Alex Salmond launches Scottish inter-faith week

By staff writers
November 24, 2007

Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond is this weekend launching a Scottish Inter-Faith Week, during which people from across the country are being invited to meet their neighbours and to build new friendships.

The Week is aimed at helping all Scots to learn about each other’s faiths and life stances, and "to promote dialogue, understanding and cooperation between Scotland’s religious communities."

The event has been organised by the Scottish Inter-Faith Council (SIFC), Aberdeen Inter-Faith Network and the University of Aberdeen.

During the Week, Scottish Inter-Faith Council is launch a new document entitled 'Religion and Belief Matter', which examines the role of spirituality and religion in health.

The report is primarily aimed at professional health workers, in particular healthcare chaplains, and supports the new legislation on equalities, making discrimination on grounds of faith or belief unlawful.

Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Faiths will be represented at the launch alongside University staff, students, civic dignitaries, religious leaders, MSPs and others from Scotland’s diverse community.

The place of humanists and other non-believers is not being mentioned explicitly, a fact that is likely to lead to complaints that 'Inter-Faith' is not yet a fully inclusive terms.

The British Humanist Association has long sought equal recognition within inter-faith fora in Britain. Pagans have also been seeking inclusion.

The keynote address for the Week will be delivered by the Rt Rev Bruce Cameron, former Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and former Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney.

He will tackle the issue of “The Richness of Diversity”, a theme which is at the heart of inter-faith and inter-belief conversation.

A service involving the participation of various faith communities will be held immediately prior to the launch of the Week in the King’s College Chapel, Aberdeen.

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