Image: A Faiths Forum for London interfaith event from earlier this year.
Faiths Forum for London is dedicated to bringing different faiths together, fostering understanding between people and forming lifelong friendships. We organise projects and events that give the participants the chance to learn from one another, no matter their faith.
We firmly believe that interfaith activities create a much more common and shared sense of humanity, as Britain is made up of diverse groups, and these diverse groups are happily coexisting with rare exceptions.
During the difficult times in which we live, we were extremely pleased to hear about the 21 For 21 campaign.
Organised by the Church Times, British Muslim TV, and Jewish News, together with Coexist House, the 21 For 21 project is on the hunt for ‘21 young leaders for the 21st Century’ who have worked to break down barriers and bring people in their communities together – no matter their faith.
They could have done this through education, sport, art, music, activism, volunteering or anything else that helps to lift others up. As the 21 For 21 website says:
“These 21 — seven Jews, seven Christians, seven Muslims — are at work today, leading projects, creating dialogues, running organisations: all demonstrating in their work and their lives how their faith makes them more open, not less, to friendships and social action across cultural boundaries.”
The media outlets behind the project are pushing interfaith cooperation to the forefront and are therefore looking for nominees from across the faiths, meaning they’re after seven Muslims, seven Christians and seven Jews.
According to Justin Cohen, the news editor at Jewish News who came up with the project, the religious diversity of the nominees will dispel a troubling misconception about the UK: “There is a widely held perception that faith communities in this country and elsewhere are in constant conflict,” he told The Independent. “I think that’s actually not the case.”
He went on to say that relations between communities in the UK are “a beacon, an example, for other communities in other countries”.
We couldn’t agree more, largely because it’s something we experience at Faiths Forum on a daily basis. While religious division is a reality in the UK, cooperation, understanding and community spirit – between people of all faiths and none exist and at times do not grab the headlines as they happen every day.
The shortlist will be judged by a panel of Reverends, Imams and Rabbis – as well as a few other upstanding individuals – and the finalists will be honoured at an award ceremony at Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in November, which will coincide with Interfaith Week 2018. They will also be profiled in print and on-air by the trio of media organisations behind the project.