Religious charities meet to explore work with other faiths

By agency reporter
25 Nov 2008

Christian, Jewish and Islamic charities will gather next week to debate how best faith-based organisations can work in communities of other religions across the world.

The unprecedented collaboration between Christian Aid, World Jewish Relief and Islamic Relief is being hosted by the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge on 1st and 2nd December.

The Keeping Faith in Development conference comes less than two months after the murder of Gayle Williams, a development worker in Afghanistan, which highlighted the extremely sensitive and important issues raised by the presence of faith-based organisations in communities with other beliefs.

The humanitarian charities involved in the conference work with people of all religious beliefs and none, and none of them does any preaching or attempts at religious conversion.

Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid, said: "Global poverty is not a Christian issue, but a human one, and ending it is not simply a Christian obligation, but a universal one. This conference is an opportunity to celebrate what different faiths have already done together to bring about an end to poverty and injustice and to look forward to what we might do together in the future."

Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said: "Central to all faiths, not least the Abrahamic traditions, is the duty to stand by one's neighbours, regardless race, colour or creed. This conference will offer a welcome chance to strengthen the growing interfaith partnership which is working to end the poverty of so many of our neighbours across the world."

Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive of World Jewish Relief, said: "World Jewish Relief is honoured to stand with other faith-based agencies working to combat poverty around the world. At this critical juncture in countering vulnerability, faith agencies have a vital role to play – we should celebrate this."

Dr Ed Kessler, Director of the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, said: "Knowledge of and sensitivity to interfaith issues are vital in the delivery of humanitarian aid in the world today. The Woolf Institute seeks to bring together leading religious charities who will share their experiences on the ground. We hope that all participants will benefit from this mutual learning opportunity and will be better equipped to fulfil their goals."

Ivan Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Development, will address delegates.

The conference will also include detailed presentations about how the agencies have done relief and/or development work with people of other faiths.

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