Our doors are open! Inter Faith Week 2016

Our doors are open! Inter Faith Week 2016

screenshot-27On the UN International Day of Peace this year LBFN launched #LondonIsOpen for religion. We are promoting this message over Inter Faith Week as a means to harness and share our collective energies across London, both in individual faith communities and inter-faith activities. It would be absolutely wonderful if you would join us.

screenshot-80With endorsement from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, as part of his #LondonIsOpen campaign and the United Nations Association, we have made a short 2 minute video to share the message that London is Open for faith, cultural and religious difference.

Here is a link to our film: https://youtu.be/bExx8ZzfAnw

screenshot-47Please share it across your social media platforms, and also as part of any events that you are doing. Participating screenings include religious buildings across London, from Wimbledon to Neasden, inter-faith events and the United Nations Association film festival, www.wethepeoples.org.uk.

screenshot-35We are sharing our events, building ties and promoting our activities during Inter Faith Week. We hope this short film will be a catalyst for conversation amongst us, as well as a strong signal to Londoners, including those who may be surprised by this message.

screenshot-52The epigraph to a conference paper Rosalind Parker (who made the film) wrote in 2011 on aesthetics and British Muslim identity in the wake of terrorist attacks and widespread Islamophobia is quoted below. We regret to say it still feels pertinent in the current climate.

screenshot-45Never has it been more important to open up the rivers of words, ideas, knowledge and beauty that have criss-crossed for centuries between the notional East and West . . . As the skies darken, some hope the arts can make the hard lines dissolve.  Alibhai-Brown (2006)

screenshot-56Please do join us, and feel free to contact rosalindparker00@gmail.com or Catriona Robertson on convener@lbfn.org for any other information or discussion.

Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

londonisopen-21-septJoin the London Peace Network, artists, film-makers and religious leaders at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square for the premiere of a new short film, followed by a peace breakfast to mark the UN International Day of Peace.

Register here by 20 September to join us on Wednesday 21 September 8am – 9am.  Download the flyer.

The film shows London places of worship open and welcoming and is the first in a series of short films and events.

The film will be shown at Southwark Cathedral on 1 October in the presence of the Mayor of London, who initiated the #LondonIsOpen campaign.

We look forward to seeing you!

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Our Patron, Lord Bates, has completed his Walk for Peace.  With the support of Lady Xuelin, he has walked 3,000 km from Buenos Aires to Rio, arriving in time for the opening of Rio2016.

The Walks for Peace raise awareness of the Olympic Truce, a UN-mandated break in war and conflict from 7 days before the Olympic Games until 7 days after the Paralympic Games.  Lord and Lady Bates have also raised £250,000 in sponsorship for UNICEF.

Read Lord Bates’ blog.  Here is an excerpt from his last post:

“I think that’s it for this year except to say that our walk was of course to draw attention to the Olympic truce through which signatories seek to set aside differences and work for reconciliation for the period seven days before the Olympic Games until seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games. The Rio Olympic truce was signed by 180 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in October last year. Looking at our tv screens and events in Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Thailand, North Korea and France we might wonder what that means in reality.

It is a fair point but just because some people choose not to live up to their international obligations or rise above their tribal differences is not a reason to lower the bar but rather to encourage those who fall short to reach higher. That the world is a better place for the Olympics & Paralympics and the truce that transcends them. That peace and reconciliation was not just part of the ancient Olympic Games of 3000 years ago, it was their entire purpose and point. That ultimately peace is possible it just requires much more courage than war on the part of participants to achieve it. The type of courage, desire, single-minded purpose and ambition we witness everyday through the lives of our Olympians and Paralympians.”

Congratulations – and on behalf of the London Peace Network, thank you for keeping the Olympic Truce ideal alive!

Refugees & Migrants: what is the current crisis telling us?

Refugees & Migrants: what is the current crisis telling us?

Syrian_breakfast

Syrian Breakfast (photo: Daniel Ersdale)

Join us for a Syrian Breakfast to mark the UN International Day of Peace 2015 at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PW (5 mins walk from Goodge St tube)

Monday 21 September 8.15am – 9.30am

We’ll be welcoming speakers from different walks of life: Phil Champain, Director of 3FF (formerly of International Alert), Dr Maha Azzam, policy expert on the Middle East, Dr Omer Hamdoon (Muslim Council of Britain) & Steve Miller (Faith-based Regeneration Network). There will be a chance for everyone to add their own thoughts and reflections.

London Peace Network in association with the Christian Muslim Forum, East London Mosque & the Faith-based Regeneration Network.

