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
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
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

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
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
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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’
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
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
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
 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

 

newsletter september 2011

Featured

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

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
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.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • 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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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:

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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

……………

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

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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 !

……………………………………………………………………

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/.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

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!

newsletter june 2011

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the June support group newsletter :

First of all Becky has been organising this event – hope you’ll be able to join us!

 

 

MUSLIM & CHRISTIAN

                              

                 SUPPORT GROUP

 

        PICNIC IN THE PARK! 

                                                                    

 

                                                            

 

 

           Sunday 17th July 2011

        From 11:30am Hyde Park 

 

     Meet near the Diana Memorial

 

     Bring your own Picnic blanket, food, drink and enjoy an informal picnic and chat with other members of the Muslim & Christian support group           

 

            Children VERY Welcome!

 

RSVP:

 

Becky – beckydale1@btinternet.com

 

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

 

 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Congratulations to Amy and Takie and a big welcome to Ava Grace

Congratulations as well to Muslim and Ilse  who have a new daughter Sophia Ma’shallah . Many blessings on both families.!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

Media requests

 

Have your say about raising children in inter faith marriage:

 

I am an assistant producer on Channel 4’s 4thought series and I was hoping I might be able to have a chat with you about a week of programmes I’m putting together on mixed/interfaith marriage.

If you’re not familiar with the series: 4thought.tv is a series of short programmes that transmits on Channel 4 everyday directly after the evening news. Each programme is approximately two minutes long and features one person speaking directly to camera. Each week is linked by an underlying theme related to a moral or ethical debate, an important anniversary or a news story.

I’m trying to get in touch with a range of different couples with different perspectives on whether or not raising children within an interfaith marriage is any more difficult or challenging than within a same faith marriage. Do you think you might have a few moments to have a conversation with me about this?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,

Catriona Doyle. Assistant Producer. 4thought.tv

t: 028 9042 7646

e: catriona@waddellmedia.com

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Songs of Praise

I wonder if you can help?  I am researching an edition of the BBC “Songs of Praise” programme for transmission on September 11th this year.  The programme will reflect on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and will hopefully focus on how young people are working to create a better world for the future.   For that reason, the focus of our programme is very much on inter-faith relations.

I’m trying to find a personal story of a young Christian (aged under 30) and a young Muslim who have formed either a close friendship, or a marriage, to talk about their journey of getting to know each other and each other’s religion and culture.  We’re trying to illustrate that human relationships from different religious traditions, can grow, thrive and benefit all around them, but that sometimes it might involve hard work, dealing with prejudices, stereotypes, suspicions, etc. 

I wondered whether you have come across any such stories?

As we are a Christian programme we would particularly need the young Christian to be able to talk about his/her own personal faith and how God has played a part in the journey (ie they would need to have a real faith, as opposed to being just “culturally” Christian).

We’re hoping to speak to possible interviewees fairly soon (in the next week, hopefully!) as we need to film in late June/early July.

If there is any particular friendship or marriage which springs to mind, and you think the young people concerned would be willing to talk to me, perhaps you could let me know?

janis.knox@bbc.co.uk
BBC Religion & Ethics
Tel:          0161 244 3307
Address:  Room 5012, BBC North, New Broadcasting
House, Oxford Road, Manchester M60 1SJ
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Listings :

 

24 June 11.00 – 16.00 Minding the Gap? Caring, Faith and Diversity’  St Anthony of Padua Community Hall, 115 Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 7SS

A day workshop for professionals exploring : how is faith part of caring? How do we help across differences of faith and culture?

Speakers:Revd Rachel Weir, Helen & Douglas House;Ray Atwood, Oxford Christian Institute for Counselling;Imelda Ryan, Muslim Community Helpline;Rosalind Birtwistle, Inter Faith Marriage Network

We will be gathering resources for a toolkit of ideas to support working with families across differences of faith and culture

Forum members/concessions £10, standard delegates £25

http://christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/events/event-listing/559/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

25th June10am-5.00pm  A healing the self text-based workshop with Sheikha Halima Krausen ‘Self-destruction, Self-hate and humiliation’ :macro and micro consequences.   The Muslim College,

22 Creffield Road, Ealing, W5 3RP

(9.30am for registration and tea/coffee)

£30 incl lunch

Contact Humera Khan of an-Nisa’ societyhumerakh@hotmail.com

http://muslimcollege.ac.uk/News.htm

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Date: Wednesday September 7th 10:00– 16.00

Cross, Crescent and CoolA training day looking at how Christians and Muslims can

build bridges between young people of the two faiths

The Springfield Centre, Springfield Road, Moseley. Birmingham B13 9NY

Cost: £20 (£10 Concessions) which includes handouts, refreshments and a light lunch

Trainers: The day will be led by Raheema Caratella and Dr Andrew Smith

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Advanced notice

Inter Faith Week will take place this year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from Sunday 20 November until Saturday 26 November.  www.interfaithweek.org.uk

Scottish Inter Faith Week will take place from Sunday 27 November to Saturday 4 December.   fhume@scottishinterfaithcouncil.org

More Interfaith news at  http://www.interfaith.org.uk/ebulletin.htm

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

A US resource: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding has lots of interesting stuff including Gallup survey ‘Measuring the State of Muslim-West Relations: Assessing the “New Beginning”

http://acmcu.georgetown.edu/

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food for thought and the Arts :

 

Runnymede: Rather than multiculturalism, we should be talking about ‘interculturalism’

http://www.runnymedetrust.org/bulletin?utm_source=The+Runnymede+Trust&utm_campaign=ae43fcfd9f-Spring2011Bulletin&utm_medium=email

………………………………………………………..

I’m writing is to pass on a link to a Guardian article written by Safraz Manzoor – a lovely piece about his wife taking his surname. Lizzie

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/28/sarfraz-manzoor-wife-surname

………………………………………………………………………….

