The BBC has appointed a Muslim to be in charge of their Religion and Ethics unit. Ruth Gledhill of The Times has blogged on this here:
On Sunday, The BBC's religion and ethics programme, The Big Questions, came from Bury Grammar School. The questions ranged from data protection, through surrogate mothers to how the media portrays religions and religious leaders. The whole thing was rather fraught, so I made a point about Jewish humour and also mentioned that all religions and groups have humour. Humour is a good way to deal with the insults received by the various religions against their idea of God:
At the end I was thanked for this input by two young female Muslim members of the audience. You can see the whole thing here:
The importannce of religion was highlighted this week by the Pope's presence in Israel. The Times has dissected by the speech he made in Jerusalem. Much was made of the suffering of Christians in Israel.
However, the Catholic Tablet has rightly stated that Haifa is a beacon of race and religious relations, probably the best place for inter-ethnic harmony in the whole Middle East. Certainly, all the groups living in that city seem to get on very well and December is the time to celebrate each other's festivals. I can't access the article by Anshel Pfeffer online, but here is a link to the current edition.
Meanwhile, another very powerful blog by Ruth Gledhill on the visit, here:
Today, I've been asked to organised a visit to our synagogue by a local church group, complete with kiddush and there is also an invite for Jews and Christians to a local mosque in Bury.
These are only ripples - but ripples do grow into waves and who knows - maybe, in the not too distant future, Christians, Jews and Muslims from the Greater Manchester area might take a trip to Haifa and the north, possibly the most beautiful part of Israel, which we're also trying to plan:
There they will be able to see for themselves just how all the different groups which make up the Israeli patchwork quilt actaully do get along with each other.