Endorsing Statement by Inter Faith Network UK

Part of a Statement by the Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK ~ an organisation to which Hounslow Friends of Faith is affiliated:

Our United Kingdom and its individual nations are home to people of many different faiths and beliefs.

As faith communities, each with our own traditions and beliefs, we affirm strongly the value of harmonious coexistence, of values that are shared and of cooperation for the common good.

We are particularly concerned at this time about prevalence of divisive rhetoric, hate speech and rising hate crime. There are those who are actively seeking to drive a wedge between communities, to divide and to foment prejudice and hatred. 

We stand together in the face of such destructive actions and in support of those affected. We encourage all to join us in working for greater understanding, for cooperation and positive coexistence and, in the words of IFN’s vision, “a society where there is understanding of the diversity and richness of the faith communities in the UK and the contribution that they make; and where we live and work together with mutual respect and shared commitment to the common good.”

Recent Attacks in London and Manchester

Table at vigil 1 for useHounslow Friends of Faith issued two statements following the terrorist attacks in London and in Manchester.

Hounlsow Friends of Faith is shocked and greatly distressed that once again individuals have carried out a deplorable attack at London Bridge, so soon after the outrage in Manchester.  We know these feelings are shared by many groups in the borough and welcome the statements of condemnation which have already been issued.  We feel the pain of those caught up in the events and hold them in our thoughts and prayers.

We acknowledge once more the good relations between faiths which exist in Hounslow. We must not allow such attacks to weaken our resolve to stay as one Hounslow community.

Charanjit Ajit Singh            Chair                                  Bessie White

On behalf of HFOF Committee                                    Information Officer

5th June 2017

 

Statement following Manchester Arena attack

As faith leaders in Hounslow, we unite in our sadness and condemnation of the dreadful attack in Manchester which has affected families, young people and children.  Here we are grateful for the good relations that exist between the faith communities where we know each other as friends and colleagues and work together for the common good.  We must not allow this attack by an individual to damage this.  We hold all those affected in our thoughts and prayers.

Signed

Charanjit Ajit Singh     Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Rev Tom Gillum           Vice Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Divya Din                       Vice Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Shafiq Rehman             General Secretary Hounslow Jamia Mosque and on behalf of Hounslow Social

and Political Committee which represents the mosques and Islamic Centres in the borough of Hounslow

Rev Richard Frank      Church of England Hounslow Area Dean

23rd May 2017

We have already received several messages of support and requests specifically to be associated with this statement. These include from the Ahmadiyya Community and HIRA (Hounslow Islamic Relief Association) in Feltham.

The photo shows the statement on display at the vigil held at Hounlsow Jamia Masjid on 27th May attended by representatives of many faiths.

 

Manchester Arena Attack

Table at vigil 1 for useHounslow Friends of Faith has issued the following statement after the shocking attack in Manchester last night, 22nd May 2017.

As faith leaders in Hounslow, we unite in our sadness and condemnation of the dreadful attack in Manchester which has affected families, young people and children.  Here we are grateful for the good relations that exist between the faith communities where we know each other as friends and colleagues and work together for the common good.  We must not allow this attack by an individual to damage this.  We hold all those affected in our thoughts and prayers.

Signed

Charanjit Ajit Singh     Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Rev Tom Gillum           Vice Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Divya Din                     Vice Chair Hounslow Friends of Faith

Shafiq Rehman             General Secretary Hounslow Jamia Mosque and on behalf of Hounslow Social and Political Committee which represents the mosques and Islamic Centres in the borough of Hounslow

Rev Richard Frank      Church of England Hounslow Area Dean”

 

We have already received several messages of support and requests specifically to be associated with this statement. These include from the Ahmadiyya Community and HIRA (Hounslow Islamic Relief Association) in Feltham.

 

Faiths Forum for London statement on Westminster attack

Hounslow Friends of Faith are distressed by the attack on 22nd March at Westminster, at the deaths and injuries caused and any damage to the good community relations in Hounslow.  We as people of faith reach out to our friends and colleagues of all faiths and none in the borough and beyond.

We endorse the statement issued by the Faiths Forum for London which can be read below.

We hold all our communities in our prayers.

“We, as representatives of many of London’s faith communities, deplore the terrible attack that has taken place today at Parliament and Westminster bridge.

All of our religions exalt the sanctity of human life. There is no justification for such a barbaric assault on innocent people.

Terrorism has no place on our streets.

We pray for the victims of this attack, and call for Londoners, and our nation to stand together at this time.

We will redouble our efforts to work for peace, compassion, understanding and hope.”