Muslim-Christian family background of youngest ever Orange prize for fiction winner:  Tea Obreht author of ‘The Tiger’s Wife’  was born in Belgrade in 1985. Her grandfather was a Slovenian Catholic, her grandmother is a Bosnian Muslim. Her mother was born in Sarajevo. In 1992, the four of them moved to Cyprus, then to Egypt where she started to learn English as a teenager and finally to the United States when she was 15. Here’s a bit more about her life and writing  and its Balkan inspiration, (thanks to ‘The Australian’, whose interview with her you can read here :  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/tea-obreht-like-a-tiger/story-e6frg8n6-1226045047319

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Faith Shorts: TBFF Global Film competition

 

Entries are open for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s global film competition, Faith Shorts. Young people between 14-18  are asked to answer the brief, “Let me show you how my faith inspires me”. Winners will have their films premiered at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in London. The deadline for film entries is 1 July. TBFF have just sent out 25 portable video cameras to young people who didn’t have any access to film making equipment to countries including Palestine, Sierra Leone, Nigeria the Philippines and Pakistan. Film ideas so far include a story of hope from a young boy in Egypt who witnessed Christians and Muslims uniting during the revolution and a Jordanian film which explores our obligations to help those in need from neighbouring countries. TBFF is keen for more UK entries. Go to www.faithshorts.org to find out more.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

COMPAS Photo Competition 2011 now launched

‘Traces of Belonging

For this year’s photography competition COMPAS is looking for images that reflect the theme of ‘Traces of Belonging’. We are particularly interested in images with a historical or social connotation that visually convey what it means to settle in a new place. Prizes: £300 and £150 for winning entries and £50 for 8 runners-up

Enter online by 13th October 2011 at: http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/events/photo-competition/


Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/publications/updates/

 

newsletter april 2011

Dear Friends

 

Welcome to the spring newsletter of the Muslim Christian marriage support group!

 

 

Here are a couple of dates :

 

Sunday May 8th    

our next couples’ support meeting,  at the usual venue in Southall, thanks as always to Michael Barnes’ hospitality.

All are welcome from 11.30 till 3.30 . Hope you can join us, RSVP if you can, by email or on 07958 184039 .

Here’s what someone who came to a meeting for the first time this February had to say about it:

 

‘ I’ve been in a relationship with a Muslim boy for three years.  I’m non Muslim and for the last two years have been looking into whether we can have  future together and especially whether we can we raise children together.  What religion will they be?  Can they be 2 religions?  Or parts or different religions? How would we both feel about this?  Will they just turn out to be really confused?  I’ve talked it over with various people over the years, friends, family and my boyfriend and looked a  lot on the internet but it came to the point where I really needed to meet real people who are living what could be my life one day.
So I went along to the meeting last weekend.  I was nervous!!  But I made myself stop sitting outside and seeing who was going in and go in myself!  And from there on it was easy! It was really informal and I liked the way you could say as much or as little as you liked. The people were really honest and friendly and when I heard one lady mention the children she had with her Muslim husband I wished I’d gone on that day 2 years ago when I started researching (worrying about!) the subject!!
I wasn’t naïve enough to think that I’d go to a meeting and come out with all the answers for the perfect future in a mixed faith relationship and I didn’t come out with those answers. I still have my worries/concerns/confusions. But what I did come out with was a more positive way of thinking about the future and the other peoples opinions and approaches made me think that a mixed faith marriage/upbringing for children can be just that; a positive.  Before I had focussed very much on the negatives, and the things that could go wrong.  As I said, I don’t have THE answer but I left with a sense that maybe these very confused children that I’d predicted me having could, on the other hand be open minded aware children with good moral teachings.
I will definitely be going to the next one…..and I might even let my boyfriend come with me this time!’

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Oxford Christian Muslim forum for families meetings:

 

Saturday May 21st

 

Faith, Change and Families.”

 

                    at 10.30-3.30 , includes lunch, refreshments and children’s activities. All are welcome.

Price is £10 per person, £5concessions and members of Christian Muslim Forum, some subsidised places available & children come for free.

 

 

Friday June 24th at 10- 4,   aimed especially at those who work with families.

 

These   workshops are built around paired conversations as Muslims and Christians think together about faith, diversity and change in families and communities.

 

Both take place at St Anthony of Padua Church Hall 115 Headley Way    Headington, Oxford OX3 7SS  http://www.communigate.co.uk/oxford/rcchurch/page8.phtml  entrance to John Radcliffe Hospital

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

Join us on Facebook !

Thanks to the technical skills of one of our members we now have a Facebook page for fans of the muslim christian and interfaith marriage support group.  Which you can access here . http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muslim-Christian-and-Interfaith-Marriage-Support/197079873647699#!/pages/Muslim-Christian-and-Interfaith-Marriage-Support/197079873647699

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Anyone have any Muslim Christian couple contacts in or near Geneva, Switzerland?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

London Scriptural Reasoning events –

 

Money debt and Justice

 A limited number of tickets are available from the Contextual Theology Centre for an event with Cambridge Interfaith Programme and Citizens UK.  On the morning of May 2nd, 150 Christians, Jews and Muslims will be reflecting on Biblical and Qu’ranic texts on money, debt and justice – before Citizens holds a 2000 person assembly to celebrate ten years of its Living Wage Campaign.  The Scriptural Reasoning event is at 11 for 11.30am at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. To book a place, email Angus Ritchie (director@theology-centre.org)

 

Plus Children of Abraham warmly invites all Scriptural Reasoners to a special reception and panel event on the occasion of Europe Day

Exploring themes from our religious texts and traditions on:  “Faith, Multiculturalism and Integration in Europe”

Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, Chair of the imams and rabbis charity Children of Abraham, Lecturer at Etz Chaim Yeshiva

Revd Jon Dal Din, Director of Westminster Interfaith (Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster)

Sheikh Dr Mohamed Elsharkawy, Dean of Al-Azhar College, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif together with a panel of UK and European political leaders and diplomats MONDAY 9 MAY AT 7.00PM

AZIZYE MOSQUE, 117-119 STOKE NEWINGTON ROAD, LONDON N16 8BU
(nearest station:  Dalston Kingsland) Halal, kosher and vegetarian refreshments provided.  To attend, please e-mail enquiries@childrenofabraham.org.uk

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Research on Happy marriages: what’s faith got to do with it?