Peace Iftar 30 June

Peace IftarEnjoy an evening of friendship and food with people from different traditions at our special Peace Iftar on Tuesday 30 June at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PW. Download the flyer here.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has begun and we have a great line-up of guest speakers to share their thoughts on peace before breaking the fast together at around 9.30pm:

  • Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra
  • Bishop Paul Hendricks
  • Aliya Azam MBE
  • Imam Ajmal Masroor
  • Steve Miller
  • Navleen Kaur
  • Abdullah Faliq
  • Akeela Ahmed
  • Catriona Robertson

Read a description of the Ramadan fast in Britain here.

If you would like to join us – particularly if you have not experienced the breaking of the fast before – please let us know in advance by emailing catriona@christianmuslimforum.org.  We need to know who is coming to ensure there is enough food!  #peaceiftar  #peacecafé

 

 

Peace Pilgrimage starts out!

Peace Pilgrimage starts out!

RTP Invite

To mark the Dalai Lama’s visit to the UK, his work for peace and his 80th birthday, Road to Peace Films are setting out today on a 200 mile peace walk from London to Glastonbury.  Present-day troubadours, they’ll be making music, telling stories and showing their films as they go on their way.  They will be offered board and lodging by well-wishers.  Check the map and see if you are on the Peace Pilgrimage route!  Bethan Lloyd is the person to contact bethan@roadtopeacefilms.com.

Can theatre & creative arts transform conflict?

Can theatre & creative arts transform conflict?

A scene from Dara by Shahid Nadeem, adapted by Tanya Ronder and directed by Nadia Fall at the National Theatre. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

A scene from Dara by Shahid Nadeem, adapted by Tanya Ronder and directed by Nadia Fall at the National Theatre.  Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Wednesday 1 April at Rich Mix, 35–47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA, the latest in International Alert’s Peace Talks, The Art of Building Peace.

Conflict resolution around the world desperately needs imagination. The transformative power of performance and other arts is enormous. Art can capture imaginations and breathe life into the heart of peacebuilding. Technocrats and economists may well disagree but theatre, film, photography and painting has much to offer the world of peacebuilding and conflict.

Join our panel at the Rich Mix, a community arts hub in east London, to discuss how art can engage and motivate people in ways that the left brain alone cannot.

This event is inspired by Dara, a play by Pakistani director Shahid Nadeem originally performed by Ajoka Theatre, and currently showing at the National Theatre in London. Dara is a bewitching tale of Indian history that offers a dramatic perspective on how 17th century Moghul politics impacts on today’s conflicts.

Speakers include

  • Anwar Akhtar, Director of The Samosa, a culture and politics site with a focus on Britain and South Asia. Anwar is a production consultant on Dara and is a former director of the Rich Mix.
  • Ruth Daniel, Co-Director of In Place of War, University of Manchester, which supports artists living in sites of war to create social change through creativity.
  • Shahid Nadeem, Award-winning Pakistani writer, theatre and TV director, and human rights activist. He is the author of Dara and Director of Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan
  • Dan Smith (Chair), Secretary General, International Alert

Shahid Nadeem appears in our film “Pakistan: the Pride and the Promise” shot in Pakistan as part of the Olympic Truce, building links between religious and civil society organisations in Pakistan and diasporic groups in the UK.

Dara runs until 4 April at the National Theatre, Southbank, London SE1.

The meaning of Jerusalem – Peace Café

The meaning of Jerusalem – Peace Café

Peace Cafe 1A rich discussion on what Jerusalem means to us from our different traditions – at the first Peace Café.  Not the easiest of topics – but we learned from each other’s stories, experiences and from our shared and diverse histories.

People brought delicious food from across the continents: Bangladeshi biscuits, a fragrant rose water dish from Mauritius, rice and dal from India, dates from North Africa, trifle from England, pizza from Italy and hummus from Israel.  It was a feast!

Join us next time on 12 January 6-8pm – bring a dish to share or bring ingredients to cook as we gather together.

Jewish, Muslim, Quaker & Christian peace builders on Premier Christian Radio

Jewish, Muslim, Quaker & Christian peace builders on Premier Christian Radio

The Inspirational Breakfast team at Premier Christian Radio.

“Inspirational Breakfast” team at Premier Christian Radio

Listen up!

“I am a peace activist!”  Julian Bond of the Christian Muslim Forum kicked us off this morning at 7.30am – listen here at 30 minutes into the broadcast.

London Peace Network members from Jewish, Muslim, Quaker and Christian traditions are each broadcasting a Thought of the Day on Premier Christian Radio on (find them on 222.06 DAB) this week.

Steve Miller, Chris Bryant (Premier Radio), Julian Bond, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Bessie White in the recording studio.

