Jewish-Muslim Relations

Jewish group seeks Muslim adviser

Jewish group seeks Muslim adviser

A body which represents Jewish people in Britain is looking to appoint a Muslim adviser for one of its schemes.
The aim of the Shared Futures Project - run by the Board of Deputies of British Jews - is to link Jewish and other faith schools.

Alex Goldberg, of the Board, said he hoped the project would bring together Britain's different communities and allow the different pupils to interact.

"This is an exciting opportunity for faith schools," he said.

Good citizens

The scheme coincides with government aims, announced last September, to promote community cohesion within schools.
The project will include creating links between Jewish, Roman Catholic, Sikh and Hindu schools.

Mr Goldberg explained that the Board had chosen to look for a Muslim adviser because "these faith schools are greater in number than Sikh and Hindu institutions".
The Board hopes children from different schools will work together side-by-side on a wide variety of projects such as environmental, arts, sports and business schemes.
Mr Goldberg said the initiative would "promote diversity and improve understanding" between Britain's different faith communities.
"This is vitally important. We believe single faith schools provide good citizens with good academic results and we want these pupils to go out into the world equipped for a diverse community," he said.

Matching schools

Mr Goldberg said Shared Futures was looking to work with a variety of organisations such as Kick It Out, the organisation aiming to eliminate racism from football.
He explained there was a need to be sensitive to the needs of different schools: "One size doesn't fit all and we want to create a menu of programmes so that schools are equally matched, for instance, liberal schools are matched to other liberal schools."
Work has already begun on pilot schemes for the summer with the long-term aim of matching 20 to 30 faith schools during the first year, and at least 60 by 2010.

Multi-faith centre plans approved

Proposals for a purpose-built multi-faith centre have been approved, the University of Surrey has said.
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The £6m facility is being built on the Guildford campus to house six world faiths in a single building, providing a base for the university chaplaincy.

It will help to develop inter-faith programmes and be open to all students and staff, a statement said.

A fundraising appeal has been launched to raise the money and the project is expected to be finished by 2010.

Alex Goldberg, the university's Jewish chaplain, said the project would be seen as "leading the way" in solving issues of community relations, cohesion and integration.

Dr Abdul Mateen Sansom, the Muslim chaplain, added that it was a "sorely-needed practical solution to student needs".
The centre will contain dedicated space for Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities, together with open space for the practices of Buddhist and Hindu traditions.


Jewish board to appoint Muslim adviser

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By Riazat Butt, January 8th 2008

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is planning to recruit a Muslim adviser as part of a scheme to link schools dominated by a single faith.

The adviser will help develop religious and culturally sensitive programmes that will appeal to Jewish and Muslim schools taking part in its Shared Futures project, which fosters respect between pupils from the two faith communities.

The Board of Deputies is the first religious organisation in the UK to launch such a scheme, which complies with government requirements on promoting community cohesion in state-maintained faith schools. From September the schools watchdog, Ofsted, will evaluate whether this is being done.
Alex Goldberg, the director of community issues at the Board of Deputies, said: "By recruiting a Muslim schools adviser we will be able to create more links with the growing number of Muslim faith schools. What we find is that there is a diversity of what is culturally and religiously acceptable and what isn't. It's about having someone with that knowledge. There is a need to bring in a specialist so the advisers can work together to create something that suits pupils from both backgrounds."

Some faith schools have strict guidelines on what they can and cannot teach about other religions and may want to avoid direct interfaith activity, he added.

"Having hands-on projects is one way around this. We want all single faith schools to find an appropriate way to engage with each other. Traditional faith to faith dialogue is not necessarily the only option."
Last year the schools secretary, Ed Balls, presented a joint policy statement with representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh groups to endorse faith schools as a force for improving social cohesion in the country.