 

Researching Moslem-Christian Marriages: Extrapolating from Mixed-faith Couples towards the Practices of ‘Convivencia’

by Abe Ata and Mark Furlong in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of family therapy which you can read here

http://www.anzjft.com/pages/contents_abstracts.php?id=110#979

http://www.anzjft.com/pages/articles/979.pdf

also from Australia,  an article from Prepare/Enrich on recent research on marital satisfaction amongst interfaith couples.

http://www.prepare-enrich.com.au/administrators/news1012.html

Answering the question Why do some interfaith marriages flourish when others don’t?

The study described which was published in American Journal of family therapy in 2007 (Parsons et al)  is based on other studies : in particular ideas about the development of mature identity and differentiation (becoming an adult with a sense of being separate from one’s parents) that can be traced back to therapist Erik Erikson.

The authors were looking to see whether it’s possible to predict marital satisfaction in interfaith marriages.

The study of 84 people seems to suggest that people who had achieved a clear sense of self in terms of  values and ethical thinking (including in their religious outlook) were more likely to have marital satisfaction in an interfaith marriage than people who hadn’t begun the process of thinking through values and beliefs for themselves rather than just following on from parents . Not surprising in itself perhaps, but what is maybe surprising is the suggestion that religiosity –how religious people were – didn’t seem to be a determining factor.

It’s complicated!   Does the research show that religious difference in and of itself doesn’t predict unhappy marriages, but the extent to which people were ‘identity achieved’ and ‘differentiated’ predicted happy ones?   I’ll leave you to judge for yourself!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

And a round-up of some websites which may interest you…

http://www.thestar.com/article/908455–finding-peace-in-palestine

A Christian-Muslim Palestinian family

 

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10643211755&topic=8147#topic_top

Discussion of Muslim Christian marriage on National Public Radio (USA)

 

 

http://www.mariage-et-religion.com/Mariages_A/le_mariage__inter_relig.htm#Turabi

One Imam’s contraversial fatwa on muslim women marrying non-muslims .

 

http://www.slate.com/id/2281117

Hanin Ghaddar a Shiite Muslim woman married to a Maronite Christian in Lebanon makes the case for secular government

 

 

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2004/09/19/leap-faith-taking-plunge-interreligious-marriage.html

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2005/04/24/son-mixed-marriage-speaks.html

News from Indonesia on mixed faith marriage and a new book

 

http://muxlim.com/blogs/GoatMilk/rep-anthony-weiner-d-queens-wed-huma-abedin-saturday-in-huntinto/

‘Goatmilk’  debate on mixed faith marriage. (USA) 

 

http://interfaithshaadi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=98:changing-landscape-of-muslims-in-america&Itemid=78&layout=default

Changing landscape of Muslims in America

 

 

 

With best wishes to you and all your family

 

newsletter january 2011

Dear Friends,

 

This is the first (short) muslim-christian marriage support group newsletter of 2011:   welcome!

First and foremost a  reminder that our next Southall meeting is on February 20th   11.30 -3.00 at the familiar venue in Southall. All are welcome, just RSVP so we know about numbers.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Also for those in the UK: We’ve been asked if any of us would anyone be interested in participating in the live filming this Sunday February 13th of ‘the Big Questions’  an ethical and current affairs debate programme aired on BBC1  at 10.00am Sunday mornings.

One of the topics being discussed  is interfaith relationships:  something like “Is it right to convert for love?”

If you have strong views or experience to bring to it the person to contact is Amanda Egbujo Producer The Big Questions Zone 3.23, 40 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1DA

0141 422 6006 – direct

07590 816 627 – mobile

aegbujo@mentorn.tv

amanda.egbujo@mentorn.com

or you can watch the programme!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Here are a few listings:

 

St Ethelburgas centre for reconciliation and peace in the City of London has a full diary of events exploring different kinds of dialogue and inter faith encounter :

www.stethelburgas.org

 

on March 17th 10-4 they are launching a guide to working with narrative and story-based approaches to community building. A day of workshops, talks, performances, sharing circles and networking for anyone interested in the power of narrative and story to build community. In the evening there will be a performance of The Family of Abraham/Ibrahim – A Spiritual Soap Opera.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Storytelling too at the London  Interfaith centre: a season of storytelling in Brent  starting with a what’s your story, story and narrative workshop 26th Feb 1-5pm

http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/events/event-listing/473

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Heythrop College, University of London is holding a  two day conference organised by the Centre for Eastern Christianity on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th March 2011
Eastern and Western Christian thought on Islam 10.00-5.00 http://www.heythrop.ac.uk/about-us/conferences-and-seminars/eastern-and-western-christian-thought-on-islam.html

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

News of A Common Word in Scotland and other Christian Muslim and interfaith intiatives by the Edinburgh interfaith association

http://www.eifa.org.uk/christianmuslim.html

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

A local Christian Muslim Forum group meets regularly from 2-4pm at the East Oxford Community centre in Oxford on the 3rd Saturday  of the month – on Saturday 15th April we’ll be discussing Faith,  Love and Marriage. info@christianmuslimforum.org

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

that’s all for now folks, but  please let me know of resources or events that may be of interest to other readers in your area and I will include them  .

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Featured Websites

 

http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html  Susie of Arabia

http://www.iffp.net/programs/sundayschool/SundaySchool.html  The Washington Interfaith families’ Project: interfaith Sunday schools for Jewish-Christian families.

What might be on a Christian-Muslim Sunday school curriculum?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

·         Do we as Muslim-Christian couples and families have anything to add to the multiculturalism debate? Can we show fair models of how our societies might avoid what some fear is ‘sleepwalking to segregation’ between different religious groups?
·

Andrew Brown of the Guardian says  that rather than shared values to bind together a mixed faith society we need to talk about shared myths. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2011/feb/08/cameron-multiculturalism-islam-values
what do you think are the sustaining ‘myths’ that we as mixed couples share or evolve together?
I think I would prefer to think of shared stories, shared experiences (the most important ones and the most ordinary ), shared relationships-with family friends, neighbours, colleagues , all this eventually coming to form a shared frame of reference and narrative for our lives. Do you agree with this description or am I being idealistic?

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muslim-Christian-marriage-support-group/133544260044343?created#!/pages/Muslim-Christian-marriage-support-group/133544260044343?v=wall

 

·         Best wishes to all of you and all your families
Hope to see you in Southall if you can make it,

newsletter december 2010

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to the last newsletter of 2010 of the Muslim-Christian marriage support group. Many thanks to all of you who have e-mailed, phoned, come to meetings and supported others over the year: you yourselves are an inspiration, and you really do make a difference.

We hope next year will bring blessings to you and your families,and we hope with your help   to continue to be there for people who live with both communities and faiths in their homes and relationships.

 

Since the last newsletter the Birmingham group has had its first meeting- there will be more – so if you’re in the Midlands and would like to be part of its future you are welcome to join.

Southall meetings have meanwhile gone from strength to strength, thanks in no small measure to our host Michael who makes us all feel at home, respected and safe.

Here’s what some of the people who were at the last meeting had to say about it:

 

“Thanks for the meeting on Sunday. It was great to know that I wasn’t alone in my situation, and to know that differences can be worked out if you really try. I am happy to know that people wish the best for me, rather than judge me as others have done.

 

To see how other work through their struggles really made me appreciate how good my family are in supporting me. That I would be able to find a church if I search hard enough who would accept me rather than criticise me or feel like I’m going against God.

I am very much looking forward to the next meeting. I will definitely be there and will certainly bring my partner if he is in the country!

If anyone is thinking of going but is unsure please know that it is a very friendly, informal and welcoming environment.  It is good just to know there r others out there! Good discussion topics, very relevant and helpful input from all.” G.I.L

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

“My wife and I have been coming for over a year now and we will continue doing so. We came like here, like many others looking to find an Imaam would perform the Nikha ceremony without my wife having to give up her faith and convert to Islam. We did not find an Imaam and to be honest it hasn’t affected our relationship one bit. We still love each other and talk to each other about how we feel and what we are concerned about. Together our marriage grows stronger and stronger. In a way we have been ‘lucky’ in that both families see us as their children, but this was not always the case. It took a while for my parents to accept my wife but I had some great help and support from my sisters.

 

Being in a mixed faith relationship is not going to be easy but then are any relationships easy!

 

Come along to the group and you will find that you are not alone. Eveyone who comes has a different story and experience to share. Some come on their own, as a family or as a couple and everybody is always welcomed and we are all here to listen to what you have to say. We are not here to judge. The group is a warm and safe place where everybody is free to share their story, experience and knowledge in being in a mixed faith relationship.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dates for your diary

 

Muslim-Christian marriage support Meetings in Southall  2011 :  Sunday February 20th 2011

                                                      And Sunday May 8th 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Wednesday 09 February 2011 the next in an interesting ongoing series of panel discussions on effective interfaith dialogue at the Dialogue society in London  http://www.dialoguesociety.org/

Making dialogue effective:  skills in dialogue cultivating effective listening and empathy.’     with panellists Justine Huxley, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace Lisa Cumming, Programme for a Peaceful City, University of Bradford and Dr Jill Adam, Executive Director, Level Partnerships;

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Plans for next year?

We are planning to develop our befriending service: with improved support for befrienders and some funded training for those who feel able to offer this kind of support to others.

We’d like to do more for the different generations in our families- a support group/befrienders for parents of couples ?  We would appreciate your ideas about whether ‘knowing they are not the only ones’ could help families adjust and cope with the changes involved for them.

In addition we want to explore how we can better address the needs of the next generation. If you are a parent raising children in a Muslim-christian relationship, – what would you like to see us do? Could you help us do it?

 

N. who is a mum of two in North London wrote ‘Unfortunately I cannot make it to the meetings but I would  welcome any contacts you have in North/ NW London. Perhaps we could set up a little group too!! I am especially interested in MC couples with primary school children. 

Let me know if you would like to be put in touch with her and help get this group going.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

A 24 year old asian woman in a mixed race relationship in the North west of UK – expecting a baby soon, would really like to talk to other asian muslim-background women who understand where she is coming from. Could you help?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

New London christian-muslim meet up group :

Imtiaz who some of you will know from Southall meetings is forming a new meetup group in London  for people like you !   Find out more about it here :

http://www.meetup.com/christianmuslims/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Congratulations to Chantal and Farhan on your recent wedding !

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Christmas is coming : Have you got your Muslim-Christian Christmas worked out and would like to be media stars this Christmas? We’ve had this  request from the Daily Mirror for a good news story-

“I am a reporter at the Daily Mirror and am interested in doing a positive human interest feature looking at a family with parents of different faiths and how they approach the Christmas period. The story would look the practical aspects for a family celebrating Christmas when one partner is Christian and the other Muslim. I am also interested in exploring issues around parenting and faith when mum and dad have different religions.  We would like to include a picture of the family in the article. The family would need to be able to spare just half an hour for a chat and picture.
Please contact me if you are interested on 07875 304 950 or tom.pettifor@mirror.co.uk
Thanks,
Tom Pettifor “

……………………………………………………………………..

And for those who may be still working on the details of a Muslim-Christian festive season, some seasonal tips, with thanks to the Salvation Army:

  • Seek to understand more about how your family and partnership works. Once you understand more about it (and the part that you play in it) it will be easier for you to objective about it. Emotional reactivity is not helpful.
  • Remember there are some things that, in the bigger scheme of things, are not worth making an issue of.
  • Avoid digging up the past.
  • Christmas may not be the best time to confront or expose problems. There may be better times and better ways to do that.
  • Be assertive about what you need, but not aggressive. Being assertive means that you can say what you need, think, feel and want, in a way that is respectful of the other person. Being assertive also means that you exercise choice over what you say and what you don’t say.
  • Plan together what is going to happen over the Christmas period and make sure both of you feel ok about what is happening. If either of you feels you have been dragged along with something that you really don’t want to be a part of, you are more likely to be resentful. It’s OK to give each other space and time out to be yourselves, participate in your own way.
  • Christmas is a time to look for the best in your family, friends and each other. Look and speak to the very best in them.
  • Laugh, dance, get lots of hugs, give lots of hugs and go to church (or let your partner go!) .  That way you won’t lose your perspective of what Christmas is meant to be about.
  • Learn from what’s been difficult: if you’ve felt excluded, or taken over, or disappointed or conflicted about difference to do with faith and culture in your shared life can you use the feeling to understand how your partner and others sometimes feel?    Through using this most valuable gift of empathy you become experts, not at fighting your corner, but at understanding and solving conflict.
  • Remember –every relationship and every family is a work in progress..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Christian Muslim forum has a  joint Muslim and Christian statement on Christmas

and on halal labelling .   You can also check out their ongoing programme of events up and down the country. http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/index.php/working-together/news/celebrating-christmas-confidently>

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

And finally here’s some very practical Christmas ideas from one of our Southall regulars :

“Having a halal christmas!

