Sport is increasingly seen as being a good way to bring people of different faiths and beliefs together, and a number of Inter Faith Week events reflected this.
Many events were organised that brought people together to enjoy each other’s company and learn from one another through sport. Such events were organised by local inter faith groups, sports clubs, charities such as Sporting Equals and The Feast, university students’ unions or faith and belief societies as well as faith communities.
Sports played during Inter Faith Week included Badminton, Netball, Swimming, Football, Volleyball, Dodgeball and Tennis. These events showed that great potential exists for sporting events to grow as part of future Inter Faith Week programmes, and that sport is a good way of fostering community cohesion and mutual respect between people of different faiths.
Examples of sporting events during Inter Faith Week included:
- A multi-faith football tournament at the Beap Centre in Bradford organised by Sporting Equals and the Shapla Sports Initiative. The event provided an opportunity to play football, meet new people and learn about each other’s faiths.
- A sports evening in Norwich organised by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The evening included basketball, volleyball, football and tennis as well as refreshments where there was an opportunity for dialogue and discussion.
- An ‘Inter-School’ challenge in Birmingham organised by The Feast, which aimed to promote inter faith dialogue between school-aged young people through sport. Four schools in the Birmingham area took part, and students played a range of games and shared food together. The event included discussions among students about what faiths means to them, and ways to engage with other faiths.
- The ‘Interfaith Dodgeball’ competition organised by Leeds University Student Union to conclude a wider programme of Inter Faith Week events. The event was attended by members of a range of university faith and belief societies and others, and provided an opportunity to spend time with people of different faiths in a relaxed and informal environment.
- Throughout Inter Faith Week, De Montfort University Leicester organised afternoons of sport enabling students to meet others of different faiths and beliefs, as well as providing an opportunity to try a new sport, which included badminton, swimming, volleyball, football and netball.
- Men’s football and ladies’ tennis events at the Shree Swaminarayan Satsang complex in Stanmore, organised by Sporting Equals as part of their Inter Faith Week programme.
To see sporting events and activities that took place as part of Scottish Interfaith Week visit http://www.interfaithscotland.org/scottish-interfaith-week/.
Published 17 January 2017