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Press release - Inter Faith Week 2017 starts this Sunday, 12 November

Inter Faith Week 2017 begins this Sunday, 12 November.


Hundreds of events will be taking place to mark the Week across the country, involving many thousands of people and organisations:  faith communities, inter faith organisations, public agencies and local authorities, youth organisations, schools, higher and further education institutions, chaplaincies, sports clubs, businesses, charities and many more. Registered activities are listed at  

Inter Faith Week, on which the Inter Faith Network for the UK leads, has been arranged to begin on Remembrance Sunday, with people of different backgrounds being encouraged to mark this together in some way remembering the service of soldiers and civilians of many faiths.

Minister for Faith Lord Bourne says:  

“In recent months we have seen how faith communities have come together to offer help to people caught up in appalling incidents and tragedies  – literally throwing open their doors to offer sanctuary. They have been superb.”

“Inter Faith Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that faith communities make and show how that can be strengthened by working together.”

The Inter Faith Network for the UK’s Co-Chairs say:

"Inter Faith Week  highlights ways in which people around the country are working for inter faith understanding and cooperation, encourages new initiatives, and shines a light on the major contribution that faith communities make to society through volunteering and their social action programmes. In our ever more diverse society this could not be more important.

The Week helps people get to know their neighbours of different faiths and beliefs through local events and activities.  It's a time to mix, to meet, to ask questions, to talk and listen, and to enjoy coming together in a range of activities: discussions, sport, volunteering, cultural events and much more.  In our often troubling times, when prejudice and hate crime are unwelcome features of the landscape, the Week also offers a high profile platform to speak out against that and to highlight the powerful message that we 'stand together' as people of all faiths and none, united in our commitment to a just and harmonious society, rooted in values that we share."

Many of the activities during the Week involve young people, for example a special event at the Wales Millennium Centre exploring youth inter faith engagement and the 3FF Interfaith Summit.

A key event for the Week is a by invitation symposium in Leicester on 14 November being held in partnership by the Inter Faith Network for the UK and Sporting Equals, focusing on the power of sport to build good inter faith relations.

The Week, which is now in its 9th year, aims to:

  • 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



The Week was formally launched at a meeting of the Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK on the afternoon of 9 November. 

A ‘taster’ of some of the events due to take place can be found at the bottom of this page.

Scottish Interfaith Week, which has taken place since 2004, is taking place on the same dates as Inter Faith Week in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.


  1. The Inter Faith Week website carries more information and resources:
  2. Interviews available.  Contact the IFN office which can also  assist media with enquiries about the Week:  020 730 0410 and or 07931 008554 out of office hours
  3. Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK ( It leads on the Week working with the Inter-faith Council for Wales (, and the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum ( in relation to Wales and Northern Ireland.
  4. Inter Faith Week has its own Twitter account and Facebook page and is on Instagram at
  5. Social media users are encouraged to use the hashtags #InterFaithWeek and #IFWeek in tweets and posts about the Week, as well as to post photos, quotes and ideas linked to the Week. Users are also being encouraged to take part in this year’s Inter Faith Week social media campaign, details of which can be found at
  6. Inter Faith Week was established in England and Wales in 2009, and in Northern Ireland in 2010. Scottish Interfaith Week has taken place since 2004 and is led by Interfaith Scotland ( It has its own dedicated website at The dates of the Week are the same and events for all the four nations are included this year on the map on the Inter Faith Week website: 
  7. Sunday 19 November will be Mitzvah Day ( - a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities. Many events are being jointly held to mark both Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day.
  8. The Inter Faith Network for the UK was founded in 1987. It links in membership nearly 200 organisations including national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith organisations; and educational and academic bodies with a focus on in inter faith or multi-faith issues. Its Co-Chairs are the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE and Jatinder Singh Birdi. 
  9. IFN’s Faith Communities Forum brings together representatives of the national faith community representative bodies in IFN membership ( to discuss issues of common interest and concern.
  10. The work of IFN is supported by faith communities, the Department for Communities and Local Government, trusts, and other donors.
  11. Photos top left to right: Smita Oza of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Julie Jones of the Inter-faith Council for Wales; Pupils at St Bede's Inter-Church School, Cambridge; Bottom left and right: Members of IFN's Faith Communities Forum