Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum
PRESS Release 25/05/2014
24th May 2014
The Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum (NIIF) is concerned about the recent negative comments about Islam and Muslims that have been broadcast in the media following a sermon by Pastor James McConnell at the Whitewell Tabernacle in Belfast.
The comments in the media hurt thousands of Muslims living peacefully in Northern Ireland and also promote hatred against two billion Muslims all over the globe.
While we accept that freedom of speech is a basic human right, this needs to be balanced with the basic human right of respect for others’ faith and identity.
The Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum has a vision for Northern Ireland of Faith communities, together, evidencing understanding, mutual respect and trust.
The mission of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum is to bring members from world faiths together in a self-governed forum where members work together to facilitate dialogue, promote community cohesion and provide an authentic voice on faith matters, embracing values of faith, diversity, equality, inclusion, partnership, responsibility, excellence and well being.
In keeping with our mission we are happy to facilitate dialogue and to seek to establish understanding in our increasingly diverse society.
NIIF Executive Committee officers:
Chair: Dr Ahmed Helmy
Secretary: Dr Norman Richardson
Vice chair: Mr Edwin Graham
Treasurer: Ms Phil Graham
Hindu Temple Meeting
Members of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum joined members of the Indian Comunity for their Hawan Ceremony on 23rd February 2014, followed by an intorductory talk in the Hindu Temple and a vegetarian meal together. It was an informative occasion and an excellent opportunity for Forum members and Hindu friends to meet and share.
Inter-Faith Forum members look on during the Hindu Hawan Ceremony.
Members of the Forum learn about the Hindu Temple.
Exploring Our Faiths Together
A programme of meetings and visits during 2013-14 to renew and extend the awareness and relationships between some of the faith communities present in Northern Ireland.
Starting just after Inter-Faith Week in November 2013 the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum has been marking its 20th anniversary by setting out on a series of visits to local faith communities and, where possible, to their places of meeting and worship. As in the very early period of the Forum’s existence, members of the Forum will explore the various traditions represented in membership through this combination of talks and visits. It is also as an opportunity to renew our commitment to inter-faith communication and dialogue and to renew relationships between the various faith communities present in Northern Ireland.
Each visit will take its own format, but most will include an introduction to the faith community, input from one or more speakers, opportunity for questions to a panel of members of the community and general questions and discussion.
The next meetings in this series are outlined below, with fuller details to be confirmed when available. This information will be sent out from the Forum in its regular email communications and also notified on the website.
In some cases the visit to the faith community can be combined with a visit to a place or worship or community centre, in other instances a talk and a visit may take place on separate occasions, according to the situation of each particular faith community.
Meetings that have already taken place are:
BELFAST ISLAMIC CENTRE - November 2013
INDIAN COMMUNITY CENTRE AND HINDU TEMPLE - February 2014
25th March: THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY - Venue: All Souls Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast 9
7th May: THE JEWISH COMMUNITY - Venue: Belfast Synagogue, Somerton Road, Belfast 15
June (date to be confirmed): THE BUDDHIST COMMUNITY
Autumn 2014 meetings - dates to be notified
THE SIKH COMMUNITY
THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY INTER-FAITH RELATIONS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
Strategic Plan Consultation
Link for downloading Strategic Plan document.
Invitation to Indian Community Centre
To all members and friends of the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum:
As part of our "Exploring Our Faiths Together" series of meetings over the current year the Forum has been invited to the Indian Community Centre and the Hindu Temple on Sunday 23rd February at 2pm.
We are invited to join the Hindu community for the hawan ceremony and prayers followed by a tour of the Centre and a talk on Hinduism. The visit to the Indian Community Centre will finish with dinner in the Centre at 4:30pm.
The Indian Community Centre is located at 86 Clifton Street, Belfast, in the large former church building on the left hand side as you go out of town, close to Carlisle Circus. The hawan ceremony will commence at 2pm.