 

Christmas is a time for families to come together but this can generate all sorts of problems for interfaith couples not least of which is the issue of what food to prepare! My wife and I do celebrate Christmas but we want to have a celebration that’s fairly traditional but also as inclusive as possible.

 

This year we are going for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We’ve managed to source a supplier of free range halal turkey that delivers to our area. (www.surreyturkeys.co.uk.)

 

If you are interested in a halal turkey and live further away you may want to check with your local halal butcher as they sometimes take orders for turkey over the festive season. I previously ordered a turkey from The Turkish Food Company (TFC) who have a number of outlets around the UK (www.tfcsupermarkets.com)

As an alternative how about a leg of lamb, roast beef or duck? Once again check with your local halal butchers but a reputable company that does UK wide delivery is Abraham Natural Produce (www.organic-halal-meat.com/). Our local Chinese supermarket (Wing Yip in Croydon) stock frozen halal duck from germany and another of our favourite shops in South London (Freezeland in Tooting) sell halal smoked turkey rashers and beef cocktail sausages (along with just about everything else you could want) so its useful to keep your eyes peeled!

 

On to our menu! We have decided on a menu that reflects our cultural backgrounds and those of our guests too. So we’ll be having Indian samosa starters, halal English turkey with vegetarian stuffing and roast potatoes, German swabian noodles and red cabbage, followed by Polish cheesecake for dessert and a selection of Scottish cheeses and oatcakes afterward. A truly inter-cultural christmas. We cant wait! “

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

And finally thanks to Shereen for this last item. An inspiring  story about goodness and humanity that challenges stereotypes about honour codes :

Holocaust’s untold heroes:
Their story is rarely told, but Albanian Muslims took in fleeing Jews during World War II, saving thousands of lives. Norman Gershman is an American Jewish photographer who has documented the history of Muslims in Albania and the Jews they saved in a remarkable book, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II. With collaborator Stuart Huck he has also produced a 90-minute documentary about the heroism of Albanian Muslims. people who at great personal risk sheltered Jews and protected them in their homes and did so out of a religious obligation. While Besa is an Albanian word, it is seen as part of Islamic culture and teachings.  Besa is an ancient code which requires people to endanger their own lives if necessary to save the life of anyone seeking asylum. To this day, Besa is the highest moral law of the region, superseding religious differences, blood feuds, and even tribal traditions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y61RAP4joWU
  Wishing you and your family  a happy and peaceful festive season

newsletter october 2010

Dear Friends,

This is the muslim-christian marriage support newsletter for October. Hope you and your families are all well. There’s a lot coming up in the interfaith calendar at this time of year, so hope some of it is of interest to you.  To find out about Interfaith week events in your area check out http://www.interfaithweek.org/

 

In particular we have these dates for your diary:

Sunday 21st November launch of the Birmingham interfaith couples group 2-5pm

Sunday 5th December Southall Muslim-Christian marriage support group meeting.  11.3—3.00

You are very welcome to join us at either of these.  RSVP for more details.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

News from the group:

Congratulations on getting married to Sarfraz and Bridget, whom some of you met in Southall last year.    Sarfraz is a journalist and did a moving and honest piece about his family’s response to it in the Guardian which finished up on a hopeful note: ‘ The day after the wedding I rang my mother. “Everyone was so friendly,” she enthused. “The food was so good too. I had a very nice time.” I don’t yet know whether my family will, in the end, come to love [my wife] as I do. …. I know that, when I asked my mother how she felt after the wedding and whether it had changed anything, she said simply, “The anger has gone.” And I know that once the anger has departed, there is always a hope that love and acceptance can take its place.

You can read the whole article here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/29/family-boycott-wedding-day

 Sarfraz Manzoor’s essay White Girls is featured in Granta 112: Pakistan,which is just out

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I am contacting you about a new oral history collecting project which I am working on at the Museum of London called Mixed, which aims to record the personal narratives of people who work or live in who have a mixed cultural heritage

The main focus will be in-depth interviews collected through the use oral history methods to document the experiences of the participants, and to consider how far this mirrors attitudes towards communities, race and identity.. It would also look at the particular contribution that this group has had to the shaping of the cultural diversity of modern London and how people of mixed heritage cut across cultures, religions, regions, nationalities, histories and ethnicities.

Mixed will provide an opportunity to give a voice to people of mixed or dual heritage who have been marginalised in society, whose stories have not been documented or made publicly known and who are unrepresented in all the Museum’s collections.

We hope that the new material which is collected, will also offer a platform to consider the rich and varied contributions of people of mixed and multiple heritage to London’s diversity over the past 60 years.

I am approaching you as I wondered whether you would be willing to take part in the project? Or perhaps you might know of others who would be?

I would be very interested in speaking to you about your experience of being from a mixed or bi racial background and learning about how this has informed your everyday experience, your identity and your work.

I would be very keen in speaking to you further, and hope that you are interested and will email me or phone me on 0207 814 5756 (Mon- Weds)

Warm wishes

Sarah Gudgin Curator Oral History and Contemporary Collecting

sgudgin@museumoflondon.org.uk

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Birmingham Half Marathon 2010 – Sunday 24 October

 

When I started training for the half marathon back in January, 21km didn’t seem a particularly great distance.  With just over 2 weeks to go before the race, it appears quite daunting.  The major incentive to complete the race, however, will be the money I hope to raise for two worthy causes.

 

I would be extremely grateful if you felt able to contribute to either (or both) of my chosen charities, the DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal and The Camphill Village Trust.  I have set up pages on the JustGiving website at http://www.justgiving.com/acurrah and http://www.justgiving.com/acurrah2 which allow secure and speedy donations to be made to the respective causes.  There are links on each page to the other page (the website allows giving to only one charity per page) as well as further details about the charities.

 

I recognise the other demands on our charitable giving, and understand (and apologise for troubling you) if the timing is not right or this is just not for you.

Thank you for your support.

Andrew

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Oxford Christian-Muslim forum family group meets the third Saturday every month at 2pm East Oxford Community centre.  (Mixed couples welcome)

November 20th. Christian and Muslim parents and schools. Sign up via www.christianmuslimforum.org

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ilse asked me to circulate this: sorry it’s a bit late but good to know about it- wish we could join you in Istanbul!

Invitation to European URI Assembly in Istanbul/Turkey

 

“WALKING THE TALK -BRINGING INTERFAITH ACTION TO EACH TOWN IN EUROPE”

 

October 27-31, 2010

Dear Interfaith friend,

it is with great joy that we invite you to the upcoming European URI Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, October 27-31, 2010.

URI Europe (United Religions Initiative Europe) wants to expand its network of interfaith circles which work across Europe for promoting peace, justice and healing. Therefore we will be happy and honoured to welcome approx. 50 interfaith activists from European countries who want to join up and help. The URI Europe Assembly will have the title “Walking the Talk – Bringing Interfaith Action to Each Town in Europe” and will take place at the Artemis Marin Princess Hotel, located on the seaside in Kumburgaz, near Istanbul.

You are cordially invited!  –

We are looking forward to bringing together

a)        new interfaith activists who want to start their own interfaith group as well as

b)        outstanding long-term interfaith leaders of URI CCs or other interfaith groups, experts in their respective fields, who are prepared to seed and mentor new interfaith groups.

The aim of the conference is to help the foundation of new interfaith groups, which will enhance the work for peace, justice and healing in Europe. For this purpose participants will receive training and coaching by distinguished experts in the interfaith field. The new interfaith groups will be able to benefit from URI as a vibrant worldwide peace network of currently over 400 organisations and groups in 75 countries worldwide

(Europe: 30 groups/organisations in 14 countries) and at the same time enrich the network.

Following this aim there will be two conference tracks:

 

*            one for new interfaith activists who want to found their own interfaith group – they will receive training by experts, guidance, tools and coaching while moving forward, so that they can pursue their ideas efficiently and successfully,

*            the other track is for expert members of strong URI interfaith groups (or other strong interfaith groups new to URI), who are prepared to seed/support new interfaith groups and activists, share their knowledge and experiences and act as coaches and mentors.

 

Participants are asked to submit your idea how to form a new interfaith circle with your application.

URI is able to give some financial support for selected participants who would otherwise be unable to attend. A selection committee will meet on an ongoing basis and make the selection based on the ideas for founding new interfaith groups and the applicant’s profile.

You can also download the materials under the following links:

<http://www.uri-europe.eu/docsfordownload/invitation-istanbul.pdf>

http://www.uri-europe.eu/docsfordownload/invitation-istanbul.pdf and <http://www.uri-europe.eu/docsfordownload/Application-URI-Istanbul.doc>

http://www.uri-europe.eu/docsfordownload/Application-URI-Istanbul.doc

As October is around the corner, please apply immediately, by sending your registration form to Aminah Bach (info @ birgitbach.de), so that your place can be secured. The space is limited to approx. 50 participants. We will inform you as soon as your application is accepted, so that you can book your flights. Earlier applications will be given priority in the selection process.

The regular cost is EUR 350,- in a single room and EUR 250,- in a twin room / double room per person. This price includes four overnight stays, all meals and coffee breaks and the conference fee (Wednesday evening till Sunday lunch).

 

Note: URI Europe has limited funds in order to financially support active interfaith leaders who would be otherwise unable to attend.

Istanbul is a special place, as it is located on two continents, bridging Asia and Europe. It is a European Cultural Capital 2010. It is the perfect location for coming together for exchange, inspiration, mutual learning and forward planning. We are convinced it will be an inspiring and enriching event. Please join us. It will be a joy meeting you in Istanbul!

Best wishes to you,

Patrick Hanjoul, URI Europe President, Antwerp, Belgium – Karimah Stauch, URI Europe Coordinator, Bonn, Germany -Semsettin Türkan, SIRF CC, Ankara, Turkey -Deepak Naik, Conference Programme Manager, Minorities of Europe CC, Coventry, UK -Louis Mentens, URI Europe Treasurer, Belgium Kiran Bali, Faiths2Faiths CC, United Kingdom – Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, DMLBonn CC / URI Germany CC, Germany – Martin Gurvich, Convictions in Dialogue CC, Belgium – Elisabeth Lheure, UNESCOCat CC, Catalonia/Spain – Patrick Nickisch, URI Global Youth Ambassador, Hungary/Germany

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

I am a member of the national Christian Muslim Forum which yesterday launched a new website http://www.myxencounter.org. One of the main aims of the Christian Muslim Forum is to work with young people, we have therefore produced this website which contains useful videos, training sessions and ideas for young people and youth leaders. We aim to use the website to:

·         Train leaders

·         Inspire and encourage young people, their parents and religious leaders

·         Create a national network of ‘MYX’ groups bringing together Christian and Muslim young people to learn about each other, build relationships and do practical things together

Please visit the website, have a look and:

·         Get in touch for some training yourself on one of our ‘Cross, Crescent and Cool’ courses

·         Share it with young people in your area

·         Forward this message to interested friends

·         Ask for more information, either through me (Heather) or with the Christian Muslim Forum

www.myxencounter.org

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hello,

 

My name is Naomi Riley. I’m a former Wall Street Journal reporter working on a book about interfaith marriage in America. I completed a large national survey this summer about attitudes toward interfaith marriage and this fall I’ll be traveling the country, interviewing couples, religious leaders, marriage counselors and others about the subject. I saw your website and I was wondering if you could help me find some couples in Muslim-Christian marriages to interview either over the phone or in person.  I would like to ask some basic questions about religious practice, how couples have decided to raise their children and just find out generally about the challenges and rewards of interfaith marriage. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Sincerely,

Naomi Riley

naomisriley@gmail.com

www.naomiriley.com

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

God and Community Cohesion – Help or Hindrance?

