newsletter september 2011

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Dear Friends,

Welcome to the the September 2011 edition of the Muslim Christian marriage support group newsletter . Hope you’ve had a good summer, and a  happy and uplifting experience of Ramadan and Eid .

Two dates for your diaries! :

************PICNIC IN THE PARK – SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER ************

11:30 @ THE DIANA MEMORIAL

HYDE PARK

BRING BLANKETS, OUTDOOR GAMES, FOOD, DRINK AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU FANCY!

FINGERS CROSSED FOR SOME AUTUMN SUNSHINE HAVING FAILED TO GET ANY SUNSHINE FOR OUR SUMMER PICNIC!

**********LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL THERE!!! ***************RSVP: beckydale1@btinternet.com

Ps If the weather is too bad we will postpone but we are hoping for a sunny Autumnal day!

And

…………… MUSLIM CHRISTIAN COUPLES SUPPORT MEETING SUNDAY OCTOBER 16th…………………………

11.30 -3.00 at our familiar venue in Southall, including samosas !

ALL ARE WELCOME : RSVP  /get directions:  heather.alyousuf@hotmail.com

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Calling Chicagoans
A couple are looking for contacts or potential group activity in Chicago, – if you might be interested reach out to Shaan or Katie at themcaks@gmail.com.
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  • Family values :
  • Saira Khan , businesswoman and former Apprentice contestant talks about her family, growing up in Britain with Kashmiri parents and marrying a white guy who wasn’t a Muslim. She says that if her dad were still alive she would still be unmarried because she could never bring herself to disappoint him. Even though he is an agnostic bordering on atheist her husband converted to Islam to make the marriage acceptable. Saira says that she believes that 99.9% of young Britrish Asians are living a charade,   between what it is expected by the community and trying to integrate into being British: a charade driven by guilty fear, the potential shame of being cut off from your community.

She describes entering on her marriage into a world of not having to lie any more. But at the same time she doesn’t want to shake off her roots.  You can read her whole interview with Nick Mcgrath in The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/03/saira-khan-my-family-values

  • .

And a similar theme is explored in Zahra Noorbaksh ‘s heart felt autobiographical show on the dilemmas and humour of combining Iranian Muslim heritage with American identity  (and another non-Muslim boyfriend)

http://mahmood.tv/2011/08/24/all-atheists-are-muslim/

(and Mahmood’s site is worth a look in its own right !)

Meanwhile attitudes change gradually without us noticing : in a 1958 Gallup poll in the US only 4% approved of marriages between blacks and whites. Now 86% are Ok with inter racial marriage.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

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NEW Resources SUPPORTING ‘MIXED’ COUPLES AND FAMILIES:

Family researchers from University of Southampton, London South Bank University and University of Nottingham) and One Plus One, a voluntary agency concerned with couple and family relationship support have joined forces with other interracial relationship support groups Intermix, Mix Together and People in Harmony to develop online resources for mixed couples which can now be viewed.  http://thecoupleconnection.net/articles/categories/mixed-families

If you are part of a mixed couple or family the producers are asking for your help in two ways:

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9/11 and its aftermath has affected us all in many ways,  the tenth anniversary commemorations have been a chance to take stock and reflect both on what happened and the lives that were lost and on its meaning for our mixed families, lives and communities.   Amongst the best 9/11 related material I heard was a theological discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief  programme :

“When the hijackers directed their planes into the Twin Towers in New York, it was religion as well as terrorism which hit the headlines. The hijackers had the name of their God on their lips. For many it was a sign that the Clash of Civilisations, the conflict between the Muslim and Christian worlds, had become a dreadful reality. But the events led to an upsurge of interest in Islam and in the question of how religious zealots could justify the wholesale destruction of civilians by reference to its God? What sort of God could that be? Is the God that Muslims worship the same as the Christian God? Wherein lie the differences.? 10 years on the questions remain.
Joining Ernie to discuss these questions are Miroslav Wolf, Henry B Q Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School; Mona Siddiqi Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow; and Father Damien Howard, lecturer in Muslim-Christian Relations at Heythrop College in the University of London”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014fblh
thanks Sarah for sending the link. It was good to hear Muslims and Christians talk honestly and comfortably about differences and similarities whilst cooperating fully in theology as a shared project.

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Report on Marriage, Divorce and Religious Courts Published

A report on religious courts and tribunals in the UK has just been published by researchers at Cardiff Law School and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University. The year-long project, funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, explored how religious law already functions alongside civil law in the area of marriage and divorce.

The research project addressed concerns which were raised in the aftermath of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lecture on Religious and Civil Law in 2008, which provoked an animated debate concerning the extent to which English law should accommodate religious legal systems, such as Sharia law.  These concerns have also come to the fore more recently as a result of the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill (HL Bill 72) introduced into the House of Lords by Baroness Cox which seeks to regulate the operation of religious courts.

