Inter Faith Week
Written by Ali, Volunteer Coordinator, The Cellar Trust
Spending my whole life in Bradford as a second generation British born Muslim of Pakistani heritage has influenced and shaped me into the person I am today, however the broader cultural heritage of this city and diverse communities are part of the wider influences of my life. Reflecting on these influences during Inter Faith Week seems fitting to celebrate the work of faith and interfaith groups.
My earliest memories of faith at home were of the Quran that sat high on our cupboard in my childhood home. I remember the care and etiquette that my dad exercised when he took it out to read. As a child I had little understanding of what this book was, all I knew was that it was important. Growing up I started to understand things better, learning that Quran is the word of God, knowing it to be an ocean of science history and stories. It is a vehicle for one to learn and reflect as well as to attain benefits of the mind and soul.
School was a gateway into other worlds and understanding different faiths. I remember the excitement going to school knowing that the day was going to be fun because it wasn’t just schoolwork; religious events meant fun. Learning about the Hindu festival of Holi or the celebration of Easter involved colours, costumes and food. If a by-product of all that fun was learning about the stories, values and important lessons of those religious events then it was a bonus. Nothing could compare to the fanfare and excitement of Christmas though; the full class would be decorated, cards would be exchanged, and sweets, cakes and crisps were always on the menu for the school Christmas party. The highlight in primary was playing one of the wise men in the school play and this taught me the important lessons of selflessness and humility of Jesus through the story of the nativity.
My own faith has been a large influence in my personal development as well as my moral and social stranding in life. Being there for friends and family, observing patience and gratitude, and giving charity are values that I practice, and their origin has been from my faith, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that my faith was the only factor. I am humbled when I say that I have learnt some significant lessons in life from those of other faiths or not faith at all. The basic premise of being just, harmonious and respectful are there to Increase understanding between mankind.
All faiths in some way shape or form promote giving counsel, guidance or advice to others through true altruism, and this sits at their foundations. Working in the mental health sector ties in with my faith values and it is this faith that underpins and helps the work to promote improvements and encourage better outcomes for people in their recovery. I feel blessed in every sense of the word!!!
INTER FAITH WEEK
13-20 November 2022
Each year, Inter Faith Week begins on Remembrance Sunday, and runs until the following Sunday. It is hoped that the additional Sunday provides the opportunity for other weekend events to take place as well as those linked to Remembrance Sunday. Remembrance Sunday was chosen as a start day to encourage people to remember together the contributions of all faiths and none, and to consider how best to create a just, peaceful, and harmonious world.
- 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
- Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs