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Press release - The Power of Sport to Build Good Inter Faith Relations - Inter Faith Week Symposium

Today, Tuesday 14 November, the Inter Faith Network for the UK and Sporting Equals UK are holding a symposium highlighting ‘The power of sport to build good inter faith relations’.


The event is taking place at Welford Road, home of the Leicester Tigers.  It takes place in Inter Faith Week during which hundreds of activities are happening around the country:

Sport has a special role to play in building bridges. At this ground breaking event practitioners from the world of sport and from inter faith initiatives will be exploring how sport can help people of different backgrounds to meet one another, come to understand each other better, develop skills for cooperation and build stronger inter faith relations.

The day will be showcasing some of the ways that sports bodies, faith based bodies, inter faith organisations and others are using sport as a medium for inter faith encounter, improved understanding and as a promoter of community cohesion. It will also be looking at ways ahead to increase opportunities for this kind of engagement through a diverse range of sports.


“We hope that this special symposium will be a springboard for many new initiatives where sport and inter faith engagement provide opportunities for people of all ages mixing, learning, and creating new friendships and a basis for the cooperation and trust that are so vital for a strong and harmonious shared society.”


“Sport is not always recognised for its wider benefits. Sport is a great tool to build social interaction between communities particularly those that have little engagement or understanding. It provides a platform for real dialogue and discussion of sensitive issues to help break down myths and barriers. This conference will help showcase the best sport and interfaith cohesion projects and will further inspire more projects across the country to utilise sport for cohesion and help build stronger local communities.”

Speakers will Arun Kang, CEO of Sporting Equals; Tim Mathias, Inclusion and Equalities Executive for Premiership Rugby; Matt Parish, Director of Education and Inclusion, Burnley Football Club and Afrasiab Anwar, Community Faith Coordinator, Building Bridges in Burnley; Sadia Akram, Manchester Women’s Sport Programme and The Revd Canon Paul Hackwood, Executive Chair of the Church Urban Fund and Director of Near Neighbours; Shaheen Bi, Head of Projects at Sporting Equals; Arfan Akram, East London Cricket Co-Coordinator, and Tour Captain and team member, Cllr Mukesh Patel of the East London multi faith team which played the Vatican XI.; Professor John Williams, Co-Director, University of Leicester Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement ; Rehan Haidar, Senior Policy Officer, Department for Communities and Local Government, who is supporting development of a new integration strategy and Dr Harriet Crabtree OBE, Executive Director, Inter Faith Network for the UK. There will be workshop presentations from the Association of Muslim Schools Inter Faith Games project; Arsenal in the Community; the English Federation of Disability Sport; Gwent Police; and Windsor and Maidenhead Community Forum.


  1. Press queries to Inter Faith Network: tel 020 7730 0410, mobile: 07931 008554 email and Sporting Equals: 0121 7771375, mobile: 07887983860; email
  2. Photographs will be available on the day, as will interviews with: Harriet Crabtree - Executive Director, Inter Faith Network for the UK; Arun Kang – CEO, Sporting Equals UK; and speakers from a range of inter faith and sport projects.
  3. The Inter Faith Network for the 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.
  4. Sporting Equals UK ( is a national charity that works to engage Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities through sport and physical activity to build healthier, stronger and fairer local communities.
  5. Inter Faith Week – Further information about Inter Faith Week can be found at


The Inter Faith Network for the UK is Registered Charity no. 1068934 and Company limited by guarantee no. 3443823. Registered in England, registered address 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH.

Sporting Equals UK is a Registered Charity no. 1119365 and company limited by guarantee no. 5853520. Registered in England, registered address Building 300, Trinity Business Park, Bickenhill Lane, Solihull B37 7ES.