The project, ‘Social Cohesion and Civil Law: Marriage, Divorce and Religious Courts’ examined the workings of three religious courts in detail: a Jewish Beth Din; a matrimonial tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church; and a Muslim Shariah Council). The project asked ‘What is the legal status of these courts?’ and ‘How do they operate in relation to marriage, divorce and remarriage?’

The research team was led by Professor Gillian Douglas, an expert on family law and former Head of School at Cardiff Law School. She was joined by Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray (the Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK), Professor Norman Doe (the Director of the Centre for Law and Religion), Dr Russell Sandberg (a lecturer in law at Cardiff) and Asma Khan (a Research Associate at Cardiff Law School).

The full report can be found at: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/clr/research/cohesion.html

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Some more listings:  coming up :

Sufis in Scotland :

World Sufism Symposium Edinburgh: The Sufi Path in the 21st Century

Evening of Sufi Music, Poetry, Storytelling and Devotional Practice

Friday 30 September 2011 Venue: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.

Registration.6.30pm-7pm for event 7pm-10pm

“Whether you love God or love a human being, if you love enough, you will come into the presence of Love itself.”

– Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Cost: £10.

Numbers are limited. Advance booking recommended.

And other events throughout the weekend.

Interested? Visit https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/eicsp?sk=wall

or http://www.eicsp.org/downloads-org/category/175-world-sufism-symposium-registration-form

Fateah Alice Saunders, 44-(0)131-664-6206, alicefateah@btinternet.com

 

Continuing the mystical theme the Centre for Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue

Is bringing together a number of Jewish, Christian and Islamic scholars to explore Mystical Perspectives on THE LOVE OF GOD

Speakers

Jonathan Gorsky, Heythrop College, University of London

Rachel Elior, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Denys Turner, Yale University, USA

Andrew Louth, Emeritus Professor Durham and Amsterdam

Nevad Kahteran, Sarajevo University, Bosnia

Ahmad Achtar, Heythrop College, University of London

The Loyola Room, Heythrop College

9.30am to 5.00pm

Wednesday 5th October

£35 (includes lunch)

This conference is open to all. Booking is essential. To book a place please email Sheelah

Hidden at: s.hidden@heythrop.ac.uk

Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8

5HQ

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London Interfaith Centre :

The Art of Identity In London Inter Faith Centre’s Art of Identity Project London teenagers from across five world religions explore aspects of their identity, including faith, through the visual arts. Exhibition at Lumen URC Centre, 88 Tavistock Place, WC1 Monday 12 September – Friday 23 September 10 am – 6 pm.

Abrahamic Texts Group for Jews, Christians and Muslims Monday 10th October 10.15 for 10.30 a.m. Discussing ‘hospitality’ in the context of our sacred texts. New members welcome. Contact info@londoninterfaith.org.uk

Texts to Live By, Sunday 30th October 5 – 7 p.m. at London Inter Faith Centre.   Our 2011-2102 series of multi-faith study groups will be on the theme: ANIMAL RIGHTS? Religious and philosophical approaches. At each session members of three faiths/belief groups present texts from their tradition and say what they think these mean for the people of today’s world. Each presentation is followed by round-table discussion. Future dates: 26th FEBRUARY, 27th MAY, 22ndJULY 2012. All are welcome, of any faith or none.

Sea of Stories, Sunday, 20th November 2 p.m.  at London Inter Faith Centre, hosted with St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Spellbinding performances for International Interfaith Week 2011 with our awesome crew of storytellers from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha’i traditions. Tickets £7 (£5 concessions) : https://stethelburgas.org/civicrm/event/register?id=336&reset=1

London Faith Schools Conference, Tuesday, 22nd November During this National Inter Faith Week, the third annual conference will be held of London Faith Schools. Teenagers from across five world religions will meet on the topic of ‘YOUNG IN LONDON: PURPOSE AND PRIORITIES’. For more information, please contact info@londoninterfaith.org.uk

Light Shining in Darkness: Zen Retreat, Tuesday 20th December – Thursday 22nd December, growing out of London Inter Faith Centre’s weekly meditation group. The retreat in Cambridge will be led by Dr Richard Garlick and LIFC’s own Revd Maggie Hindley. All welcome. For enquiries please contact maggie.hindley@londoninterfaith.org.uk

Ongoing Events

London Hosting – Are you concerned about the needs of destitute refugees on the streets of London? Do you have spare room or a sofa bed which you could make available either short or longer term? Ask for a hosting pack from Revd Maggie Hindley on maggie.hindley@londoninterfaith.org.uk

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It may be too late to sign up for this academic conference on Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space”Organised by the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford.

on 22-23 September 2011 But you can read what they are talking about here http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/events/forthcoming/ethnography-diversity-urban-space-conference/

Fascinating thinking about cities and neighbourhoods in which we live as ‘super-diverse’: a ‘diversification of diversity’, with a population characterised by multiple ethnicities, countries of origin, immigration statuses, and age profiles.

