The launch of Scottish Interfaith Week took place on Sunday 13th November. It was a wonderful occasion and we were delighted to host the event in partnership with Renfrewshire Interfaith Group and Renfrewshire Council. Members of Renfrewshire Interfaith group met regularly with Interfaith Scotland’s Development Officer on the lead up to the event and their enthusiasm, commitment and plenty of bright ideas made the job of planning and running the event a lot easier! We were also very grateful to Renfrewshire Council who donated the Grand Hall at Paisley Town Hall as well as a generous donation towards the catering costs.
The event began with a delicious vegetarian lunch. During the lunch there was an opportunity to view stalls with artefacts from eight world faiths as well as exhibitions from Interfaith Scotland, Engage Renfrewshire, Paisley 2021 and Police Scotland. There was also an exhibition of the winners of the Interfaith Week art competition on the theme of ‘religion and the media’ which was won by pupils of Wallace Primary School in Elderslie, Renfrewshire.
Those gathered were delighted by the dulcet tones of Emma Durkan on the clarsach during the lunch.
Dr Maureen Sier, Director of Interfaith Scotland was our compere for the afternoon and also introduced the theme of Scottish Interfaith Week, ‘Religion and the Media’. Provost Anne Hall welcomed those gathered on behalf of Renfrewshire Council. Stephen Haggerty then gave a welcome on behalf of Renfrewshire Interfaith Group.
Those gathered experienced a powerful drama written by Shelagh McKay and Jean Urquhart from Renfrewshire Interfaith Group which illustrated how invisible and vulnerable people of faith can feel when they are portrayed negatively in the media .
Cathy MacDonald, a bilingual broadcaster, gave the keynote address. Samina Ansari, CEO of Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre spoke about the effect that negative media reporting can have on people of faith. Jennifer Jones, researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, spoke about ways in which community groups can access and utilise social media.
There were also wonderful performances by Aria, an award winning choir, and Abhinaya, an Indian dance academy, both based in Glasgow.