newsletter december 2008

Dear friends,

 

This is the December issue of the muslim-christian marriage support group. 

 

-wishing a blessed Eid to you and your family, in particular to anyone making the Hajj this year.

wishing you also a peaceful Christmas  and a happy 2009 –

 

November group meeting

These are a few remarks from members :

 

‘One thing we’d both like to say to the group is that though children do bring additional responsibilities and challenges for all couples, our daughters have really helped to unite both our immediate and wider families in a positive way and are bringing renewed support and happiness with which we feel very blessed.’ 

 

‘ I think for me meeting people who are in or who have been in a similar situation to me validates my own feelings and helps me to realise that I am making the best out of a difficult situation with my parents. It also helps to remind me how far I have come and how much further I have to go!’

 

‘I always come away from these meetings feeling I belong to something bigger, it’s not just us and our family…’

 

Many thanks to those that attended, we hope it was a useful experience for you all!  

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Living faithful family lives

Christian-Muslim forum event at Crewe November 7th-8th

-it was a packed twenty-four hour event, where Muslim and Christian family specialists like Humera Khan of an-Nisa’ http://www.an-nisa.org/   amongst a number of others gave presentations and workshops, dealing realistically with the issues and how to solve them.  People of both faiths found they shared the goal of encouraging secure and emotionally-healthy family relationships.  www.christianmuslimforum.org

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Websites in focus

http://www.realhistories.org.uk/    The Real Histories Directory is a resource tool for teachers, parents, pupils and the wider community to support them in teaching and learning about cultural diversity in the UK    this month has a focus on the work of the Three Faiths Forum and on celebrating each others’ holidays –with a ‘happy chriss-nukk-eid greeting’ 

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http://thecitycircle.com/blog.php     City Circle blogs : some interesting Islam-related blogs for example Eboo Patel (24 November) responding to the news of Obama’s election victory, in his blog Is she Muslim enough? which begins ‘Within the next 10 years, I predict that a young, intelligent Muslim woman will run for Congress…. ..

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http://www.familyandparenting.org/workshops2008

you can get downloads of seminars and workshops from the national family and parenting institute’s November conference, some of the latest work and thinking on how to help families in trouble for example Susanna Abse and Leezah Hertzmann  on ‘Parenting Together’.   

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Coming up 

Birmingham

Seminars at the Al-Mahdi institute to be held in the Al-Zahra’ Library, Al-Mahdi Institute during the 2008-2009 Academic year:

 

Wednesday 10th Dec 2008: 11:00am-12:15pm Reverend Bonnie Evans-Hills: ‘Attitudes to Prayer of the Early Christian Fathers and Prayer of Imam Zayn al-‘Àbidïn (‘AS)’

Tuesday 24th Feb 2009: 11:00am-12:15pm Reverend Ray Gaston: ‘Imàm Husain (‘a.s) through the eyes of a Christian’

Monday 20 Apr 2009: 11:00am-12:15pm: Dr Marius C. Felderhof: “Religious Education and Human Rights”

Tuesday 19th May 2009 11:00am-12:15pm: Mr. Abdul Maynard: ‘Psychology ,Counselling and its role in Islam’

www.almahdi.edu  

more details from Academic Registrar Ayman Hirji: hirjia@almahdi.edu

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St Ethelburga’s, London 

   What are your hopes for 2009?  Is manifesting a little more peace, within you and around you, perhaps one of them? 

It is for us.  We are launching a new 7 week course, starting Tues 13 Jan 6.30pm called Peace from Within which will explore ways in which we as individuals can contribute to peace-making, starting from within our own hearts.  Investigating themes such as developing  compassion, managing strong emotion, taking responsibility, and tranforming our own mistakes, it will offer an unusual opportunity to enter into a unique and transformative inner work guided by the wisdom of experts from different faith traditions.  warm wishes

The St Ethelburga’s Team www.stethelburgas.org    tent@stethelburgas.org     020 74961610

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I am a freelance journalist and am writing an article for Essentials magazine about how friends have fallen out over a major life event but have worked out their differences and become stronger.

