Unity in diversity

What happened when a Jew, a Catholic and a Humanist walked into a mosque?

A delicious curry for lunch, certainly, but more importantly, a huge helping of learning, and an even bigger serving of love.

That was certainly the experience of well over 100 delegates who attended the second London RE Hub conference, held at East London Mosque, on Saturday 16th April.

For those who didn’t go or are unaware of what it’s about, LREH is a support network of RE teachers in and around London enabling them to link with members of faith and non-religious communities “to raise standards of teaching about the key concepts of religions and non-religious worldviews.”

London RE Hub programme

There were separate diversity panel debates for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as several workshops, co-presented by a faith insider and teacher, that attendees could opt into. The workshops ranged from how to teach the Trinity to differences between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. Some excellent videos and other resources on these can be accessed here.

I had the privilege of co-presenting the Jihad workshop with the wonderful Maurice Irfan Coles, and sitting on the ‘Diversity in Islam’ panel debate, chaired by Alan Brine, with Maurice, Wahida Begum and Zameer Hussain.

London RE Hub panel

Here were Muslim educators from different denominations coming together and sharing their perspectives on a whole spectrum of issues – from Muhammad and the media to citizenship and caliphate, as well as the benefits and challenges of teaching Islam in the classroom today – in a spirit of unity, openness and respect.

Many felt that this session was the highlight of the day, and it would definitely be worth a watch for anyone with a particular or just passing interest in Muslim responses to the aforementioned areas.

Hats (or should that be prayer caps) off to Andy Lewis and his team for pulling off another fantastic event. Other reflections on a hugely enriching and inspiring day can be read here, and several #LREH16 tweets here.











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