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As we approach Inter Faith Week 2023, the Multi Faith Chaplaincy team reflect on the increased significance of this year’s event.
Inter Faith Week runs from 12-19 November. This is a moment which sets out to strengthen inter faith relations at all levels and increase understanding between different faith groups. November is also Islamophobia Awareness Month.
These annual events take on a new significance this year, as we see a worrying rise in Antisemitism and Islamophobia linked to the unimaginable horror of the Israel-Gaza war.
This month the Community Security Trust reported a record number of hate incidents against British Jews – the highest since their records began in 1984, with Tell Mama reporting a sevenfold increase in Islamophobic incidents in the past month compared to the same period in 2022.
At the Multi Faith Chaplaincy, we are saddened by these stark figures. Now more than ever, we need to consider the impact of our actions as individuals. Because the things we say and do, both in person and in the online world, can make a lasting mark on the lives of others.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by what is happening in Israel and Palestine – from the thousands of innocent civilians living in fear and anguish on both sides, to the many students and staff in our community with links to the region.
We also recognise that these events are hurting others across our community, including those without direct ties to the Middle East. When one member of the human family hurts, everyone hurts. Our aim is to remember the human at the centre of this tragedy, and to place this above all else.
As faith leaders supporting the diverse community here at Goldsmiths, we stand side by side as we approach Inter Faith Week. We share our hopes and fears. We reflect, cry and share the stresses and challenges which impact us all.
Moreover, we share our humanity, informed by the different faiths which guide our relationships in the communities we serve and care deeply about, here at Goldsmiths and beyond.
The Multi Faith Chaplaincy is here for everyone in our community, regardless of your belief or faith tradition. The team offer non-judgemental support and a compassionate ear whatever difficulties you may be facing.
In the coming weeks we are running a range of activities to bring people together – from our Community Lunches to a bereavement event offering a quiet space for reflection.
As always, you can drop into the Multi Faith Chaplaincy centre during term time for free tea and coffee, or make use of our Multi Faith Prayer Rooms or quiet room, located in the Richard Hoggart Building.
And if you’d like to contact the Chaplains confidentially, email us at chaplaincy (@gold.ac.uk)
We are here for you and urge everyone in our community to be that light for others.
Revd Ann Clarke, Anglican Chaplain
Tahmid Ahmed, Muslim Chaplain
Rabbi Broder, Jewish Chaplain
Sr Anouska Robinson-Biggin, Associate Catholic Chaplain