TUESDAY, 09 NOVEMBER 2010 18:45

Where: Dialogue Society, London
With Canon Dr Alan Billings

http://www.dialoguesociety.org

The dialogue society founded by British Muslims of Turkish background

Telefon+90 212 885 90 00

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Centre for Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue with the Committee for Relations with Other Religions (Catholic Bishops’ Conference)

Wednesday 10th November Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN

Meeting God in Friend and Stranger: Reflecting on the 2010 teaching document of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales on interreligious dialogue (includes section on interfaith marriage) .

11.00am- 5.00pm Arrivals from 10.30 am. This day is open to all and there is no charge, but please

email the Director, if you wish to attend: m.ganeri@heythrop.ac.uk. Refreshments

and lunch will be provided, for which a £5 donation will be requested.

Speakers: include Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Chair of Committee for Relations with Other Religions, Catholic Bishops’ Conference, England and Wales.

Dr Martin Ganeri O.P, Director CCID, Heythrop College (Catholic Church)

Revd Canon Guy Wilkinson, Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Interfaith Affairs (Church of England)

Dr Jonathan Gorsky, Lecturer in Judaism, Heythrop College (Judaism)

Dr Jabal Buaben, Lecturer in Islam, University of Birmingham (Islam)

Mr Ramesh Pattni, Chair of Hindu Forum U.K. (Hinduism)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Salaam Arts Festival: Inspiring Women’s Talents

Saturday 20 November  The New Art Gallery Walsall 11am – 4pm

Salaam Arts Festival: Inspiring Women’s Talents is a unique event showcasing the artistic talents of Muslim women and young people and their contribution to the British cultural life. This free event will include visual arts workshops, talks, displays, spoken word performances and an art market. IWT has been deployed by The New Art Gallery Walsall in partnership with Mosaic, a HRH Prince of Wales charity. The event is also being supported by a wide range of grassroots organisations and womens groups including Hear My Voice, Muslim Women’s Network UK, Surestart and the local education authority.

One of the key aims of the event is to identify and nurture creative and artistic talent amongst women, young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.  We will be conducting workshops, activities and seminars to support emerging artists as well as encouraging and supporting more well known and established artists. The Gallery will be transformed into specialised zones – a souk for amateur, semi/professional artists to display and market their work, a theatre space for performances and activity rooms where members of the public can try their hand at a new medium with the supervision of experienced arts professional.

For further information, please contact Ioannis Ioannou, Audience Development Curator, on 01922 654404 or email ioannoui@walsall.gov.uk

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Inter-Faith Committee of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Council [MINAB] would like to invite you to a symposium to be held as part of Inter-Faith Week on Sunday 21st November 2011 at the Islamic Cultural Centre, Regents Park Mosque, from 1:00pm to 4:30pm.

 

We hope the event will bring together faith leaders, activists and laypersons from all faith and no faith communities in the spirit of sharing and exchanging ideas and concerns in a mutually respectful environment to discuss a matter of concern to us all.

 

The focus of the evening will be a brief presentation on ‘Faith and Phobia in modern Britain’ (Click on the links for further details) by Fuad Nahdi, Director of the Radical Middle Way and Member of the Executive Board of MINAB. This would be followed by a response from four faith leaders including Revd Canon Guy Wilkinson (Christian), Mr Sanjay Jagatia (Hindu), Rabbi David Hulbert (Jewish) and Dr Inderjeet Singh (Sikh).
There will be an opportunity for participants to be involved in the deliberations. Refreshments will be provided.

 

To confirm attendance or for more information please RSVP secretary@iccuk.org or telephone Siddika on 020-7725-2223.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Books:

 

Sharing Mary, Bible and Qur’an Side by Side. by Marlies ter Borg

The book is available via Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sharing-Mary-Bible-Quran-Side/dp/1451583133/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279790148&sr=1-7

 

‘A balanced and non-partial anthology, symbolized on the front cover by Mary, revered as mother of Jesus, both in Christianity and Islam. Presented Side-by-Side: All the figures Bible and Qur’an have in common: Adam – Noah – Abraham – Joseph – Moses – David – Solomon- Job – Jonah- Zachariah – John- Jesus. The stories from Creation to Judgment Day, Heaven and Hell. Controversial topics, – women, war and violence. Shared human values and attributes of God and Allah. The book is non partial and balanced in its careful selection of verses from Bible and Qur’an and in the choice of contributors, both from a Muslim, Christian and secular background. Compiled by Dutch philosopher Dr Marlies ter Borg With reflections by Prof. Khaled Abou el Fadl, UCLA An introduction by Prof. Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria, Canada Prof. Mehmet Pacaci, Muslim, Turkey Prof. Barbara Stowasser, secular, USA Prof. Herman Beck, Christian, the Netherlands Prof. Martha Frederiks, Christian, the Netherlands Dr. Moch Nur Ichwan, Muslim Indonesia Karin Bisschop, New Muslim, Canada NO CONCLUSIONS! The book invites readers to draw their own conclusions.. “A timely, unique and astonishing anthology, both because of its organization and presentation and because no one thought to do this before!” John Esposito

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Becoming the Other, Being Oneself: Constructing Identities in a Connected World by  Iain Walker
The island of Ngazidja lies at the southern end of the monsoon wind system and its inhabitants, the Wangazidja, have participated in the trading networks of the Indian Ocean for two millennia. The enduring contacts between the Wangazidja and their trading partners have subjected them to a variety of social and cultural influences—from the Swahili coast, from the African hinterland, from the Arabian peninsula, from Indonesia and, more recently, from Europe.

