Archbishop to be patron of Christian Muslim Forum
Tuesday 12th March 2013The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has agreed to take over from Dr Rowan Williams as official patron of the the UK’s largest Christian-Muslim interfaith organisation, the Christian Muslim Forum.
Speaking after meeting the forum’s trustees last week, the Archbishop said: "I’m excited to support the important work of the Christian Muslim Forum, as Christian-Muslim relations is a key global issue which it is vital to get right – and can have tragic consequences if we don’t."
The Christian Muslim Forum has just celebrated its seventh anniversary and remains uniquely placed, with its wide representation of both Muslim and Christian traditions, providing guidance on a range of issues such as inter faith marriage, and mission and evangelism (see the forum’s ‘Ethical Witness Guidelines’).
Archbishop Justin's focus on reconciliation fits well within the forum’s framework of being a peace organisation, working to provide pastoral care and guidance in the community, puncturing prejudice and negativity.
The forum supports the role of women in faith and recently hosted the first national awards ceremony for Christian and Muslim women, celebrating their contribution to local and national interfaith initiatives. A copy of its ‘The Edge’ report on women’s initiatives was handed to the Archbishop.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Co-Chair of the Forum and Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: ‘We are very grateful to Archbishop Justin for meeting with us so early in his ministry and were encouraged by his keen interest in our work.’
Bishop Paul Hendricks, Co-Chair and Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, added: "Christian-Muslim dialogue is essential. Our work in England can be a role model for Christians and Muslims around the world. Archbishop Justin is extremely well-connected with Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria and we look forward to continuing to engage with Nigerian communities."
The Archbishop echoed the forum’s concerns for honest engagement between two different faiths, speaking of "passionate differences without passionate hatred".