Greetings to the Muslim Community

I’m delighted to join with other Christians in giving greetings to the Muslim Community on the feast of ‘Id ul-Fitr (Eid).  A group of UK church leaders will be formally meeting with the Muslim community on Friday at 12 noon at the East London Mosque to pass the greeting on.

The full greeting reads:

‘Id Greetings
9 August 2013

The Christian churches send greetings of peace and prayers for God’s blessing on our Muslim neighbours on the occasion of ‘Id ul-Fitr (Eid). We recognise this as a day of good news and celebration – the fast has been completed and the feast begins!

We have been encouraged by two key initiatives this Ramadan – the ‘Big Iftar’ and Channel 4’s Ramadan Season. These have enabled many people to experience the hospitality of UK Muslims in mosques around the country as well as raising awareness positively of the meaning of Ramadan.

As representatives of the main Christian traditions in the UK we assure you of our goodwill towards you, and our commitment to peace and justice in the society that we share together. Aware of the recent attacks on mosques and Muslims, we want to stand with you against any discrimination or violence targeting any community or person because of their faith. Instead, we want to work for more positive interaction between Christians and Muslims, demonstrating the love for God and neighbour to which we are called.

‘Id Mubarak!”

List of signatories:

  • Baptist Union of Great Britain
  • Church of England
  • Mar Thoma Church
  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
  • Quakers in Britain
  • The Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (of the Oecumenical Patriarchate)
  • The Church in Wales
  • The Church of Scotland
  • The Council of African and Caribbean Churches
  • The Methodist Church
  • The Moravian Church in Great Britain
  • The Salvation Army
  • The United Reformed Church

This greeting is supported by the Christian Muslim Forum and has been facilitated by Churches Together in Britain & Ireland and Churches Together in England

Every effort has been made to invite as many churches as possible to endorse this statement. However, due to the holiday season it has not proved possible to contact every church. The absence of the name of a particular church does not imply in any way that they have declined to endorse this statement.

Books I have read: Only Half Of Me: British and Muslim: The Conflict Within

Only Half of Me - Being a Muslim in Britain

I finished reading Only Half Of Me: British and Muslim: The Conflict Within by Rageh Omaar last night.  I found it a fascinating read as he describes both the personal tensions and cultural tensions he has seen over his life and the way in which society makes big assumptions against British Muslims.

Following 9/11 and then the 7/7 London bombing society has become much more suspicious and negative towards British Muslims.  Omaar shows how this goes beyond what should be acceptable.  Having grown up originally in Somalia and then moving to Britain for a private education, he struggled to develop into an adult who straddled both his parents Islamic faith and the Western society in which he was living.

The point that I found most interesting was the sub culture of wealthy upper middle class Muslims moving to the UK to provide their children with a top quality education, sometimes staying, sometimes moving back to their country of origin.  In Omaar’s case with Somalia falling into civil war his family decided to stay in the UK and it was only as a reporter for the BBC that he went back to visit his homeland.  Alongside his own story, Omaar details the responses of a number of people who fled from oppression in their native land.

The book challenges the reader to a better understanding of Muslims coming to live in Britain.  But it does leave a number of key questions unanswered – there are positive challenges for how white British people can respond better to British Muslims, whereas there seems little in response as to how a British Muslim should engage with British society.

I feel as if Omaar has written part 1, but could write more suggestions as to how society could function better as a whole.