by Steven Shashoua
from Common Ground News Service
London – Girls in headscarves is not exactly what you would expect to see walking through the doors of a Catholic school in London. Yet for young people living in London today interfaith encounters are not as rare as they used to be.
While opportunities to meet people from other cultures are increasingly common, meaningful learning doesn’t always follow and they don’t necessarily bring about positive shifts in attitudes and real social change.
Over the past 15 years at the London-based Three Faiths Forum (3FF), we have developed models for creating understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs, with a particular focus on students and young people. For the last three years we have been creating links between different faith schools – some 50 in total – through our Faith School Linking programme.
At a school linking event, two or three classes from different faith schools will meet in the morning. Participating students divide into small groups and begin a task, like creating an art project, or sharing a story. They look at each other with some curiosity and hesitation at first, as they meet people very different from themselves.