Scottish Interfaith Week is over. More than 80 events took place all over Scotland. For me it was my very first Interfaith Week and I really liked it. When I look back to the last week I remember a very good dialogue at the Scriptural Reasoning in Edinburgh about food and food restrictions in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. I remember a very nice Launch event people of different generations and faith backgrounds came together and not only talked about the theme “Creativity and the Arts” but also became creative themselves in different workshops. I remember interesting talks and tours at St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow – even if there were not many people coming to those events. I remember a nice evening in Ayr organized by the local interfaith group with Choir music, a speech by a local painter and dialogue about what inspires people. I remember interesting meetings with youthworkers from five European countries who learned about inclusive youthwork during Scottish Interfaith Week. I remember a interesting event at the Scottish Parliament where the fantastic “Our Story” exhibition in Edinburgh was celebrated (you can see the exhibition about religious minorities until next April in the Museum of Edinburgh). I remember a nice evening with the Glasgow Baha’i community with interesting information about the Houses of Worship on the different continents. I remember a very positive speech of the local imam about religious diversity and pluralism at the Interfaith Lecture in Kirkcaldy in Fife. Last but not least I remember the great Interfaith Family Fun Day in Glasgow, with a lot of people from different faiths and nationalities.
Of course the events I could attend were only a small part of the huge range of events during the last week and also in the next days there will be some more events taking place.
But what stays in the end of this eight days full of events?
At first a lot of people all over the country who put a lot of time and energy into the week. Thank you for everything you have done for making this week and all the different events happen, whether you did this as part of your job or (and this is the large majority) in your free time, besides your work and family life.
Second, there is the huge group of people who came to events. Many of them might have been to interfaith events before, but I’m sure there were also a lot of people who went to interfaith events for the first time. Bringing these people together and showing them how to celebrate religious diversity and how to have dialogue with each other is a large achievement of Interfaith Week.
Third, around Interfaith Week there was a lot of publicity work going on. Articles in local newspapers, a radio interview at BBC Radio Scotland and a lot of posts on different Social Media platforms helped to spread the word about interfaith even outside the “bubble” of people who are already involved in interfaith work. Also the different MPs and MSPs and representatives of local authorities and faith communities who attended events are part of this project to spread the news about interfaith work in Scotland.
And what is happening now? Of course there will be an Interfaith Week in 2018 again, but until then it is also possible to increase the interfaith work. Interfaith is not only a theme for one week but for our everyday life. If you share this opinion, feel warmly invited to contact your local interfaith group or Interfaith Scotland. There are always projects and possibilities where you can geting engaged as a volunteer. You could also contact the faith communities in your local area and see if you can start your own local interfaith project (for example around a religious festival). Interfaith Scotland is always trying to support such projects as good as possible. So please, spread the word and continue the interfaith dialogue that has started/increased during the last week!