Inter Faith Week 2016 - Starts this Sunday across the UK
Inter Faith Week, now in its eighth year, begins this Sunday, 13 November.
It has become a firm fixture in the national calendar and its growing significance reflects the diversity of our society and the great importance of understanding each other and living well together. It is a Week that is about learning, respect, cooperation, new friendships and stronger communities.
Hundreds of events and activities will be happening and thousands of people of different faiths and beliefs will be taking part. The Week aims to:
- Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels
- Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
- Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
A wide range of organisations will be taking part, from faith groups, inter faith bodies, and belief groups to schools, youth organisations, universities, hospitals, police forces, football clubs, museums and libraries, businesses and many more. Activities can be viewed on a map at www.interfaithweek.org/map
This year, Inter Faith Week begins on Remembrance Sunday and is encouraging people of different backgrounds to mark it together, particularly at this time of commemorating World War 1 in which soldiers of many faiths from the UK and what became the Commonwealth countries served. There will be a number of Inter Faith Week multi faith remembrance events taking place.
Inter Faith Week is led by the Inter Faith Network for the UK which works to promote inter faith cooperation and understanding in the UK.
IFN Co-Chairs, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson and Jatinder Singh Birdi, say:
“In all the nations of the UK this coming Week an amazing array of events will be taking place to showcase the way in which faith and belief groups are making their contribution to the wellbeing of their areas and to strengthen inter faith understanding and cooperation. The Inter Faith Network for the UK works year round, with its member bodies and others, to promote good inter faith relations. However, this annual Week helps to shine a light on this ever more vital area of activity that both enriches us and helps us live well together as a society.”
In a message about the Week, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Inter Faith Week is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the incredible diversity and richness of faith communities in Britain. It is also a chance for people of all faiths to come together and to highlight the invaluable contribution they collectively make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society.”
Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid MP says:
“Inter Faith Week is all about bringing people together to help improve understanding of different faiths and share what we have in common. I hope lots of people will get involved and celebrate the different faiths that make up British life.”
Social media users are being encouraged to use the hashtag #IFWeek in tweets/posts about the Week as well as to post photos, quotes and ideas linked to the aims of the Week using the hashtag #LivingWellTogether. ‘Living Well Together’ has been a thread running through Inter Faith Week since 2011. Background information about this can be found at www.interfaithweek.org/LWT
This press release is accompanied by a short ‘taster’ of some of the events due to take place.
Scottish Interfaith Week, which has taken place since 2004, is taking place on the same dates as the Week in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
- The Inter Faith Week website carries more information and resources: www.interfaithweek.org/toolkit
- The Inter Faith Network office is happy to assist media with enquiries about the Week: 020 7730 0410 and Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (www.interfaith.org.uk) It leads on the Week working with the Inter-faith Council for Wales (http://interfaithwales.org.uk), and the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum (http://niinterfaithforum.org) in relation to Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Inter Faith Week has its own Twitter account www.twitter.com/IFWeek and Facebook page www.facebook.com/IFWeek
- Inter Faith Week was established in England and Wales in 2009, and in Northern Ireland in 2010. Scottish Inter Faith Week has taken place since 2004 and is led by Interfaith Scotland (www.interfaithscotland.org). The dates of the Week are the same and events for all the four nations are included this year on the map on the Inter Faith Week website: www.interfaithweek.org/map
- Sunday 27 November will be Mitzvah Day (www.mitzvahday.org.uk) - a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities. Many events are being jointly held to mark both Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day and some of these will be taking place early, during the Week.
- The Inter Faith Network for the UK was founded in 1987. It links in membership nearly 200 organisations including national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith organisations; and educational and academic bodies with a focus on in inter faith or multi-faith issues. Its Co-Chairs are the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE and Jatinder Singh Birdi.
- The work of IFN is supported by faith communities, the Department for Communities and Local Government, trusts, and other donors.