Part of their brief is to develop new modes of inquiry appropriate to the contemporary challenge of super-diversity.   We come in there somewhere !

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22 October 2011

A place for faith schools?  The Christian Muslim forum in partnership with Las Casas Institute at Oxford are hosting a  A day seminar on Christian and Muslim Faith Schools and their place in a mainly secular society.

Venue: Blackfriars Hall, 64 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LYhttp://christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/events/event-listing/623/.

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Thnaks Habib for this info about Arab events coming up in the UK! :

Go to the  Arab British Centre website for more info:

www.arabbritishcentre.org.uk

ARABIAN DANCE THEATRE: UNDER THE SUN

14 October 2011 8:00pm – 11 November 2011 10:00pm

Jackson Lane Theatre, London & Seven Arts Centre, Leeds

This autumn, Arabian Dance Theatre presents Under the Sun in London & Leeds.
Read more

EXPLORING ARABIC HIP-HOP: RANDA SAFIEH & MASTER MIMZ

14 October 2011 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London

What is Arabic hip-hop and what role does it play in modern Arab society?
Read more

LEIGHTON HOUSE MUSEUM: NOUR FESTIVAL OF ARTS

01 October 2011 10:00am – 30 November 2011 10:00pm

12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ

We are delighted to announce our involvement in this year’s Nour Festival of Arts.
Read more

TWO DAY EVENT: ‘I LOVE EGYPT’, SPEAK OUT!

30 September 2011 10:00am – 01 October 2011 6:00pm

Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, London

Two-day event to share ideas about self expression and protest in London and Cairo.
Read more

 

WINDS OF CHANGE: CINEMA FROM MUSLIM SOCIETIES

21 September 2011 6:45pm – 13 October 2011 7:30pm

The Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1

A season of films illustrating the broad variety of contemporary cinema across Muslim societies.
Read more

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Looking ahead to the Olympics :

In case you hadn’t heard ..next year the Olympics are coming to London.. and it’s happening in the middle of Ramadan , in July.   http://lbfn.wordpress.com/london-2012/ the London boroughs faith network are gathering ideas for making it a festival we can all share in – an Olympic truce – iftaars for everyone?   If you have ideas please share!

Look forward to seeing you if you can make it to our October meets!

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November 2014 newsletter

Dear Friends ,
This is a reminder of our next London meeting , to be held on Sunday November 16th at our usual venue in Fulham. If you are in a Muslim Christian or inter faith relationship we’d love to meet you! The group has been supporting couples in West London for 16 years now and continues to provide a safe setting where couples can meet others, share thoughts/questions or just come to listen . The meeting is from 1.30- 4.00pm. RSVP heather.alyousuf@hotmail.com for directions . Please if you wish bring food/soft drinks to share and we ask for a contribution of £5 per couple to cover the meeting costs. Children are very welcome.

NB there’s a planning session on the same day from 11am -12.30 at Amy and Takie’s which is near our afternoon venue (thanks you two! ) If you’re a committee member or would like to help out with improving our services please RSVP Amy for directions to their place: amyibeeson@gmail.com
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Wednesday 19th November, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Study Day: “Being Faithful: welcoming the challenges of Catholic-Muslim marriages”.
venue : Loyola Hall, Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN

Registration: £10 (payable at the door), does not include lunch, please bring your own or use the canteen

Please register by email to d.howard@heythrop.ac.uk

more info athttp://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/calendar/partner-events?task=view_event&event_id=220
“The study day seeks to examine and deepen reflection on the issues with a view to improving the preparation offered to couples in which each wants to be faithful to their religious tradition whilst at the same time respecting the religious identity of their partner.”

This event brings a Catholic-Muslim focus to some of the issues raised by When Two Faiths Meet, the Christian-Muslim Forum’s initiative on the pastoral care of inter faith couples, to which which many of our group contributed.http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/images/When%20Two%20Faiths%20Meet%20guidelines.pdf

The event includes theological, juridical and practical reflection on catholic-muslim marriage from a range of distinguished Muslim and Catholic leaders plus group work, and testimony from couples themselves as well as pastoral workers.
NB We’ve been asked if a couple of couples from our group would like to attend and give their own views – so perhaps could let me know if you are in a Catholic -Muslim marriage/relationship and would like to come along for all or just afternoon of Nov 19th whether to share thoughts or to listen?
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The new Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, set up last year by Cambridge’s Inter faith think tank the Woolf Institute would like to hear your views on the place of religion and belief in contemporary Britain.

