Archbishop to host launch of Christian Muslim Forum
Friday 20th January 2006The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is to host the inaugural meeting and formal launch of the Christian Muslim Forum next Tuesday 24th January, 2006.
Dr Williams will address the first meeting of the Forum, which brings a wide range of Christians and Muslims involved in community life together with specialist members. The Forum is also supported by scholar consultants drawn from academic life. As the Forum's Founding Patron, Dr Williams will then welcome senior church and faith leaders, politicians and other guests at an evening reception to mark the Forum's inception.
The Christian Muslim Forum has come into being as the result of a Listening Initiative first proposed in 1997 whose report, published in 2004, recommended that a formal structure for dialogue and encounter would bring stability and promote understanding between the two faith communities as they encounter issues of difference and of common concern and seek to enhance their contribution to public life. An implementation group headed by the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd David Gillet and Dr Ataullah Siddiqui has brought the Christian Muslim Forum into being as a direct result of that recommendation.
The Forum has been constituted as a charitable company. It has eight presidents - four Muslim and four Christian; twelve specialist members covering Community and Public Affairs, Education, Family Issues, International Affairs, Media and Youth; and six scholar consultants. The Forum's structure also provides for two full-time directors, one of whom has already been appointed from the Christian Community.
The Forum will meet three times a year; and will itself determine the precise nature of its business in its early meetings.
Funding for the project has come from a mix of sources including grants from Christian and Muslim bodies, other trusts and a start-up grant from the Home Office.
Dr Williams said the Forum was a great achievement.
"As Founding Patron of the Christian Muslim Forum, I'm delighted that the hard work that has been put into this project by so many people has achieved so much. Christians and Muslims have learnt a great deal over the past ten years about working together. I very much hope that the Christian Muslim Forum will provide an opportunity for the members and consultants from both communities to explore together their common and different perspectives on issues affecting us all. I look forward to seeing their work develop."