In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Parkes Library being transferred to the University of Southampton and the creation of the Parkes Institute for Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations leading representatives and scholars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam took part in a panel debate and discussion at West London Synagogue. Baroness Julia Neuberger, Lord Richard Harries and Imam Monawar Hussain talked about the progress made, and the challenges remaining, in confronting some of the most troubling issues of the day. The discussion was chaired by Naomi Gryn, writer and film maker.
Some of the challenges and ideas for the future included:
- Strengthening dialogue so that will lead to common action
- Deepening of the understanding of festivals and participation in other faiths feasts
- Carrying each other’s issues at heart (antisemitism, persecution of Christians, islamophobia) and speaking about them in own faith communities
- Reaching to those who are not engaged in dialogue or even who oppose interfaith activities
- Using media to promote dialogue and interfaith understanding
- Formation of the newer leaders, clergy and educators
- Being very attentive to the language one uses in speaking about other traditions
- Being aware of and challenging any forms of discriminations in own faith tradition
- Being attentive to the inadequate language about religions in the press (religious illiteracy)
The meeting was a great success. Many representatives of various religious communities came and engaged with the panellists through the question and discussion after the debate. Two Sisters of Sion Margaret (Secretary to the Committee for Catholic Jewish Relations at the Bishops Conference of England and Wales) and Kasia, were present to represent and confirm our ongoing dedication to Jewish – Christian dialogue and building interfaith understanding among various religions.
Sr. Kasia NDS