The commission would like to know your views on the following general questions:

Do you feel at ease with the diversity of modern British society in terms of religion and belief?
Are the current systems of civil and criminal law in the UK satisfactory in relation to issues of religion and belief, and to the overlap between these and issues of race and ethnicity?
Do the media accurately and helpfully portray issues of religion and belief, and communities and groups identified by religion or belief?
Are issues of religion and belief well handled in the curricula of the UK’s systems of education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and in relevant systems of training and continuing development?
Should faith-based organisations be involved in social and political action and, if so, in what ways and to what extent?
How should disagreements be handled between and within different traditions and communities, and between these and other interests in public life and wider society?

To submit answers go to http://www.corab.org.uk/national-consultation

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Newsletter July 2014

Dear Friends ,

Ramadan Karim! Here is the Muslim Christian couples newsletter for July 2014 .

Our Meeting Dates for the rest of this year are:
Sunday September 21st
Sunday November 16th
both at our usual venue in London, from 1.30 onwards.
anyone in a Muslim-Christian or Inter faith relationship or marriage is welcome, children too. It aims to be a friendly, safe and welcoming place to meet and talk about what’s on your mind with others who have experience in common with you or just come along and listen.Snacks, treats and hot beverage is available but feel free to bring some home made treats of your own.
£5 per couple to cover room hire.For more info, directions to the venue or to reserve a place contact us by email -or by text 07443 528 084.
– nearest tube station is Barons Court (Piccadilly / District line).

As part of the ongoing project to raise funds and improve the support and resources we offer to inter faith couples and families there will be a half day of website text design and drafting on September 21st, in the hours before the next group meeting. If you have skills in this area you would like to contribute we’d love to hear from you RSVP for more info.
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Ramadan Nights:
Want to find a community iftar event near you where all are welcome ? There’s a long list of events at
http://www.thebigiftar.org.uk/events/

Amongst others in London there are the SOAS Ramadan Tent iftar events ( organisers emphasise :these are open to ALL regardless of religious affiliation) Different speakers have been booked to speak at the Tent throughout Ramadan ‘.
ramadantentproject.wordpress.com

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Catholic-Muslim Marriage seminar

19th November, 10.30am – 4.00pm, Loyola Hall, Heythrop College, University of London

This day seminar aims to start a discussion about how the Church needs to respond to the growing phenomenon of Catholic-Muslim marriage. It is also responding to and developing the initiative of the Christian-Muslim Forum, When Two Faiths Meet.

It will feed into drafting a document to be issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference offering guidance to clergy, marriage care providers and couples themselves on the many issues raised by Catholic-Muslim marriage.

Amongst participants will be a range of Catholic and Muslim theologians and jurists as well as couples themselves ,those involved in pastoral and practical work with couples and those who have been active in the ‘When Two faiths meet’ initiative of the Christian Muslim Forum.

Some of our group are already involved in the event, but hope more of us will be able to attend. In particular is there is a Muslim woman-Catholic man couple out there who would be available in London that day and would be willing to give input on their journey and thoughts on the pastoral care and marriage preparation they received? RSVP if so .

More info available here on the Christian Muslim Forum site below

http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/calendar?task=view_event&event_id=220

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Mush and Me : A new play about an inter faith relationship
http://www.mushandme.co.uk/
is being staged in London on the 24-6 July at Camden Community Theatre and then at the Edinburgh Festival from 31st July till 24th August.
Some of you have contributed to the ‘unknown voices’ surrounding this play, which tells the story of a young Jewish woman and a Muslim man who fall in love and have to make a decision as to whether their relationship can function considering the fact that they both have a connection to their own faith. Some are planning to attend on the same night in London , (also in Edinburgh?) – check out our closed facebook page for more info and conversations or click here if you’d like to join the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/185782491456844/

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The Beating of Hidden Hearts

A documentary on love and fear from the women who dare to cross the faith and cultural divide.

Hidden Heart is the collaborative work of Independent Filmmaker Zara Afzal and Executive Producers Christopher Hird of Dartmouth Films and Tehmina Kazi. In the final stages of production, Hidden Heart tells the story of four Muslim women in inter-faith relationships who struggle to love beyond conventions.

Director Zara’s filmmaking journey emerged from her own experience being in an inter-cultural relationship. While she was fortunate to have the support and love of her family, she realised this isn’t the case for many women. The strong stigma attached to inter-cultural and inter-faith relationships within Muslim communities can have a serious impact on one’s emotional and physical well-being, forcing women to hide their relationships and live double lives for fear of exile or conflict with their close family and friends.

Zara wanted to discuss and explore the cultural and emotional challenges many of these women face within their families and communities, and find out why it’s taboo to love across faiths – why is there so much shame, and so much secrecy? The aim of Hidden Heart is to shed light on the courage, joys, and suffering of women crossing these faith and cultural divides. In candid portraits, the film’s protagonists struggle to understand their heritage, faith, and roles in a multicultural society.

Zara hopes that Hidden Heart will generate discussion among inter-faith organisations, women’s, civil and human rights groups, scholars and religious leaders, and invite more stories to be shared that might otherwise be kept hidden. She hopes for it to be part of a larger movement that brings strength to interfaith/cultural relationships grown of love.

Hidden Heart is currently in its final stages of production, but needs to raise £15,000 by 20 July 2014 in order to hire an editor and complete the film. To watch the trailer, donate to the cause, or pre-order your copy of Hidden Heart today, please visit: http://www.sponsume.com/project/hidden-heart.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/185782491456844/

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The next meeting of the North LondonABRAHAMIC TEXTS GROUP is scheduled for MONDAY 8th SEPTEMBER 2014 10.15 for 10.30-12.30at Liberal Judaism,
The Montagu Centre, 21 Maple Street, London W1.

Jews, Christians and Muslims are invited to join us as we discuss texts from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur’an on the subject of INTER FAITH MARRIAGE
Presenters:
Rabbi Janet Burden
Julian Bond
Akeela Ahmad

Texts for study will be available nearer the time from:
Rev Maggie Hindley, London Inter Faith Centre
020 7372 1765

Best wishes to all!

Heather

Meeting reminder April 27th 2014

Dear Friends,
Greetings to all! This is a short reminder that the Muslim Christian and Interfaith couples’ support group will be meeting at our usual venue on Sunday April 27th from 1.30 onwards.

It’s open to anyone who are in a Muslim-Christian or Inter faith relationship or marriage – families are welcome to come along too. This is a friendly, safe and welcoming place to meet and talk about what’s on your mind with others who have experience in common with you or just come along and listen.

Snacks, treats and hot beverage is available but feel free to bring some home made treats of your own.

£5 per couple to cover room hire.

For more info, directions to the venue or to reserve a place contact us by email -or by text 07443 528 084.

– nearest tube station is Barons Court (Piccadilly / District line).

Here are just a couple of links that have popped into my inbox.
Events coming up at St Ethelburgas include Conversations on Forgiveness
on Mon 19 May 6.30pm. As part of a series of ten talks launched by The Forgiveness Project, exploring what forgiveness means to different faiths will be Usama Hasan, a London based Imam, Islamic scholar and senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation; Catherine Pepinster, Editor of the international Catholic weekly newspaper The Tablet; and Jonathan Wittenberg, the Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK. Chaired by Madeline Bunting.

https://www.stethelburgas.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=624

Finally you may spot some of our friends in the latest (British Muslim version of Pharrell’s hit here
http://thehonestypolicy786.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/pharrell-happy-british-muslims/

A very Happy Easter to all who celebrate, enjoy the sunshine and see you at the meeting on April 27th if you can join us.

Best wishes
Heather

Newsletter January 2014

Dear Friends,
Salaams and greetings to all.
Here are the meeting dates for the group throughout this year:

Sunday 16 February
Sunday 27 April
Sunday 22 June
21 September
16 November

All meetings take place on a sunday afternoon between 1 and 4pm at our regular venue (RSVP for directions) and everyone in a Muslim Christian or interfaith relationship is welcome, children too.
We aim to make it a friendly safe place to meet, eat and talk or just listen where everyone is respected.

If you can’t make it to meetings you may like to join the conversation in the Facebook group : RSVP or click here to apply to join http://www.facebook.com/#%21/groups/185782491456844/

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Just time for a couple of our listings which may be of interest from the Christian Muslim Forum:
20 January from 9.30 till 4 in London St Ethelburgas and the Forum are hosting a conversation about conflict as part of the conflict resilience programme for faith communities at St Ethelburgas, Bishopsgate, London .
30 January 6pm at Blackburn Cathedral Prof Mona Siddiqui OBE will be in conversation about Christians Muslims and Jesus
More info and to book these events and others here
http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/calendar?task=view_event&event_id=183

We Look forward to seeing and talking to you in 2014
Best wishes
Heather

 

muslim christian and inter faith marriage support group november 2013 newsletter

Dear Friends,

Salaams and greetings to the November 2013 newsletter of the Muslim Christian and Inter faith marriage support group.

First of all you are welcome to join us at the next group meeting in London on Sunday November 24th.

We meet at our usual London venue ( RSVP for directions) from 1.30- 4.30 pm

Anyone in a Muslim-Christian or inter faith marriage , relationship or family is welcome, children too . It’s a friendly ,safe space to meet and talk about what’s on your mind with others who have experience in common or just to listen.

