Welcome to Slough Faith Partnership

Remembering Manchester 22 May 2017

On Tuesday, Slough Faith Partnership remembered those killed and injured in the appalling atrocity committed against the people of Manchester, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who will never be the same again. The arrogance of those who believe that they have a right to inflict this pain and suffering on innocent young people, their families and communities is disgusting.

A painting by Ilona Langdorf-Jaffe commissioned by Art Beyond Belief

If God is love, his actions and inspirations in the world will be shown by loving acts, and kindness towards strangers, and that we have seen in the remarkable way that the people of Manchester have responded to this evil act.

They are a model for us all as we continue to foster dialogue and understanding between communities.

Welcoming Ramadan

WHAT IS RAMADAN?

In Islamic tradition, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This is the month when the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). There are five pillars of Islam and observing Ramadan is the fourth pillar. Ramadan is the abstaining from food and drink, known as fasting. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day.

The Islamic calendar is lunar, which means that days start at sunset. This year Ramadan commences on Saturday 27 May, although this can vary depending when the new moon is first sighted. Ramadan typically lasts for 29-30 days and culminates in the celebration of Eid-al Fitr.

WHO OBSERVES RAMADAN?

Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims who are followers of the religion of Islam. All Muslims who have reached puberty are obliged to fast. Not all Muslims will fast throughout Ramadan – among others, children, the elderly, the ill and pregnant or breastfeeding women are exempt.

WAMCF Big Iftar

Windsor And Maidenhead Community Forum invites its members to attend the community Iftar on 12th June at 8pm at Maidenhead Mosque

WHAT DO MUSLIMS DO IN RAMADAN?

Muslims have their main meals before sunrise and after sunset. The morning meal is known as Suhoor and the evening as Iftar. During Ramadan, in addition to the five daily prayers, there are special nightly prayers known as Taraweeh. The last 10 days of Ramadan are especially important with increased prayers as the night of “Lailat al Qadr”, described in the Qu’ran as a night “better than a thousand months”, falls in this period.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF RAMADAN?

More than just fasting, Ramadan is about discipline and self control. It is a time of prayer and self-reflection, where Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an. Ramadan is also a time for giving to charity and participating in charitable events.

 

SWAMI17

SWAMI17 is a new initiative that is being launched this Summer across East Berkshire in the three towns of Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead. It is a collaboration driven by the Slough Faith Partnership, Windsor Humanists and Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum.
The three towns comprise some of the most diverse communities outside London in terms of ethnicity, wealth, faith and culture. SWAMI17 will be a way of bringing our diverse communities together across the three towns to strengthen friendships and promote closer co-operation.

SWAMI17 Poster

SWAMI17

This will be achieved by putting on a series of co-ordinated events throughout 2017 from the Community Group Street Showcases, the Big Debate, a Speaker Programme during the Inter Faith Week for starters. You can find out more about our plans from our website. http://www.swami17.com

Interfaith Week 2016

Slough Interfaith Group set to “Spice Up” Calais Refugees Life

To celebrate Interfaith Week 2016 Slough Faith Partnership teamed up with St Andrews Methodist Church who started an initiative to help refugees in Calais – in partnership with Calaid*. On Saturday 19th November, a group of compassionate people came together at St Andrews Church to make spice bags** for the refugees in Calais. This evening’s work aimed to add a bit of extra taste to dry food donated to the refugees.

While making the bags, the guests shared the food they brought and talked about the things that were important to them. Everyone was agreed that the situation in Calais is appalling and makes us aware of the priviliged lifestyle we have in this country.

Mayor of Slough, Councillor Arvind Dhaliwal gave a speech on the importance of living in harmony and being helpful to those in need during these hard times.

 

** The spice bags consisted of a spoonful of salt, spoonful of chili pepper, spoonful of garam masala, along with two garlic cloves and two stock cubes.

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We will also share the spices of our lives by sharing food. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.

A RSVP is not necessary, but it would be helpful. To RSVP or for more information please contact Jennifer Williams at

jenniferlwilliams2001@yahoo.co.uk or 07748 428631.  

 

Opening of the New Judiciary Year

At the opening of the judiciary year in Reading on 10 October 2016. Marvellous service among dignitaries from Lord Lieutenant, current and past High Sheriffs, judges, mayors, other local dignitaries and many more… Meaningful service themed around ‘Love’ by Bishop Andrew Proud of Reading.

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Living with Difference – Religion in a Diverse Society

Slough Faith Partnership joined as an active member and coordinating partner to the South East Enland Faiths Forum’s 2016 Annual Conference which was held on 1 September 2016 at Christ Church College in Oxford.