Steve Miller, Chris Bryant (Premier Radio), Julian Bond, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Bessie White in the recording studio.

You’ll hear Steve Miller, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Bessie White at 7.30am over the next few days, and Julian will finish the series on Friday morning.

Tune in each morning!

#LondonIsOpen: view the film!

#LondonIsOpen: view the film!

London’s faith centres are open and welcoming!

Inter Faith Week 2016

A new film featuring the opening doors of London’s temples, Islamic centres, gurdwaras, synagogues, meeting houses and churches.

Shot on locations across London by Rosalind Parker & Jack Jeffreys.

London Central Mosque, Regent’s Park
St Andrew’s Church, Wimbledon
Friends House
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
London Buddhist Centre
St Martin-in-the-Fields Church
Southwark Cathedral
Shree Ghanapathy Hindu Temple
Al Khoei Islamic Centre
Holy Trinity Church, Tooting Bec
St John’s Wood Church
Liberal Jewish Synagogue
Baha’i Centre
Central Gurdwara, Holland Park
Brahma Kumaris

Thank you to everyone who contacted us to be included in the film – we’re making plans for 2017, keep in touch.

Peace Cafe 17 March 6pm

Peace Cafe 17 March 6pm

Aff_CafesDepending on the origin of our food, clothes, cosmetics or household goods, our seemingly innocent actions can contribute to human and environmental disasters somewhere on the globe.  The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh highlighted the direct links between our consumer choices here in the UK and lives overseas.

Ethical choices and consumerism is the topic of our next Peace Café, on Tuesday 17 March at 6pm at LBFN’s home at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte Street, W1T 4PW (Goodge Street tube).

Our special guest is Shehroze Khan from MADE in Europe, a grassroots faith-based charity raising awareness about environmental protection, justice and poverty, and our conversation will include diverse views and a wide range of experiences.

Let us know if you plan to come along.  Bring a little food (veggie) to share.  Everyone can brew the change.  We look forward to seeing you there!

London Boroughs Faiths Network

Aff_CafesDepending on the origin of our food, clothes, cosmetics or household goods, our seemingly innocent actions can contribute to human and environmental disasters somewhere on the globe.  The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh highlighted the direct links between our consumer choices here in the UK and lives overseas.

Ethical choices and consumerism is the topic of our next Peace Café, on Tuesday 17 March at 6pm at LBFN’s home at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte Street, W1T 4PW (Goodge Street tube).

Our special guest is Shehroze Khan from MADE in Europe, a grassroots faith-based charity raising awareness about environmental protection, justice and poverty, and our conversation will include diverse views and a wide range of experiences.

Let LBFN know if you plan to join us.  Bring a little food to share.  Everyone can brew the change.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

In her Christmas broadcast today, the Queen mentioned not only the Christmas Truce during WWI, but also the ancient Olympic Truce, which was the inspiration for the London Peace Network.

She spoke of reconciliation and peace, and of how the example of Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated at Christmas, has led her to respect and value “all people of whatever faith or none.”

“Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women.”

Watch the broadcast here and find the full text here.

Peace Café

Peace Café

Peace Cafe

The Peace Conference ignited many conversations.

On a smaller scale, we’ll be continuing these at the Peace Café on Monday 1 December at 5pm.

Join us at Collaboration House, 77 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PW (Goodge St tube).

There’s a kitchen, so bring food to cook/share (come a bit earlier if your dish takes a while to prepare).

Let us know if you’re coming and/or if you’d like to know when the next Peace Café is happening.

MUJU’s Peace Lab in action

MUJU’s Peace Lab in action

MUJU still 3Outstanding work from young Muslims & Jews at MUJU Crew this summer – watch the video now.

The Al-Khoei Foundation, Brondesbury Park Synagogue and St Anne’s Church of England worked together with MUJU – the filming & editing was supported by the Near Neighbours Programme.

Peace Lab ReLoaded starts in October – contact MUJU to sign up.

Week of Prayer for World Peace 19 October

Week of Prayer for World Peace 19 October

weekofpr
Sunday 19th October at 2:30pm

A warm invitation from the organisers of the Week of Prayer for World Peace on their 40th anniversary.

“Please join in and together, from the depth of our hearts, let’s send out a united prayer for peace for ourselves, our communities and all parts of the world experiencing trouble.

An interfaith gathering of prayer and peace will be held at the Al-Khoei Foundation, The Stone Hall, Chevening Road, NW6 6TN.

ALL WELCOME!”

Confronting Violence in the name of God

Confronting Violence in the name of God

jonathan-sacks

Rabbi Lord Sacks. Picture: Sylvie Le Clezio

Public Lecture by Rabbi Lord Sacks on Monday 20 October at 7pm, Greenwood Theatre (Guy’s campus), Kings College London.

