Forgiveness and Reconciliation Interfaith Water Ceremony

2009 UN Year of Reconciliation

Forgiveness and Reconciliation Conference Full Report October 4th 2009

Convened in Friends Meeting House on October 4th 2009, the conference  included an Interfaith Water Ceremony and presentations by many faith and community leaders. Connie Rennie wrote of the afternoon, 'Differences are often emphasized between faiths and cultures, but by listening to the words of each of the leaders at the event today, one clear message was portrayed; forgiveness is a key aspect of a strong life of faith, which when practiced leads to peace within oneself, naturally allowing you to bring peace to others, as is described in Buddhist psychology, "He who loves himself will harm not another".’ Photo Link from the afternoon conference.   Read (more )



Keith Best-President Immigration Advisory Service UK

Speaking in the House of Commons Committee Room 12 to an audience of Members of the Lords and Commons and others from The Universal Peace Federation (a global alliance of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world of peace) with Lord Bikhu Parekh and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the subject ‘Contribution of Immigrants to British Society’ Keith Best, Chief Executive of IAS, said that for too long the debate about migration has been based on poor statistics and prejudice rather than facts and this was the reason that the UK in the Transatlantic Trends survey of the USA and six EU countries comes out as the most anti-immigrant in its public sentiment.

Written by Margaret Ali
Sunday, 02 November 2008 00:00
The Community Cohesion Focus Group was lucky to have two MPs:  Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Andrew Pelling MP, Independent for Croydon Central.

Tom Brake MP was an excellent first speaker.  He delivered a most comprehensive talk about the responsibility of Parliamentarians and the Government in putting in place Community Cohesion Policies which will benefit communities.  He made a special reference to immigration and how it should be handled.  He said that, although the role of the police is crucial in dealing with some situations, it is even more important that community and faith leaders take an active role in bringing this about.

Our second speaker, Andrew Pelling MP for Croydon Central , was introduced to us by Cllr. Liaquat Ali on the previous evening  at the International Leadership Conference.   He spontaneously offered to speak at our Community Cohesion Focus Group.  He spoke about some of the tough situations in Croydon, both in terms of soaring crime figures (Croydon has the highest knife crime in London), and also the isolation issues experienced by some members of the immigrant communities.   Despite the problems, he testified to the amazing harmony amongst many of the ethnic minorities in Croydon.


Front Panel Immigrants Contribution to the UK, Lord Parekh, Keith Best  and Tom Brake MP'I am described as the most hated man in England’ said Keith Best, the Chair of Immigration Advisory Service UK (IASUK), referring to a BNP website as an illustration of the controversy and confusion that surrounds the immigration debate. (Press Release link here.) Yasmin Alibhai – Brown commented that the media had surrendered the debate to the anti – immigration lobby. Lord Parekh explored how to frame an effective discussion on immigration (full speech link). Video of Seja Majeed's talk.

An impressive group of speakers gathered for a meeting on the 15th of March 2007 in the Houses of Parliament.  The topic was 'Integration, Inclusion and Identity', subtitled 'Clash of Civilisations; fact or myth?'

The meeting opened with a few words from the Chairman; Mr Shahid Malik MP who unfortunately was unable to attend.  Instead, his assistant welcomed everyone and conveyed Mr. Malik's thoughts and feelings regarding both the event and the topic area.

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