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Around sixty people – including many friends from Slough Faith Partnership and Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum gathered in the College’s Blue Boar lecture theatre to listen and discuss the Butler-Sloss Commission’s Report on the Place of Belief and Faith in British Public Life.
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For the report on the conference: SEEFF 2016 Annual Conference Report

Preventing Tragedies

Attended Preventing Tragedies programme launch at the East Berkshire College in July 2016. This was an even organised by Thames Valley Police and it was to launch a new initatiative aiming to find the ways to help prevent tragedies before they happen and the role of families in this project.  During the event we listened speakers and watched the movie Left Behind and discussed the impact of extremism on the families and For more information, visit http://www.preventtragedies.co.uk
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Understanding Islam

Slough Faith Partnership attended attend a day of understanding organised by Wokingham Borough Interfaith Network in July 2016 at at Aisha Masjid & Islamic Centre, Earley, . Our chairman David Sparrow was invited to share his experiences on interfaith dialogue which was gained through his work with South East England Faith Forum and Slough Faith Partnership. Imam Yahya Mohammed also gave a talk titled: “Understanding Islam”

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Multifaith Picnic in the Park 

Wycombe Sharing of Faiths held a family picnic in July in Hughenden Park in Wycombe. Slough Faith Partnership attended to this picnic and enjoyed sharing experiences, food and games with people from other faiths.

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Faith in Social Action

We attended a day conference titled “Faith in Social Action: Where Next?” in May 2016. The conference  was held at the Cavendish Campus of University of Westminster in London.

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It aimed to bring faith based practitioners, third sector leaders, researchers and policy makers together and hosted by Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, the Faith based Regeneration Network and the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion.

United for Peace: Three Counties United Against Extremism

An excellent event uniting faith communities: “United for Peace”, Three Counties United Against Extremism: A service with readings interspersed with silent reflection and music. Massive thanks to Monawar Hussain of Oxford Foundation, also the Muslim Chaplain of Eton College.

 

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This event consisted of two major activities.  First, delivered in partnership with the Independent State Schools Partnership (ISSP) drew together 6th formers from seven schools to hear the personal stories of Mike Haines and Ahmad Nawaz followed with Q&A and a discussion around two key questions.  Second event was a major multi-faith service held at Dorney Lake, Windsor, and brought together leaders from across the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.  This event was delivered in partnership with the Lord-Lieutenancies of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; the Oxford Diocese and the Oxford Muslim College.

Do Humanists Need Dialogue with other Faiths?

A good attendance to Windsor Humanists and the Slough Faith Partnership joint event in February 2016. Speaker Jeremy Rodell, the BHA National Dialogue Officer talked about why did we need dialogue? Considering that there is an enormous change in the sociopolitical structure and Pluralism becoming a way of life in the UK, Jeremy stressed the importance of the dialogue.

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Jeremy talked about the confusion about the meaning of “humanism” then gave an extensive background of divisions in various faith and tendencies as well as Humanist ones. Mentioning that there are serious challenges like “Fear of the others” “Generalisation” “Polarisation” “lack of social cohesion” “Faith based religious based prejudice” “Declining institutions defending privileges” “Conflicting values”, Jeremy paved way for the need to: 1. Explain and promote secularism, 2. Educate others 3. Humanise (View others as fellow humans, Seek dialogue versus debate, Dialogue is about listening not knocking the other down, Beware of assumptions and generalisations, Recognise areas and disagreement, Recognise common ground, Recognise “red lines” – limits to dialogue). As a last word, Jeremy brought three possible outcomes for a plural society: 1. Separate parallel lives, 2. Assimilation, 3. Messy integration – interculturalism
Further reading: Living With Difference, Baroness Shloss Review – http://www.woolf.cam.ac.uk/news/detail.asp?ItemID=1004

 

Another Harmonious Year: Goodbye 2015… Welcome 2016.

Slough Faith Partnership members met at As Asia Restaurant in Slough to celebrate another harmonious year and to welcome 2016.

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Interfaith Week 2015

As part of National Interfaith Week 2015 Slough Cooperative Film Society have put on a film called Timbuktu at the West Wing Arts Centre in Slough on 19th November 2015 at 19.45. 
The film was about a Malian cattleman and his family facing the wrath of Islamic fundamentalists after a tragic accident. More info is on the link:

Timbuktu review on Guardian

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A heart wrenching tale of a Malian herd keeper whose life turns upside down when the extremists arrive at their village.

Following the film the Slough Faith Partnership and Windsor Humanists held a discussion session about the impact of extreme religion on humanity -at the Waterman’s Arms in Eton on the evening of 24th November 2015 starting at 7.30pm till 9pm.

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Windsor Humanists hosted the discussion on extremism

The event was a great success  with a lively discussion which ranged widely over all the many complex  issues around religious extremism in Mali, more widely across the Western and Islamic world, the process of radicalisation, segregation of religious groups on their separate  ‘belief islands’, and the influence or not of faith schools etc.  There were many opinions and perspectives expressed and listened to as you’d expect when you have over 15 people of all faiths and none present to discuss such a complex and controversial issue such as religious extremism.  WIndsor Humanists and the Slough Faith Partnership hope that we can continue to hold similar inter faith events during 2016 to continue the dialogue and debate in our local area – watch this space for advanced publicity.

