Islamic Relief (IR), Christian Aid and World Jewish Relief united this week as representatives from all three organisations took part in the Woolf Institute’s Keeping Faith in Development Conference.
The conference, held at The Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge on 1-2 December 2008, looked at collaborations between Muslim, Christian and Jewish organisations when working in the Philippines, Sudan and Pakistan, attempting to explain why faith communities should work together in development, considering how UK faith-based organisations can collaborate more and helping to outline best practise.
IR’s Head of Africa Region, Makki Mohamed, gave a talk entitled, Muslim/non-Muslim Relations in Southern Sudan, which drew on IR’s experiences working with Animist and Christian communities in the region.
“In order to successfully operate in south Sudan during the civil war, IR needed to prove that it was operating in order to assist people, regardless of religion and not to proselytise. By implementing a water and sanitation programme and establishing a health clinic in the 100% non-Muslim area of Warrap, IR proved that people of faith can work together,” Mohamed said.
“Any initial suspicions from the community were overcome once we started dialogue with the community and the projects were up and running. The majority of the staff in our Warrap operation are non-Muslim,” he added.
Paul Anticoni, chief executive of World Jewish Relief gave a talk entitled, Jewish-Muslim Relations, building homes and understanding in Kashmir and Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Development Ivan Lewis also addressed delegates.
The conference was seen as an opportunity to celebrate the work different faith-based organisations have already carried out together as well as to consider future opportunities to present a united front against poverty.
“Central to all faiths, not least the Abrahamic traditions, is the duty to stand by one’s neighbours, regardless of race, colour or creed. This conference will offer a chance to strengthen the growing interfaith partnership which is working to end the poverty of so many of our neighbours across the world,” said IR CEO Saleh Saeed.