Bring and share food if you like, snacks and drinks will also be available.

Cost is 5 pounds per couple to cover room hire.

For more info contact us by email: interfaith.marriage@yahoo.co.uk

or by text on 07443 528 084.

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and on the same day if you’re in Scotland as part of Scottish Interfaith week 2013

Muslim Christian Couples Scotland are holding a social gathering for couples and families from dual Muslim and Christian backgrounds to come together and share experiences with each other. This event is by invite only. Please contact info@interfaithglasgow.org to book a place

http://interfaithglasgow.org/scottish-interfaith-week-2013/

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another Interfaith week event on Tuesday 26th November 10am-1.00pm

is the Inter Faith Marriage Seminar

at St Philip’s Church, Evington Road, Leicester, LE2 1HN

FREE Seminar + lunch £4.00 per person

led by Julian Bond, Director of the Christian Muslim Forum, yours truly and others will offer exploration of the issues around inter faith marriage with religious leaders and others working with inter faith couples and provide pastoral support to those who are in inter faith relationships.

Some of the issues we will be exploring:

· What is the reality ‘on the ground’ in our faith communities?

· How do we support the religious development of children with

inter faith parents?

· How to support couples in their individual faith journeys

Book by calling 0116 273 3459 or email admin@stphilipscentre.co.uk

This is part of the packed Leicester Inter faith week programme of events which you can check out here..

http://www.stphilipscentre.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/INTER-FAITH-WEEK-PROGRAMME-2013.pdf

There’s also a truly impressive list of events nationally here :

http://www.interfaithweek.co.uk/index.php/events/events/list-of-all-events or

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An overview of the London group:

A few of us met virtually during the summer to chat and plan aspects of the group’s future. We discussed various areas including:

– varying the regular meetings with speakers and facilitated discussions

– bringing together information about marriage preparation courses and counsellors

– revamping the website to make it more user-friendly and include all the group’s digital elements

– fundraising for new activities and ongoing costs

– streamlining the way we manage contact information and mailing list subscriptions.

We have plenty of ideas and would love your help in turning them into action.

Would you consider taking on one of these one-off voluntary roles?

· Website relaunch: Do you have experience in working with web designers? Or are you a web designer yourself? We will be revamping the group’s website and need to find a great designer to take on the (paid) work. Can you help find a designer and manage the process?

· Database creation: Do you have experience in using online or ‘cloud’ contact databases? We are looking for a volunteer to help find a suitable contact database system.

· Fundraising: We have a bunch of discrete projects that we would love to see happen – but we’ll need some funding first. Would you consider putting together a funding proposal?

· Meetings: Is there an issue that you’d like to discuss more in the group and dig deeper into? Would you consider organising a speaker to visit the group or perhaps organise a meeting around a particular issue?

Since we met some plans are already in motion: a member has drawn up helpful guidelines for ‘buddies’ who offer support for individuals, further work on making meetings really how you want them

and plans for the new year include this

‘Would you be interested in being part of a Muslim-Christian group to visit a Mosque and Church together ? Come with all your questions (and debrief in a cafe together afterwards) ‘

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Mindful that many of you are elsewhere in the world , here’s a listing and request from the USA

20th Anniversary Conference

Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21st Century:

Challenges & Opportunities

Thursday, November 21, 2013
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Georgetown University
Copley Formal Lounge, Copley Hall
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Please join us for an exploration and critical discussion of the contemporary challenges facing religious pluralism and Muslim-Christian relations. This conference commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). Founded in 1993, the Center has spent the last two decades building stronger bridges of understanding between the Muslim world and the West, as well as between Islam and Christianity.
Panels on
Politics, Religious Pluralism, and the Media: The Future of Muslim-Christian Relations Globally & in America with Natana DeLong-Bas, Dalia Mogahed, Keith Ellison, Roland Schatz, Amb. Ebrahim Rasool

On The Arab Uprisings, Islamic Movements & the Future of Democracy with John O. Voll, Emad Shahin, Yvonne Haddad, John L. Esposito

and on The Challenge of Religious Pluralism with John Borelli, Peter Gottschalk, Brian McLaren, Intisar Rabb

Keynote Address: Karen Armstrong

Free and open to the public

Please RSVP here:
http://acmcuanniversary.eventbrite.com/
For a map showing the location of Copley Hall, please visit:
http://maps.georgetown.edu/copleyhall/

For parking information please visit:
http://otm.georgetown.edu/index.cfm?fuse=parking

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And a request from a US member : ‘I would be very grateful if you could add a request for other Muslim-Christian couples in Chicago and also Madison, Wisconsin, we currently split our time between the two cities’

(RSVP via Heather )

And a reminder that our closed facebook page has become a lively and supportive virtual group with members all round the world – if you are in a M/C or inter faith relationship or marriage of any kind you are welcome to join us there

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Elsewhere in the media:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/24338285 More media coverage than I bargained for! in the BBC item about an inter faith marriage discussion at Blackburn Cathedral.