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Valuing Culture and Faith – the challenges of integrating into our society whilst retaining our identity

A discussion event organised by the Woking People of Faith over dinner with Rt Revd Andrew Watson and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, in partnership with Woking Borough Council.

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Baroness Sayeeda Warsi with Rt Revd Andrew Watson

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The event was organised by the Woking People of Faith

To find out more about the event Valuing Culture and Faith:

NEWS RELEASE – 14 November 2015

Statement from the Co-Chairs of Slough Faith Partnership on the terrorist attacks in Paris and interfaith relations in Slough 

We are deeplyconcerned about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.   
Authorities stated that there is a jihadist motive behind these attacks. 
Slough Faith Partnership rejects all sorts of terrorism albeit a religious, ethnic or racial one. We, people of Slough, are proud of our diversity and need to strengthen  the friendship, harmony and solidarity we have established so far. Because of this, we need to be aware of the trap set by terrorists who want to create uncertainty and fear through chaos. We strongly emphasize the need for solidarity and the need to be aware of the divisive tactics brought about by acts of terror. 
 
As it is now the National Inter Faith Week, we emphasize this year’s theme: ‘Living Well Together’.  To celebrate Interfaith Week, Slough Faith Partnership in partnership with Slough Cooperative Film Society, is putting on a movie on the topic of Extremism, which emphasizes the importance of positive coexistence. Following the movie Timbuktu (which will be shown at the West Wing on the 19th November at 7.45pm), we will join with the Humanist Society to have a discussion on Extremism (at the Waterman’s Arms in Eton on 24th November at 7.30pm). It is challenging, but we understand and encourage the need to hold such discussions as part of being good citizens.
 
We conclude, with our concern and sympathy for our near neighbours in France at this time. Our prayers are with all affected by this atrocity.
  
David Sparrow (Co-Chair)
Zafar Ali (Co-Chair)

Radicalisation Conference 2015

Iqra School held their second Radicalisation Conference at Pinewood Hotel on 9th November 2015

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Zafar Ali, Co-Chair, Slough Faith Partnership, Chair, Governors, Iqra School

Key speakers: Geraint Evans, Her Majesty’s Inspector Ofsted, Specialist Advisor for Extremism, Local Policing Area Comander, Slough, Superintendent Simon Bowden, Zafar Ali, Chair of Governors of Iqra Primary School and Noeman Anwar, Head Teacher of Iqra Primary School. Iqra School has had been targeted by Radicalised groups in the past and thwarted them successfully.

 

Resource: Radicalisation Conference 2015

 

 

 

Inspiration of Darwin on Science, Education and Faith

Art Beyond Belief, Slough Faith Partnership and the Wisdom Project of Eton College organised a challenging and inspiring debate on “Inspiration of Darwin on Science, Education and Faith” at Eton College’s Jafar Hall on 20th October 2015.

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David Sparrow, Co-Chair of Slough Faith Partnership introduces the evening.

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John Breadon, Eton College Chaplain, Dr Carol Boulter, Key Speaker & George Fussey, Curator of Natural History Museum.

 

We are hoping to continue these debates in the future.

 

Resource: Talk By Dr Carol Boulter- The inspiration of Charles Darwin

 

 

Working Faith: How the Abrahamic faiths today may work and reason in practice

The event organized by The Oasis at St Anne’s at the amazing new Jafar Hall of Eton College:  Rev Mark Jones one of the three college chaplains at the panel talked about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jonathan Paull spoke about The Dignity of Difference and Deutoronomy, while Imam Monawar Hussain brought the Family of Imran. “Fundamentalism, like imperialism, is the attempt to impose a single truth on a plural world.” “Hold fast to God’s rope all together; do not split into factions.” Such great quotes. And thanks to Rev Malcolm white for his excellent chairmanship.

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Working Faith Event at the Jafar Hall, Eton College

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Ret Rev Malcolm White chaired the discussion on theological reasoning and practice

 

Resource: Working Faith Reason and Practice

Army Community Engagement Event 2015

Slough Faith Partnership members attended the Army Engagement event in November 2015. It was a big event with a large attendance from both sides. The big brass and lots of community members. Army members presented their work – very informative and they talked to community members following their presentation.

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Army members were helpful in answering the questions from the community

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Colonel Stephen Cartwright presents their work in the community

 

 

 

Army Community Engagement Team

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Interfaith Week 2014 – Radicalisation Conference 2014

In celebration of Interfaith Week 2014, Slough Faith Partnership and Iqra School organised a conference on Radicalisation. The conference was held at Pinewood Hotel on 9th November 2015

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David Sparrow, Co-Chair of Slough Faith Partnership

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Attending were teachers, school governors, faith leaders.

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