Interfaith marriages must cause strong opinions and I wonder if you may have any members who fell out with friends over their choices but who have since learnt to accept it.

Both friends would need to tell their side of the story, be 30-55 and willing to be photographed.

Please drop me an email or give me a call on 07967911786 if you think you may be able to help.

All the best
Emma

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New Exhibition at Asia House: 30 Years of Solitude, Photography and Film by Iranian Women.
27 September 2008 – 10 January 2009 (Closed 24 December to 4 January)

As part of the events programme accompanying this exhibition it begins with a one-day seminar entitled How Can we be Iranian, Women and Artists? Full details of the seminar are included on the website. Group visits and tours to the exhibition can be arranged.
Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP, Tel: +44 (0)20 7307 5445, Fax: +44 (0)20 7307 5459    www.asiahouse.org

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Thinking about mixedness and mixing :interdisciplinary dialogue

This ESRC seminar series aims to stimulate new agendas in thinking about mixedness and mixing – exploring aspects of life for people from ‘mixed racial and ethnic backgrounds (which may also encompass faith differences) and their families. The series will bring together different international, disciplinary and professional perspectives.

Seminar 1: Spaces and Places 12 December 2008, London South Bank University
Speakers: Ann Morning (New York University), Steven Holloway (University of Georgia) and Richard Wright
(Dartmouth College), Charlie Owen (Institute of Education, London), Lisa McKenzie (Nottingham University),
Chamion Caballero (London South Bank University). Chair: Hamish MacPherson (Office for National Statistics)

Seminar 2: Cultural and Psychological Images and Resources 26 March 2009, London School of Economics
Speakers include: Ilan Katz (University of New South Wales), Minelle Mahtani (University of Toronto) and Mica Nava (University of East London)

Seminar 3: Everyday Experiences and Social Divisions autumn 2009, London South Bank University

Seminar 4: Promoting Research / Practice Dialogue spring 2010, London School of Economics

Reports of seminar will be posted on the following website after each has been held. http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/families/mixedness/

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The holiday season approaches, I hope it will be a rich experience for you, your partner and all your family.  Feasts and festivals, like weddings and other rites of passage often require that bit more work from interfaith couples.  It’s not surprising given the combination of feelings we tend to have about them: the memories good and bad, the collective expectations of happiness, the feeling that things must or must not be done in certain ways or that our identities are at stake, the loyalties (and guilt) towards other family members: people often find that these events carry a lot of symbolic weight, even for people who aren’t particularly religious the rest of the year.

Or it maybe that one of you does your best to avoid the midwinter extravaganza of western Christmas, or that you feel it’s haram, so that it is quite a compromise to give in to it to please someone else.  ‘Not doing a festival’ is also a symbolic statement that can have a lot of feelings invested in it.

I came across this bit of heartfelt chatter  about the holiday dilemma  http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/637689-to-want-my-muslim-dh-to-participate-in-christmas

 

If it’s appropriate to  offer a couple of tips here goes: if holiday planning is a very emotional topic for you it can help to do some ‘talking about talking,’   before you get down to deciding what you are actually going to do.    By this I mean giving yourselves the time and space to think about the feelings, emotions, memories that underlie how you’re thinking-   both of you, without ‘dissing’ where your partner is coming from on this . Decisions come later, once you’ve heard and understood each other.  

 

The other thought is about solutions- it may sound ambitious, but it can be achieved.  It’s that you decide to aim for an outcome with which you are both content, and that you both feel you have a stake in.  This may mean being creative, or finding new ways to relate to your partner’s tradition or to revisit your own. 

When people talk about Eid and Hajj or Christmas and what it means to them, they often focus on underlying values- such as feeling you belong, or increasing God-consciousness and commitment to living a good life, or universal love, generosity etc. These good things are experienced through activities in your particular faith tradition, but the emotions and values are ones that can be shared across faith boundaries.

With all best wishes to you and all your family for all your special occasions,  

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