MCM newsletter December 2012

Dear Friends,

This is the last newsletter of 2012. It’s been a year of changes for our group. Our memories of Southall, its samosas and above all Michael Barnes’ welcome has a special place in the hearts of many of us, but we’ve survived the move as a group from Southall to Fulham and we’re hugely grateful to the hospitality we’ve received in both places.

The last few months have kept a lot of us busy with Inter faith couples activities. You may have seen some of the media coverage of the Christian Muslim Forum launch of guidelines for pastoral care of interfaith marriages, but if this is all news to you, you can read about them and get copies of them here http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/news/130-inter-faith-marriage-guidelines

Thankyou also to the group members who came along on the day of the launch. For anyone who would like to see more you can catch a glimpse of us all at the launch on ‘Westminster Abbey’ at 21.00 on BBC2 tonight, Friday Dec 21st http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p68kf

It’s been a really exciting and actually moving experience to be working on this with the Forum: it’s showed us that even in both faith communities there is much more inclination to engage with and understand the experience of inter faith and cross-cultural couples. Plenty more to be done but a real start has been made thanks to our tireless friends in the Forum, in particular Julian Bond, Akeela Ahmed and Nick Ryan.
More media coverage is in the pipeline, but here are links to some print articles on the guidelines and what they mean

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/how-christians-and-muslims-can-marry–the-official-guide-834895

Christian-Muslim relationships in particular can cause tension in families and communities, so pastoral support is important
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/nov/26/mixed-faith-couples-religious-leaders
http://onbeingboth.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/supporting-muslim-and-christian-couples-and-the-rest-of-us/
As Susan K Miller comments in her blog: ‘This collaboration between an interfaith dialogue group, clergy from more than one religion, and interfaith families strikes me as important. Too often, high-level interfaith dialogue has avoided the subject of interfaith families as too controversial, rather than supporting interfaith families and even drawing on their experiences with communication across religious divides.’
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Scotland group

Another development in recent months has been the foundation of Muslim Christian couples Scotland
http://interaleea.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/muslim-christian-couples-support-group-scotland/
It has been really well thought through and planned and already has a number of members (and a great blog!) and is a really fine resource for couples north of the border.
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There are all sorts of ways anyone can get involved and share. Christine and Mohamed told their story here http://goldenroom.co.uk/issue/decmeber-2012/article/my-story-christine-and-mohamed
or you can have conversations with others on our closed couples only Facebook group, apply to join here
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_185782491456844
here’s also an open page Muslim Christian and Inter faith marriage support where we put up posts of general interest. : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muslim-Christian-and-Interfaith-Marriage-Support/197079873647699#!/pages/Muslim-Christian-and-Interfaith-Marriage-Support/197079873647699
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Meeting dates
Next year will insha’Allah be a lively one for the group. We have provisional dates for meetings in 2013, and we particularly encourage anyone who would like to get involved in the running of the group and improving what we can offer to couples with varying needs whether here in the UK or elsewhere If you can, it would be fantastic of you could join us at the AGM on February 24th.

2013 provisional meeting dates.

February 24th group meeting plus AGM
April 28th
June 23rd ( picnic in the park )
Sept 22nd
and Nov 24th
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just time for a couple of postings :

Annual Joint Lecture, Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford
Time & Date: 5pm, Tuesday, 26th February, 2013
Venue: The Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford
Title: Democracy and Muslim-Christian Relations in the Middle East
Speakers: His Grace Bishop Angaelos & Tariq Ramadan
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom: The Democracy of the Middle East
Tariq Ramadan, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, Oriental Institute, Oxford: Building democracy: the challenge ahead for Muslim-Christian Relations
All Welcome
and lastly

for those of you for whom working out how to mark Christmas in a way which satisfies all is still a work in progress I thought this fatwa from the Grand Mufti of Egypt addressed to converts to Islam of Christian background might be of interest , he reiterates that despite the real differences in belief in relation to Jesus between Christians and Muslims, there is no Islamic impediment for Muslims to celebrate Christmas and family life with their friends and family :
http://ali-gomaa.com/?page=scholary-output&so_details=180 “There is no legal impediment to participating in celebrating the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him). Islam is an open system and its followers believe, respect and honor all the prophets and messengers, and treat the followers of other religions with kindness in accordance to the words of God the Almighty:

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except in the best way. [Al-‘Ankabut, 46]

…For Muslims… celebrating the day of the birth of Jesus is an act of belief regardless of Christian convictions in his regard. Therefore, participate in your friends and family’s celebrations, eat with them and refrain from eating pork and drinking alcohol with tact and civility. Do not pay any attention to anyone who wants to ruin the relation between you and your family and others in the name of Islam because Islam is free from all of this.”

Christmas greetings to those who celebrate Christmas and many blessings to all, wishing you a happy and peaceful 2013 .
from Heather and also from my husband Ala’a and family