Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum
A Statement from the Executive Committee
PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE FROM MINORITY FAITH AND ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS
A statement by the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum
The Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum, in keeping with other interfaith movements around the world, exists in order to encourage understanding and mutual respect between persons and groups from different religion and belief backgrounds. We have been concerned at recent statements made via the media which display negative and unsympathetic attitudes towards members of minority faith communities and challenge their rights as citizens in this society. We recognise that this is in part due to ignorance and limited educational opportunities to learn about our culturally diverse society, but we also acknowledge with deep regret the influence of international events that appear to promote exclusive forms of nationalism. At their worst these influences often result in racist and sectarian smears and sometimes in criminal activity such as attacks on mosques or synagogues or graveyards, or on people’s homes.
We believe in a shared and intercultural society in which members of all ethnicities, and of all faiths or none, can take part in their own community activities without fear of discrimination or attack and thereby more confidently share between communities.
We would strongly encourage people from all backgrounds to visit less familiar places of worship, and to this end we commend initiatives such as the Mosque Open Day at the Belfast Islamic Centre and similar shared events at which members of different faiths can communicate, ask questions and learn together about each other. Interfaith meetings, such as those organised by the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum, the Council for Christians and Jews, Interfaith North-West and similar organisations are also excellent opportunities for cross-cultural learning.
This week (February 1st-7th) is the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. It would be an excellent time to begin the journey of interfaith encounter and to make a positive statement to counter the negative and discriminatory voices that too often dominate public life.
6th February 2017
Harmony and Healing
Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 7.30 pm at Grosvenor Hall, Glengall Street, Belfast.
A public meeting of the NI Inter-Faith Forum in association with the Four Corners Festival 2017.
This will be an evening of interfaith encounter and celebration, focusing on music from several faith communities. The Four Corners Festival (which this year has the theme of "Our Wounded and Wonderful City") coincides with the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Can musical harmony give us any clues as to the ways we can develop greater harmony in our interfaith relationships?
Please come and invite others too!
New Trustees elected
Following the Annual General Meeting that was held on Tuesday 10th January 2017 in Stranmillis University College, the following have been elected to serve as Trustees for the coming year:
Dr Sandra Baillie
Mr Patrick Carberry
Mr Paul Fitzsimmons
Mr Edwin Graham
Mrs Hazel Holmlund
Dr Wasif Naeem
Mr Ed Petersen
Mr Raj Puri
Dr Norman Richardson
Mr Boyd Sleator
Mrs Sushma Sethi
Meeting & AGM
Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 7.30 pm
in Stranmillis University College, Belfast (Central Building, Lecture Theatre 2).
Guest Speaker: Anna Lo (former MLA)
The meeting will include the Forum's brief Annual General Meeting, including Executive Committee elections.
This is an open meeting to which all are invited.
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