Three Faiths Community Education Conference Held in U.K.
On November 14, 2009, a "Three Faiths Community Education Conference" was held at the SGI-UK South London National Center by young Buddhists, Muslims and Christians. The event was an offshoot of the Three Faiths project which was initiated by SGI-UK in 2008 to address concerns about racial discrimination and harassment among young people in South London—in particular, on young Muslims. The project was set up by SGI-UK along with the Muslim and black Christian communities in Tooting, London. Twenty-four young people attended facilitated workshops in which they were encouraged to have honest, open dialogue and investigate together concepts of race, identity, racism and Islamophobia.
The aim of the conference was to convey to educators and professionals the methodology and spirit of the Three Faiths project to inspire them to reconsider existing approaches to cohesion within schools.
The conference began with a message from SGI-UK Vice General Director Sue Thornton and included talks about the project and experiences from the youth about the impact it has had on them.
Minister of State for Transport Sadiq Khan, a supporter of the Three Faiths project, stated at the event that "Three Faiths gets beneath the usual multicultural projects which are too scared to talk about racism." Abdul Choudhary, a member of the Local Race Equality Organization in Tooting, who helped design and facilitate the workshops, shared the ideas behind the methodology. He said the overriding aim was for the young people to learn that tackling inequality doesn't cost anyone anything.
Youth participants from the Three Faiths project spoke about their own personal accounts of witnessing or experiencing racism within their lives. They also shared about their experience of taking part in the project and how it helped them to deepen their understanding of the way racism functions in society, and how to use dialogue as a unifying force.
[Adapted from an article from the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin; photos courtesy of Ayse Hassan]