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Disagreement, protest, and respect: a statement

A statement by the Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators of IFN

The Inter Faith Network for the UK works to promote understanding, cooperation and good relations between organisations and people of different faiths.

Our vision is of a society where there is understanding of the diversity and richness of the faith communities in the UK and the contribution that they make; and where we live and work together with mutual respect and shared commitment to the common good.

That mutual respect can be tested at times when we may disagree profoundly, as individuals or as groups within society, over particular issues here in the UK or in other countries.

There are times when the division on political issues runs along lines which mirror to a degree the lines of different faiths, denominations and/or ethnic communities.  That can be the case with issues in the UK and it can also be the case with events overseas in areas to which UK communities have family and ancestral links.  Recent developments in Jammu Kashmir are among examples of that. The timing of a Free Kashmir march this Sunday on Diwali has prompted a call from London’s Mayor to those organising the march and those considering taking part in it to cancel their plans as it would “only deepen divisions at a time when Londoners need to come together.”

It is the right of those who feel strongly about issues confronting the UK - and other parts of the world - to express peacefully, within the law, those views in public.  However, even where – indeed perhaps particularly where – feelings on political issues are deeply held, we urge those of all faiths and none to look for ways to engage that are respectful, and which seek to avoid actions which inflame, and which work towards solutions.

The Inter Faith Network Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators

26 October 2019

Notes for editors

  1. Press queries to the Inter Faith Network: email ifnet@interfaith.org.uk
  2. The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.
  3. Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at http://www.interfaith.org.uk/members.
  4. This statement can be found at http://interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages and a copy of IFN’s statement making policy at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf