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The Three Faiths Forum- Helping Children Understand

Photograph by Cathal Mcnaughton/PA

A Three Faiths Forum event in action.

by Jessica Abrahams
from The Guardian

Fifteen years ago, a Muslim scholar, a Christian priest and a Jewish philanthropist came together in London to create¬†Three Faiths Forum¬†(3FF), a platform for community leaders to engage with each another and break down barriers. But today, some of the most valuable work the charity undertakes is in schools, ensuring that tensions between faith communities don’t trickle down to the next generation.

Often this will simply be making sure that children of different faiths have an opportunity to meet one another or addressing a lack of knowledge about other religions; occasionally more severe problems occur. “We’re contacted by RE teachers to help when there’s been anti-Jewish, -Muslim or -Christian sentiment,” says Debbie Danon, the charity’s education manager.

Deputy director Rachel Heilbron speaks of one particularly serious case they became involved with last year. A teacher discussing the features of a church with a group of 14-year-old students at a non-denominational school in London mentioned synagogues. Some of the students complained they didn’t want to learn about “Jew stuff”. They said that Jews were dirty and smelly and that they kept money under their hats. As the situation escalated, some of the children began banging on the tables, chanting: “Kill the Jews, kill the Jews.”

Click here to read full article

What to Expect at the 2009 Parliament of Religions

Seven days may sound like plenty of time for interreligious dialogue but with a combination of observances, programs and plenaries you won’t run out of things to do at the Melbourne Parliament. For a look at the daily schedule, click here and to take a look at our hundreds of programs organized by subtheme, click here. You can also take a look at our current list of major speakers, and featured artists and musicians. Don’t miss out on our 2009 youth program and film program, our communities night and offsite programs.