Wednesday, 28 May 2008
The Interfaith Hats
BBC Radio Scotland
Wednesday 28th May 2008
Amanullah De Sondy
An interfaith game show is to be launched in Britain, which will see members of different faiths competing against each other for cash prizes. Faith Off will be shown on the Islam Channel, which is aired on satellite television.
Interfaith is an interesting business. Business, I hear you say? Well, it depends on what interfaith means to you. I've been involved with interfaith for a few years and be it to evangelise the 'religious other' or to overcome ones own stereotypes and prejudices, interfaith can wear different hats depending on who you are talking to. On the subject of hats, I was invited to celebrate the end of the Church of Scotland's General Assembly meeting at a garden party at the palace of Holyroodhouse a few weeks ago and it was here that I felt that maybe for some interfaith is about fancy hats and sipping tea.
Maybe I am too hasty in judging peoples' motives but I feel that my spiritual existence as a Muslim is strengthened through the religious other. My understanding of Islam and the Qur'an is incomplete without reflecting over passages of the Bible and Torah. This may surprise some in our murky religious political climate of the day but I am constantly reminded of those times in the past when Jews, Christians and Muslims have managed to come together not to 'win' against each other but to mutually understand and appreciate God.
I was saddened to read the other day views of Australians at the prospect of having a Muslim school just outside Sydney. "No to Islamic immigration, Muslims do not fit into this town" were just some of the slogans being used at a rally. But is this really about education? I believe that the interaction of people of different faiths can have great rewards if we are prepared to work a bit harder at getting beyond those differences that seem to separate us. Are we willing to be moved from our positions and welcome our neighbours? Maybe it's time to release our fingers from the buzzer of right and wrong and start reflecting on the deeper meaning and reason for interfaith.