21 For 21

The narrative of faiths in constant conflict is all too dominant today — often perpetuated by the media. In a world first, media outlets serving the three Abrahamic faiths in Britain are joining forces to celebrate the way that young people are furthering interfaith collaboration.

Cooperation between faiths is a key challenge of the 21st century. In response, the Church Times, British Muslim TV, and Jewish News, together with Coexist House, are launching a search for 21 young leaders who have helped to break down barriers between the three dynamic religions. These 21 — seven Jews, seven Christians, seven Muslims — are at work today, leading projects, creating dialogues, running organisations: all demonstrating in their work and their lives how their faith makes them more open, not less, to friendships and social action across cultural boundaries.

With your help, we want to tell their stories, so that others might learn that interfaith dialogue is possible, desirable and enjoyable. We think this is a vital lesson for people in the 21st century — of whatever age. Each will then be profiled in print and on air through our respective media.

The project concludes around interfaith week and fittingly around the 70th birthday of the heir to the throne, who has made promoting interfaith relations a priority and has talked of wanting to be defender of faiths.

 

Nominations

There are, of course, hundreds of young people engaged in interfaith activities, and we want to hear about all of them. We are casting our net wide, encouraging anyone who knows someone aged 35 or under who is wholeheartedly caught up in working between these religions to send us their details. The website has a simple nomination form. The shortlist will be judged by a distinguished panel, and there will be an award ceremony at Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in November. There will also be opportunities for the winners to pool their experiences and work on joint projects.

 

Deadline for nominations

Friday 29th June

 

Beware modesty!

One problem with such a project is that many of the people we are seeking will not want to be found! They don’t do what they do for publicity or plaudits. You don’t need their permission to nominate them, though you can tell them if you like. It might be that you just admire them from afar. We’re happy with nominations from friends, colleagues, parents — anyone who has been impressed by someone’s commitment to interfaith understanding.

 

Some examples

A understands how sport breaks down barriers, and for the past five years has been building up an interfaith football league in the East Midlands.

B began a monthly meal for Jews and Christians at university. Now graduated, she moderates an online friendship group and organises regular events around the country.

C arranged women-only swimming sessions for Muslim women who had issues about modesty. She then realised that women of other faiths had similar concerns and now encourages all women to attend.

D is a theologian whose books seek to tackle common ground between the three Abrahamic religions.

E was concerned about unemployment and interracial crime on his estate. He began a youth club, recruiting helpers from a local church and a nearby mosque. He now employs a number of young people to help with repairs and the upkeep of homes in the neighbourhood.

IN ASSOCIATION WITH