And because it’s nearly that time of year here’s a link to Amy’s blog about her interview in Good Housekeeping about Christmas in a mixed faith family,

http://amyibeeson.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/celebrating-christmas-when-youre-married-to-a-muslim/

An interview with Rosalind on the topic is likely to be in the Church Times as well ..

That’s all for now, hope to see you or meet virtually soon!

Best regards Heather

Newsletter September 2013

Dear Friends,
Salaam!  This is the autumn newsletter of the Muslim/Christian Marriage Support group.
Here are the dates of our meetings in Hammersmith, West London  this autumn:
 
Sunday September 22nd and 
Sunday November 24th. 
We meet at our usual venue ( RSVP for directions) from 1.30- 4.30 pm
Anyone in a Muslim-Christian or inter faith marriage , relationship or family is welcome, children too .    It’s a friendly gathering and an opportunity to meet and talk about whatever’s on your mind  with others who have experience in common.
Bring and share food if you like, snacks and drinks will also be available.  Cost is 5 pounds per couple to cover room hire.
For more info contact us by email:  interfaith.marriage@yahoo.co.uk
or phone 07443 528 084
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Zara’s documentary
‘My Secret Heart’ is a feature length documentary Directed by Zara Afzal and Producer Christopher Hird. The film is about British Muslim women in a relationship /marriage with a non muslim man. We are looking for couples to feature in our film to share their experience of being in an interfaith / cross cultural relationship.  We are currently in production, and are also keen to hear from couples who may converted to either faith to share their story.  The nature of the documentary is a very personal one to the director as the director is in an interfaith marriage herself, therefore the film will engage in an empathic way with the very real and tender struggles between individual desires and cultural familial identity.  From the perspective of the coupes themselves the film will show the paradoxical aspect that faith can have in the realities of today’s world.
 
We’re looking for people in the U.K to take part in this film project to share personal stories and/or discuss their views. Interviews will be conducted in individuals’ homes and there is no pay for being interviewed or participating in the film.   
 
For more information, you can visit www.mysecretheartfilm.com.  If you are interested in participating please contact Zara directly on zygofilms@gmail.com.
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For Christians and others wanting to understand more about Islamic beliefs and culture a group member recommends
Chris Hewer’s video series : here’s his introduction.
I am pleased to announce that the twelve-part first series of Understanding Islam, developed in collaboration with Ahl ul-Bayt TV, has now been broadcast.  You can find a link to all the videos on YouTube on the “Big Picture” page under the “UI Course” button on my website.  There is an article to go with each episode that supplies additional information; these can be downloaded in pdf format at the same place.
These twelve articles, compiled as one document, can also be downloaded by clicking on this link or from the “Books” page under the “Written Resources” button on the website.The second twelve-part series, “Standing before God,” will begin broadcasting on 18thAugust (Sky satellite 842) and will be available for viewing on www.ahlulbayt.tv in the OnDemand section and on YouTube as soon as they have been re-engineered and uploaded.  The accompanying articles will be available on my own website, from the “Standing before God” page under the “UI Course” button each week and can be downloaded at will.

The episode titles for “Standing before God” are:

1.  Three forms of prayer
2.  Focus on salat
3.  The mosque in the life of Muslims
4.  The discipline of fasting
5.  United on pilgrimage
6.  The visitation of holy places
7.  Modesty: the special character of a Muslim
8.  The rituals of birth and death
9.  Angels, Jinn and the Final Judgement
10. The Imams as spiritual guides
11. Encountering the Word of God in the Qur’an
12. Sufis and the ascent to God

Finally, there is a new Short Guide to Understanding Islam, which is twice as long as the original Essence of Islam, which it is intended to replace.  It can be downloaded byclicking here or from the “Books” page under the “Written Resources” button on the website.  Please feel free to share this far and wide with friends, students, colleagues or anyone else interested.  Some groups are intending to print versions of this text to give to interested people.  Anyone wishing to do the same (without charge) is welcome to contact me.

Thanks for reading,

Dr Chris Hewer

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The Inter faith marriage guidelines one year on ..
Last November  in a brief blaze of publicity  at Westminster Abbey in an attempt to promote  better practice in the care of couples like you when an inter faith marriage is proposed  some of our group were present when the Christian Muslim Forum launched guidelines on the pastoral care of inter faith marriage. You can read them here :  When Two faiths meet: Marriage, Family and Pastoral care. 

http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/images/When%20Two%20Faiths%20Meet%20guidelines.pdf

Since then the process to win hearts and minds has continued : the Christian Muslim Forum is  encouraging those who have pastoral responsibilities in faith communities to explore how they might respond to inter faith couples in more ethical, humane and constructive ways without jeopardising their core faith values :  if you’re in Lancashire would be great to see you at the event below organised by Anjum Anwar around the guidelines for an Inter faith audience on Blackburn.

