Interfaith Week: ‘Different faiths must work together to prevent radicalisation’ – Sofia Mahmood

This week is Interfaith Week, aimed at opening up interfaith dialogue and ensuring more people are aware of the vital work communities and organisations do to bring different faiths together, founder and director of  Empowering Minds, shares her first person experiences for Interfaith Week. 

In my work with Empowering Minds, I have found that when there is a common understanding, individuals can come together. Empowering Minds work with mothers in Bradford participating in our programme ‘Empowering Mothers Against Radicalisation and Grooming’. The programme is designed to educate and empower women to stand up to some of the biggest challenges British society faces today, radicalisation and grooming.

Our programmes bring together mothers from different communities to face up to “difficult conversations” and learn how to approach controversial subjects with their children. Mothers from a range of backgrounds, and importantly, a range of faiths, join together, to learn, to discuss and to act to prevent radicalisation. By doing this, we give mothers the support, skills and confidence to make an even bigger difference to the lives of their families and communities.

Our programme creates a safe space for open and honest discussions about their perceptions and experiences. Acceptance and tolerance cannot be achieved if faiths are not brought together. The interfaith element is what makes our programme unique and is what has made it a success and continue to grow.

What is more, extremists don’t come from one religion or background. Our programmes explore extremist and far right messaging to understand the nature and scale of the risks involved, exploring what makes young people vulnerable and how best to protect them.

The fight against radicalisation cannot be limited to one faith, all faiths must come together to work on preventing radicalisation. On all sides of extremism, misunderstanding and doubt are manipulated to create division and turn communities against one another. We all have a responsibility to stand up to this and help protect our families by reclaiming the narrative.

It’s our job to start conversation, and a genuine and informed conversation cannot be limited to one faith, it must be an open dialogue between different faiths.

For further support, please visit Empowering Minds: http://empoweringminds.co.uk/

 

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