Signatories:

Father Gerard Mitchell SJ, Co-Chair, Faiths Forum for London
Jasvir Singh OBE, Co-Chair, Faiths Forum for London
Dr Deesha Chadha, Hindu Forum of Britain
Leonie Lewis, London Jewish Forum
Dr Natubhai Shah, MBE, The Jain Network
Yousif Al-Khoei OBE, Al-Khoei Foundation
Fred Ashmore, London Quakers
Jon Dal Din, Westminster Interfaith
Malcolm Deboo, Zoroastrian Trust Fund of Europe
Bhavesh Dharni, National Hindu Students’ Forum
Annabel Djalili, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
Revd Margaret Cave, London Churches
Captain Nick Coke, Salvation Army @nicholascoke
The Ven Duncan Green, Diocese of London
Rajnish Kashyap, Hindu Council UK @HinduCouncilUK
Dilowar Hussain Khan, London Muslim Centre
Revd David Musgrave, London Methodist District
Revd Kumar Rajagopalan, London Baptists
Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala, London Buddhist Vihara
Koser Shaheen, Association of Muslim Lawyers
Talat Shaikh, Muslim Community & Education Centre
Rabbi Deborah Young-Somers, London Jewish Forum
Rt Revd Dr Donnett Thomas, Churches Together in South London
Revd Steven Saxby, London Churches @LondonChurches
Catriona Robertson, London Boroughs Faith Network @multifaith
The Ven Luke Miller, Faith Sector Panel @ArchdeaconLuke
Maurice Ostro OBE, Founding Patron, Faiths Forum for London
Don de Silva, Buddhist Chaplain
The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Deputy Bishop of London
The Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney
Mustafa Field, Director, Faiths Forum for London @LondonFaiths

Religious Freedom Spring 2016

Hounslow Friends of Faith are very pained by the recent incidents of deaths as a result of religious intolerance.  In addition to the outrage in nearby Brussels, there have been other attacks – in Turkey aimed at Muslims, on families and children in Lahore in Pakistan directed at Christians, but also affecting Muslims, and now the murder of Asad Shah in Glasgow, apparently because he was a member of the Ahmadiyya Community.  Religious freedom is an increasingly significant issue for the UK, as for other countries around the world.

This last attack in Glasgow has been condemned by the Muslim Council of Great Britain, and many others.  As the Interfaith Network for the UK has said, ‘attacks on, or intimidation of, groups and individuals of other beliefs is an extreme form of restriction of the religious freedom of others. We deplore these in the strongest terms.’

Hounslow Friends of Faith is a group which exists for the promotion of religious harmony for the benefit of the public in the Borough of Hounslow and surrounding areas.  We have as members, or are in touch with, individuals of all faiths and beliefs represented in the borough and of many of the different denominations within these faiths.  In all faiths there are different perspectives and beliefs.  We must respect other people’s freedom within the law to express these beliefs and convictions. Where we disagree, we must not allow these beliefs or disagreements to lead to hostility or even violence in our relationships.

Let us all encourage more inclusive education, dialogue and engagement, and work together on the basis of our common values for increased understanding, cooperation and harmonious coexistence.

The Interfaith Network for the UK, of which HFOF is a member, have issued two statements on these issues which can be found on http://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages

Faith bodies respond to terrorism

Endorsing the statement mosque team webWhile Parliament discussed next steps in Syria, Hounslow Friends of Faith and the Mosques and Islamic Centres of Hounslow issued this statement which was endorsed at a multifaith event at Hounslow Jamia Mosque on Saturday 5th December 2015.

JOINT STATEMENT BY HOUNSLOW FRIENDS OF FAITH AND MOSQUES AND ISLAMIC CENTRES OF HOUNSLOW

We are saddened and horrified by the recent atrocities that have taken place in Paris. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.  In Hounslow, all the faith groups have been working together for some time to build upon strong bonds and good relations that exist between all the communities.

We reinforce the pledge which we took on 9th June 2015 at the Hounslow Jamia Mosque that ‘We stand together to counter hate and intolerance and for building a stronger and safer Hounslow.’

We will continue to stand together for peace in our community, and reaffirm our commitment to the values of inclusiveness and tolerance against those who seek to create division and fear.

 

Terror attacks in France

Members of Hounslow Friends of Faith have been deeply shocked by the terrible attacks in France on 13th November.  We hold the people of France in our prayers.

We will be consulting with faith groups locally about the way forward and what action we can take to continue to maintain and extend good relations between all faiths in the borough.  The faiths make a big contribution to society at large and it is important that their members all feel valued and supported.

The Interfaith Network for the UK issued a statement on Saturday 14th November.  Members of HFOF and others attending our Interfaith Week event on 16th November were very pleased to endorse it.

The statement is below:

The terrorist attacks in Paris and inter faith relations in the UK: Statement from the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

We have watched with deep concern the news unfolding of coordinated murders,  injury and destruction in terrorist attacks in Paris.  Our prayers are with all affected by this atrocity.

A jihadist motive is described in news coverage.

Terrorism has many faces. Sometimes it wears the mask of religion, claiming a justification in religious teaching for its acts.  This is rejected in the strongest terms by faith communities.