More such events are in the pipeline including a morning seminar on inter faith marriage at St Philip’s Centre in Leicester  on 26th November. If you are or know of a  Muslim Christian couple in the Leicester area would you be interested in joining  us that day?

Christian-Muslim Marriage, Blackburn

Inter faith marriages are not new phenomena but for many it is something which is seldom discussed.  exChange of Blackburn Cathedral is delighted to invite you to hear the work of Christian Muslim Forum on the subject of

“Marriages between Christians and Muslims.”

Last October 2012, guidelines were launched at Westminster Abbey on the subject of “Interfaith Marriages.”  The work was undertaken by Mrs. Heather Al-Yousuf, who has vast experience of what it is like to be married to someone of a different faith, and the challenges it can present.  Whether one agrees or not to marriages between different faiths, it is important to provide support to those who find themselves in this situation.

You are cordially invited to hear Julian Bond, Director of Christian Muslim Forum and Heather Al-Yousuf in conversation with Anjum Anwar, Dialogue Development Officer and Revd Shannon Ledbetter, Community Canon at Blackburn Cathedral.

Date:     26 September 2013
Time:    1 – 3 p.m.
Venue: Blackburn Cathedral

For further information and to reserve your place, please call Anjum Anwar on 01254 503081/0have pastraol 7903 731106 or email anjum.anwar@blackburncathedral.co.uk, or use the booking link below.

http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/calendar?task=view_event&event_id=79

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In  London on Sunday October 13th St Ethelburgas is holding its annual walk to raise funds for their brilliant work on inter faith understanding and conflict resolution.  Here’s what they say about it:

The Ethelburga Walk on Sunday October 13th is our major fundraising event of the year. It follows a 9 mile route between two sites associated with St Ethelburga  – Barking Abbey and St Ethelburga’s Centre. It runs through an intriguing part of East London, mostly through green spaces and along canal towpaths, avoiding roads. It’s easy going and should take an average walker less than four hours.

There’ll be storytelling, music and refreshments en route to give you a great day out for a good cause. Children and dogs welcome!

The Route

We start at 12.30pm at Barking Abbey, founded by St Ethelburga in the 7th Century. We’ll hear her story performed in the ruins of the abbey. The route follows the Greenway a quiet footpath through East London with the great views of Canary Wharf in the distance. After passing the amazing building of the Abbey Mills pumping station  we take a break by the Bow river at Three Mills with refreshments and music. We then follow canal towpaths past the Olympic stadium and into Victoria Park.

The Regents Canal takes us on towards Bethnal Green and after crossing Weavers Fields we go down Brick Lane, whose mosque was once a Huguenot chapel and then a synagogue. Finally we reach the gleaming towers of the City where a party awaits walkers at St Ethelburga’s Centre with refreshments, massage for weary feet, and live music.

Pre-walk service

We are invited to join the congregation of St Margaret’s Church, next to Barking Abbey, for their morning service at 11.00 am followed by coffee.

Sponsorship

We aim to find one hundred walkers and invite each of them to persuade ten friends to sponsor them for £10 each. This will raise an amazing £10,000 which will make a huge difference to St Ethelburga’s work.

You can either download a sponsorship form here or create your own fundraising page on Just Giving a simple and way to collect sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues online.

Registration 

There is a small fee for registration for which you will receive a specially written Walk Pack (including a map and historical information about some of the places you will pass), and also refreshments en route.

When
October 13th, 2013 1:00 PM
Location
St Margaret’s Grounds
Barking
(5 mins from Barking station, volunteers will guide you from the station)
London, IG11 8AS
United Kingdom
Contact
Phone: 020 7496 1610
Email: simon@stethelburgas.org
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Some blogs and reviews of readable theology books that have come out this summer  :
July 29th Susan wrote about Reza Aslan, Muslim author of a book about Jesus ( Zealot, the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth) , in which she draws attention to his rich experience in an inter faith family and marriage .
Another Muslim scholar who has just written a book about Jesus is Prof Mona Siddiqui of Glasgow University, here’s a review of her ‘Christians, Muslims and Jesus’
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A scholarly historical exploration of some issues around the fiqh of marriage in Islam by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and others :’ Gender and equality in Muslim family law’  is reviewed here
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 At our last meeting in the summer- a delightful picnic gathering of couples and mcm support group babies in Kensington Gardens – you demonstrated quite literally how the group is growing!  Watch this space for ideas of how the group may develop in future and how you could play a part”
Best wishes to you and all your family
Heather