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Christian Muslim Forum marks 6th anniversary
The Christian Muslim Forum marked its 6th anniversary with a conversation between Christian and Muslim leaders at Westminster Abbey. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough and Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham were among the guests.
Julian Bond, Director reflected on the Forum’s six years:
‘As Christians and Muslims we are called to serve God’s purposes of love and justice … Confrontation and suspicion mar our long history, yet with examples of peaceful coexistence and cooperation. This is how Muslims and Christians interact, or fail to, with one another. In recent years we have witnessed the rise of the BNP and the EDL, some hardening of attitudes to Muslims amongst Christians and others and growing claims that Christians are marginalised, or worse, in the UK . We are also more aware of the plight of religious minorities overseas and tuned in to what sometimes seems to be precarious or overbearing place, depending on where you are standing, of religion in Britain .
Since 2006 the forum has role-modelled a productive, committed relationship between Christians and Muslims, and seeks to inspire others. We offer a commitment to learning about each other from each other, collaborating on shared issues, even difficult ones, recognising differences and similarities, while inviting others to join us on the journey.
The Forum’s future plans include: a Christian-Muslim art exhibition in Walthamstow, a conference for Christian and Muslim teachers in state schools, a seminar on contextual theology; a women’s leadership conference and a day seminar for prison chaplains at Westminster Abbey in April.’
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities stressed to keep creating opportunities for Christians and Muslims to build relationships. He reflected on his own experiences as an MP in Bradford and how he had never encountered a church or a mosque that wasn’t interested in its local community and having a positive impact.
Later the group joined the service of Choral Evensong in the Abbey and Muslim colleagues observing.