Crawley Inter Faith Network meeting 2nd April 2011

Crawley Inter Faith (CIFN) has had some serious setbacks since I last attended almost a year ago. Crawley Borough Council has not renewed its funding for their development worker because of a failure to submit a required report about the previous year's work. The Chair, Mohinder Galowia, Hindu representative, was responsible for the delivery of this report and has subsequently resigned his position. As far as I am aware, there is now no Hindu representative on CIFN.

I was welcomed to the meeting, as usual, and listened to the two speakers give accounts of their backgrounds and how they try to contribute to society (the theme for the evening). Reverend Gerard described his fond memories of childhood in a large extended family and how he eventually felt a calling to the priesthood. He is the youngest ordained priest in the UK and has duties involving 6 churches of Crawley.

Imam Dr Sajid gave a traumatic account of growing up in an Islamic training school from the age of 5, with enforced memorising of the Koran under the threat of beatings. After obtaining various degrees in Islamic studies, he eventually became an Imam in the UK and has played an active role in the Inter Faith movement. He has set up around 5 mosques in West Sussex.

Although there were numerous references to God, most of the time I could substitute these with personal conscience and so understand the meaning of what was being said. Of course, there were quite a few beliefs expressed that were incompatible with a Humanist viewpoint.

Dr Sajid has a very positive and encouraging attitude, which is what CIFN needs in order to rebuild itself. He encouraged the members to continue with their efforts to promote a dialogue between people of different beliefs, including Humanism.

I have offered on several occasions to give a talk on Humanism and am keen to see if there can be a meaningful dialogue between the religious and non-religious in this forum.

Andrew Edmondson


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