertise