Press release: inter faith week 2023 – thousands take part in activities building inter faith cooperation and understanding
Thousands of people of different backgrounds and all ages took part in the 15th Inter Faith Week, which ended on Sunday 19 November. Millions more have encountered its positive messages through social media.
The Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, which leads on the Week, said:
“Inter Faith Week has become an increasingly important fixture in the public calendar. Across the last week, hundreds of activities have taken place which have helped to highlight and encourage understanding about different faiths and beliefs; strengthen good inter faith relations and social cooperation for the common good.
With concern about tensions and a rise in antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate incidents in the UK, very welcome was the conversation of HM The King with faith leaders and community representatives at an Inter Faith Week reception for him hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. A number of those who held activities to mark the Week have commented on the particular importance of coming together at this time.”
The Revd Canon Hilary Barber and Mr Narendra Waghela
The Week was established by the Inter Faith Network for the UK 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; and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.
More than 500 activities are already known to have taken place across the last week as part of the Week. Churches, gurdwaras, mandirs, mosques, synagogues, temples, viharas, schools, colleges and universities, sports clubs, council chambers, museums, galleries, libraries, community centres, hospitals, hospices, workplaces, historic monuments, local cafes, outdoor spaces such as woodlands, and online platforms have been the location of an amazing range of activities.
Activities included celebrations; faith trails; cultural activities; dialogues; volunteering to help local communities; Remembrance events; conferences and talks; tree plantings and litter picks; classroom activities; theatre productions and film showings; faith festival events (this year’s Week was at the same time as Diwali); poetry readings; food festivals; sports tournaments; events linked to both Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day; programmes picking up the Week such as Radio 2’s Pause for Thought during the Week; and more. A sample of the activities can be seen here.
Inter Faith Week is supported by the UK’s faith communities. Religious leaders from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Sikh, Spiritualist, and Zoroastrian communities shared messages for it. Humanists and others of non-religious beliefs also took part in the Week.
- Enquiries: IFN office: 020 7730 0410 email@example.com
- More information about Inter Faith Week: http://www.interfaithweek.org
- Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN) www.interfaith.org.uk, a charity which has been working since 1987 to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK.
- IFN works in consultation with the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum and the Inter-faith Council for Wales/Cyngor Rhyngffydd Cymru in relation to the Week in those nations.
- Scottish Interfaith Week, which takes place at the same time as Inter Faith Week, is led by Interfaith Scotland (http://www.interfaithscotland.org). It has its own dedicated website at: http://www.scottishinterfaithweek.org. SIFW has run since 2004 and was the inspiration for Inter Faith Week.
- The final Sunday of Inter Faith Week is also Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities (https://mitzvahday.org.uk). Each year, many ‘Inter Faith Mitzvah Day’ activities take place to jointly mark Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day.
- November is also Islamophobia Awareness Month, and some activities were jointly held to mark both Islamophobia Awareness Month and Inter Faith Week. https://www.islamophobia-awareness.org
- As of 21 November, more than 500 activities are known to have taken place. A significant number of further activities are usually identified after the week through online reports and numbers are finalised in January.