All are welcome and admission is free, but booking is essential via Eventbrite.

“There are many conflicts around the world at present which claim to be in the name of God, particularly (although not only), the Middle East – such as ISIS in Iraq (with the persecution of Christians and Yazidis in Mosul), the ongoing situation in Gaza (which affects all three faiths of ‘the people of  the Book’), and so on.  In this public lecture, Rabbi Lord Sacks, as Professor of Law, Ethics & the Bible at King’s College London and Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University, reflects on how we might challenge this situation and confront this violence, and do so in the name of God.”

 

Quakers’ Marigold Bentley on Radio 2 today

Quakers’ Marigold Bentley on Radio 2 today

Marigold speaking at Monday's Peace Conference.  Photo: William Barylo

Marigold speaking at Monday’s Peace Conference.

Marigold Bentley, who was the closing keynote speaker at the Peace Conference on Monday, will be a guest on Radio 2 today between 12 noon and 12.20pm.

She’ll be talking about the UN International Day of Peace and the current international situation.

Marigold is the Assistant General Secretary, Quaker Peace & Social Witness & Secretary, Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations.

90 peace-builders gather in London!

90 peace-builders gather in London!

Group photo

Holding our #PeaceDay messages at St Ethelburga’s on Monday

Over 90 people from many different religions and convictions came together on Monday 15 September at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

There were experiential and skills-based workshops, panel discussions on hot topics, a world première screening of a new MUJU film, interactive sessions and singing from students of the Khalsa Secondary Academy.

The organisers (The Cordoba Foundation, London Peace Network and Faith-based Regeneration Network) proposed a statement of practical intent and commitment to peace-building in the 21st century:

We recognise that peace is not just an absence of conflict but is about building a world where all can flourish without fear. 

We know that fear and violence prosper in a world of ignorance and mistrust where we demonise the ‘other’ and mistakenly elevate ourselves as superior; whether that is across nations and peoples, in our streets and communities, or even in our own homes.

Disputes exist, injustice exists, exploitation exists – we know that these things are real in the world and words alone cannot solve these problems. 

But, coming together today, we dedicate ourselves to find peaceful ways to pursue justice, to stand up and be active, and to use our joint energies and influence for creative and not destructive outcomes.

More pictures from the event can be found here and a press release here.  Download the welcome pack here.

Make your own #PeaceDay message and post it on our Facebook page!  Download the A4 sheet here.

Awareness Sunday 14 September

Awareness Sunday 14 September

awarenesssundayEach year, Awareness Sunday acts as a call to people of all faiths and worldviews to make a new commitment to fostering peace in our communities through education and building bridges with our neighbours.

All are invited to mark Awareness Sunday according to their own traditions and beliefs.

This year’s Awareness Sunday service takes place at 10.30am on Sunday 14 September at St George’s Church, Bloomsbury.  People of all faiths and none are welcome.

Peace Conference 15 September – programme

Peace Conference 15 September – programme

St Ethelburga's garden

Putting the finishing touches to the programme on Wednesday – Bessie White (Quakers), Abdullah Faliq (The Cordoba Foundation), Catriona Robertson (London Boroughs Faiths Network), Dr Shuja Shafi (Muslim Council of Britain), Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi (Majlis e Ulama Europe), Cate Tuitt (Justice & Peace Commissioner, RCDOW), Fatima Adamou and Julian Bond (Christian Muslim Forum) and Angharad Thain (St Ethelburga’s), with Steve Miller (Faith-based Regeneration Network, David Wardrop (United Nations Association, Westminster) and Aliya Azam (Al Khoei Foundation) with us in spirit.

A brilliant line-up of speakers, a new drama from MUJU, engaging workshops and a chance to meet people from across London who want to see a just and peaceful world.

Download a summary programme of Peace-building in the 21st Century here.

If you haven’t booked yet, hurry!   There are a few places left – book here.

Peace-building in the 21st Century | London 15 September

Peace-building in the 21st Century | London 15 September

A5_Peace-Conference-FinalAgainst a harrowing backdrop of international news, and concerns here in the UK, people from different backgrounds and traditions are gathering on Monday 15th September for a peace conference.

Here is an opportunity to engage with a wide range of experts and practitioners, contribute your own insights and experience, refresh your conflict transformation skills, understand the hopes and fears of communities here and overseas and take an active part in workshops and panel discussions.

The Muslim-Jewish arts group MUJU will be with us, showing us their latest work.

Workshops include: Conflict Resilience, Dialogue Skills, Advancing Peace through the Arts, Hostage Negotiations.