This is an academic book exploring the idea of authenticity in the culture of an island  community which has been constantly in contact with and influenced by other cultures , At its heart is an anthropological study of a cross-cultural wedding which you can read about in this link .

http://www.c-s-p.org/Flyers/Becoming-the-Other–Being-Oneself–Constructing-Identities-in-a-Connected-World1-4438-2337-6.htm

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

An African Answer`: the Spirituality and practice of Christian – Muslim Interfaith Peacebuilding

This is the Oxford premiere of the new documentary on the peacemaking methodology of `the Imam and the Pastor` from Kaduna, northern Nigeria, James Wuye and Mohammed Asafa. Made in Kenya during the post-election violence, this film is aimed both at a general audience and to train grassroots peacebuilders. Voice-over by Rageh Omar. Pastor James and Imam Asafa will personally introduce the film and lead discussion The UK launch of An African Answer will take place 8-12 November, in the presence of the film’s protagonists Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, film director Dr Alan Channer and producer Dr Imad Karam.

 

The UK premiere will be at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), London at 6.30pm on Tuesday 9 November. It will be chaired by Sir Richard Jolly, former Assistant General Secretary of the United Nations, who is Honorary Professor and Research Associate of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

 

The first screening for the general public will be at Friends House, Euston, at 7pm on Friday 12 November. Private screenings will also be held at St John’s College, Oxford University and Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution, Rochester – where Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye will facilitate a workshop with inmates on tackling gang violence.

 

An African Answer depicts a dramatic bid by Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa – former militia leaders turned peace-makers from Nigeria – to bring reconciliation in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, following communal killings. It is filmed in the district of Kenya worst hit by the post-election violence of early 2008, when around 1000 people were killed and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes and farms.

 

Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, describes it as ‘A very important film. We need to learn, indeed, from Imam Ashafa and Pastor James’ says Annan, ‘and multiply in a thousand places their experiences of healing and reconciliation.’

 

An African Answer is available on DVD from FLTfilms, price £15.99 (inc p&p)

Tel – 020 7798 6020   www.fltfilms.org.uk

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

St Ethelburga’s is hosting ‘An Evangelical-Muslim Dialogue’ on Tuesday 23rd November at 7.30pm. Dr Chawkat Moucarry and Rashad Ali will be in conversation. www.stethelburgas.org  for more details.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

In Reading, Churches Together in Berkshire are hosting a Youth Inter-Faith Conference on Thursday 25th November from 5.30 until 9.00pm. Dr Eleanor Nesbitt is the keynote speaker at ‘Who Am I? Religious Identity and Young People’. Venue is Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading RG1 2SB. emailctberks@btconnect.com or call Richard Christopher 0118 966 850 for more details.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Getting through the conflict of certainty trap

 

At our September Southall meeting we had a really interesting discussion around the topic of authenticity.   It set me thinking about how much  ‘authenticity’, being true to ourselves  matters in mixed faith relationships. Often right from the start of a relationship it’s the feeling people say convinced them this was ‘it’- the right choice for them.

But most of us also experience times when our need and desire to  be authentic brings us right up against our partner’s similar need. Whether it’s about one or both of us bring true in a particular way to what our religion teaches, or is ‘just’ about culture in some aspect of daily life, the  close-up nature of relationships can sometimes make compromise with a partner’s difference feel like being asked to sacrifice who we are and who we really believe we should be.

It isn’t only mixed couples that sometimes need to find a route through their conflicting certainties, in fact it isn’t only couples – struggles over ‘authenticity’ between children and parents can be just as heartfelt.

 

Is religion itself to blame  for making otherwise reasonable people inflexible and intolerant?   , It may look like that from the outside but as the Qura’n teaches (2:256) La Iqrar fi’ ddinn, there can be no external compulsion in belief : the need to feel authentic and ‘in line’ with what we value and take seriously comes from us ourselves, it’s a basic part of who we both are and both need to take account of in each other if the relationship is to flourish and help us flourish as people.

 

So how do we deal as couples with those moments and issues when they occur and what advice would we give to others when they find themselves in a bit of a certainty trap? How do we construct a path of compromise, but one that doesn’t do damage to either partner’s authenticity ?

 

I came up with a few ideas in answer to that question. Would you like to add to them?

 

  • Let time do its work: the great thing about long term relationships is that we have time to adjust to change and get to feel at home living alongside what was unfamiliar or strange about each other. The issues that worry us will also change.  Sometimes it makes sense to “let go and let God” and take the long view.

 

  • Make space for both of us to do our own thing in terms of religion and other areas of life. Changing routines a bit, being spontaneous, can allow different moods and perspectives to surface.

 

  • Be with other people as well as each other. Even family and community gatherings can give  a couple ‘time- out’ whilst still feeling pleasantly connected to each other- such as when males and females in a family or friendship group socialise in separate spaces.   (and it’s not only in Muslim families this happens believe me!)  We all need both distance and closeness.

 

  • Not every low point in the relationship is a failure, when you think about what you have learned through it about how you interact, what’s fair and what’s not and how you might do ‘the steps in the dance’ slightly differently next time.

 

  • Get in the habit of sometimes really listening to each other without interrupting.

 

  • Pay attention to all the messages we are giving: most of the communication that goes on in a relationship is not in words at all.

 

  • Talk about the ways our relationship already helps us feel ‘at home’ and safe but also the ways in which it is flexible enough for us not to tread on each others’ toes.

 

  • Pay attention to the context we’re living in: if either of us feels we have our back to the wall, feels humiliated or lonely then it’s more likely we’ll want to take a particularly strict  line on protecting identity and authenticity.  In a couple this can often elicit a similarly defensive response.     Are there small changes in context that might help soften us both and relieve the  need for quite such defensive rules and boundaries?

 

  • Allies: seek out other people who are on the side of our partnership: amongst family, friends, other couples. We all need a net.

 

  • Remember that blame may sometimes be very satisfying but it’s not that useful !

 

  • Celebrate breakthroughs and connections:  our ‘star moments’.  (thankyou Caroline for that phrase!)   These are a reward and a gift and maybe  the gift mixed couples bring to the world in general.

 

  • Make each other welcome and recognise when we are welcomed.

 

  • Respect each other as human beings

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much to all of you for your news, wisdom and community.  You are a very special bunch of people

Hafizkum Allah  love to all and to your families

And if you can,  see you in Southall or Brum