Terrorists have as their aim the creation of a climate of fear and uncertainty. Their victory begins the moment that people can no longer live in trust and with a sense of shared citizenship.  In Britain, we live with the reality of the impact of international terrorism, feeling the shockwaves of events such as those in Paris as well as in other places around the world.   In such a context, we need to build on the solid history of inter community relations in the UK.  Let us not allow the wedge of suspicion and distrust to be driven between our communities.

Tomorrow Inter Faith Week gets under way in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  One of its themes this year is ‘Living Well Together’.  The events that the Week will see are a reminder of the reality and the importance of a positive coexistence.  Tackling tough issues is part of this and on the agenda are those such as extremism, freedom of expression and responding to social ills such as poverty.  Inter faith discussion and engagement does not just focus on easy issues; it is not just the province of those who agree.  It is a challenging and vital process that needs, increasingly, to be part of the common discourse of our society.

We conclude, as we began, with our concern and sympathy for our near neighbours in France at this time.

The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE (Co-Chair)

Vivian Wineman (Co-Chair)

Maulana M Shahid Raza OBE (Vice-Chair)

Dr Natubhai Shah MBE (Vice-Chair)

Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE (Vice-Chair)

The Inter Faith Network for the UK

2 Grosvenor Gardens

London SW1W 0DH

Tel: 020 7730 0410

Email: ifnet@interfaith.org.uk

Web: www.interfaith.org.uk

Twitter: www.twitter.com/IFNetUK

Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFNetUK

 

Faiths meet to increase understanding post Paris

Communities Rdtable 4Hounslow Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre, in partnership with Hounslow Friends of Faith hosted a Communities Roundtable at the mosque in Hounslow on Thursday 12th February. This brought together over 30 leaders of the faiths and denominations in the borough to share views and concerns informally in the wake of the recent events in France. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh groups were represented. Councillor Sue Sampson, Lead member for Communities, two senior staff from the Communities Partnership Unit and the Met Police faith liaison officer also attended.

In a wide ranging discussion the value of working together across faiths was recognised.  Hounslow is a community of communities. Faiths should be respectful of each other and not judge.

Issues raised included the need to get the message across of the positive contribution faiths make to the community and that they are actively addressing concerns such as working with their young people. On-line radicalisation is a reality whether Islamist or far right.  Places of worship have to be alert, tackle it with their young people and share knowledge and best practice of how to do this.

Young people need to be engaged through action, not just dialogue.  ‘Faith bodies and the local authority have a crucial role to tackle the issue of engaging with young people’ said HFOF Chair Charanjit Ajit Singh.  ‘We need to give them the tools to develop into law abiding citizens as equals.  We must be careful of the language we use to each other, but also challenge it if necessary’.

‘Freedom of speech and expression is an important and highly earned value of democratic societies and must be exercised with care and respect for others. Fanaticism, in any form including through pen or pistol, has no place in our communities’ said Zubair Awan, Joint Secretary of Hounslow Jamia Masjid.

Participants plan to keep in touch and support each other in working on these issues.

 

 

Inter Faith Network statement on maintaining friendship and trust

Hounslow Friends of Faith is a member of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN).  We post below a message from the officers of IFN following the current situation in the Middle East.  It was issued on 4 August 2014

A message from the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs to member bodies of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

The work of most of your organisations, like that of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, focuses on this country. There are, however, times when events in other countries with which we have links or about which we have concern have an impact on our relationships here.

These may be events, past or present, about which a community or communities have strong feelings:  particular attacks or periods of persecution or even genocide; ‘one off’ but deeply disturbing episodes; or ongoing actions – military or civilian – affecting the lives of many, within and across borders.  The roll call of such actions in recent times is long and the impact reverberates.

Today our thoughts and our prayers are with all those affected by the present crisis in Gaza and Israel, and in other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere where communities are under sometimes terrifying pressures.

Such situations give rise to strong differences of view about what is just and right and they bring with them anxiety, pain – and anger.  At these times, our bonds of friendship and trust – long in the making – are tested.  It is hard to keep communication open and to continue to be willing to be in dialogue but it is vital to do so and to continue to support each other’s right to differ in opinion and to be willing to make our case with courtesy and respect for the other.

Likewise, continued care for the safety and security of our different faith communities in the UK must surely be a concern for all of us. We acknowledge fears of those in the Jewish community with the recent sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks, mirroring fears in the Muslim community following the increase in attacks on Muslims after the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year.

We note also the helpful statements from a range of faith community leaders and organisations.

Vital work is happening at local and national level to keep channels of ommunication open and relationships strong. Our thoughts and prayers are also with all seeking to encourage and support this.

The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE, Co-Chair

Mr Vivian Wineman, Co-Chair

Mr Mohinder Singh Chana, Vice-Chair

Dr Kishan Manocha, Vice-Chair

Maulana M Shahid Raza OBE, Vice-Chair

Dr Jagdish Sharma, Vice-Chair

 

Inter Faith Network for the UK

2 Grosvenor Gardens

London SW1W 0DH

Tel: 020 7730 0410

Fax: 020 7730 0414

Email: ifnet@interfaith.org.uk

Web: www.interfaith.org.uk