Panels include: Peace v War, Grassroots Peace-building, Conflicts in the Middle East, Peace or Appeasement?

Register now – your contribution of £15/£5 will help cover costs & includes lunch at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, 78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG.  St Ethelburga’s is a beautiful & poignant venue but there is limited space, so register soon if you plan to attend.

Download the flyer and pass on the invitation to your friends, colleagues and networks.

More information from The Cordoba Foundation 020 8991 3372, the London Peace Network 07903 682 142 or the Faith-based Regeneration Network 020 7840 0138.

Lord Bates on War Games

Lord Bates on War Games

14758550628_6cd3763655_zLord Bates is on his #Walk4Peace from London to Berlin.  He writes each evening and on Saturday his walk took him past a reenactment of a WWII battle.

Here he wonders why “we want to believe that there are good people (us) and bad people (them) out to get us.”

At breakfast the restaurant was already full with a party of  Canadians who were on a special tour of WWII battlefield sites.

Dieppe was a key point on the tour for it was where a largely Canadian armed force of approx 6000 tried a daring raid  ‘Operation Jubilee’ against heavy German defences on 19 August, 1942. Of the 5000 Canadian forces 3367 were either killed, wounded or captured. It was a huge blow to morale of the Allies and in particular the Canadians who bore the brunt of the losses. Still, over seventy years later people want to come and hear about what went on that day in the greatest possible detail.

Looking at the leaflets of local attractions on display in the reception area the majority were for war related museums and monuments. In the evening we noticed a huge camp being erected on the beach front of military tents, jeeps and memorabilia and men in WWII style army uniforms which I understand is part of an annual reenactment of that fateful day in 1942 and is attended by visitors from US, UK and Canada. All this militarism should make for uneasy viewing on what was a ‘Walk for Peace’ but it didn’t. I actually found it all fascinating and thought the dressed up soldiers looked heroic and made me feel patriotic.

This raised a deeper question: What is it about war and violence which fascinates and entertains us men? We would naturally flinch at such accusations that we would see any entertainment in war or violence as we tune in to the 24 hour news channels with exploding bombs, plumes of smoke and blood soaked casualties on endless replay. It is not just old men who romance about war and violence. If we look at the top selling video computer games they are titles like: ‘Call of Duty’; ‘World of Tanks’; ‘Command & Conquer’; ‘World of Warcraft’; ‘Band of Brothers’; ‘Assassins’; ‘Counter Strike’ and ‘Warhammer’. Then consider the current movie releases: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’; ‘X-Men’; ‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’; ’300: Rise of an Empire’.

This is not an accusatory point it is to seek to make a revelatory point that violence and war are deep within our male DNA and we need to understand it and control it or it will continue to control and destroy us. To underscore the humility with which I approach this topic if I was asked my top movie pictures then Saving Private Ryan, First Knight, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Man on Fire, James Bond–Skyfall and Gladiator would be right up there.

Think of all the war movies, all the Westerns, all the computer games have in common is that there is a bad person, pure evil and they are intent on threatening our way of life or our loved ones, so up steps a goodie who knocks seven bells out of the baddie whilst protecting women and children and never forgetting to rush back into danger to rescue wounded comrades. The hero saves the day and gets the girl. It works. It has worked as the theme of literature certainly from Greek classical antiquity (8th century BC) with the ‘Trojan War Cycle’ or from the same period in China, Sun Tzu ‘The Art of War’, but why does it work?

I want to try an answer, which is audacious because I have not the mind nor the knowledge so to do, but it seems to me that we want to believe that there are good people (us) and bad people (them) out to get us. The truth is that the angels and demons are not different characters in a computer game, a movie or even present day nations, tribes or  religions they are elements within each and every one of us. We each have the capacity to love and to hate. To help or to harm. To care to abuse. To build or to destroy. To be loyal or disloyal. To want to serve or to control. To lie or to speak the truth.

What has this to do with war? This: that men prefer war because it  a way of escaping the real battle which within each and every one of us each and every day. We see on our tv screens a world of ‘baddies’, new ones emerging every day and we convince ourselves that if only we ‘goodies’ can this latest demon to kingdom come by foul means or fair then we will save the day and create peace on earth. Just like in the movies. The problem is that in externalising this internal problem of the male human condition we deny the possibility of its solution. We are in a state of perpetual war with the world because we haven’t conquered our inner warrior spirit. Peace won’t come in the world until it happens within us.

Now that may be my best effort with a third-class brain but here is a first-class brain (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) to sum up my long ramble in a few succinct lines:

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― The Gulag Archipelago

Read the full piece here and follow Lord Bates on Twitter.