Building good inter faith relations and promoting cross-faith cooperation was once seen as a marginal pursuit – an ‘added extra’. Today, there is increasing recognition that it is vital to the wellbeing of our society.
Effective engagement between people of different backgrounds contributes to the development of a peaceful and just society in which people of different faiths and beliefs coexist harmoniously and work together for the common good. The kind of principles of engagement encouraged through IFN and its member bodies can be found in its code, Building Good Relations with People of Different Faiths and Beliefs.
An increasingly wide pattern of initiatives can be found across the UK at local, regional and national level and inter faith approaches are developing in many contexts such as chaplaincy, education, youth work and media. There are also longstanding bodies such as the Council of Christians and Jews, International Association of Religious Freedom, Religions for Peace (UK) and World Congress of Faiths.
Today in the UK, many national faith communities actively support inter faith activity. There are inter faith linking structures at the UK level (for example IFN) and at national level in Northern Ireland, Scotlandand Wales. Within England there are multi faith forums at regional level in some regions.
There is also a developing dialogue in many contexts between those of religious and non-religious beliefs. Sometimes this takes place within inter faith organisations whose initial focus was those of religious beliefs, and sometimes this takes place through different forums.