Scottish Interfaith Week 2017

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.

Family Fun Day

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!2017-11-18 19.46.48


Are you ready for Scottish Interfaith Week?

Have you already planned what you do during the next week? No? Than have a look at and start planning!

At the moment the official programme contains 69 events all over Scotland. There is at least one event in every region. So there can’t be any excuses that Interfaith Week is only happening somewhere else. The events take part from Dumfries and the Borders in the south to Orkney and Shetland in the north and from Skye and Ayr in the west to St. Andrews and Aberdeen in the East. At the Scottish Interfaith Week website you can sort the events by region or by date, so it is very easy to find events that suit your diary. But what kind of events are happening? There is a very long range of events according to this year’s theme “Creativity and the Arts”, here some examples:


If you like listening to music (and who does not?) you could visit an Interfaith Concert, for example on Shetland  or Edinburgh. Or maybe you would like to sing yourself? There are opportunities in Moray, Aberdeen and Stirling. You can also be creative in other ways than singing, for example at the Papercutting Event in Falkirk, at the “Fellowship, Food and Fun” Event in Dumfries or the “Family Fun Day” in Glasgow. If you want to experience other kind of arts than the ones mentioned above, maybe the Film event on Skye, the “Poetry and Spirituality” event in Glasgow, the theatre event in Paisley, the “Arts and Creativity” evening in Ayr, the “Food and Poetry” evening in Inverness, the film evening in Edinburgh,   the Dance event in Paisley, the evening about Baha’i architecture in Glasgow or the tour and meditation at Coldingham Priory is the best for you. If you like discussions about texts the Scriptural Reasonings in Edinburgh and Glasgow or the Meeting in Kirkwall/Orkney are perfect for you. Fife Interfaith Group is organising a Interfaith Lecture in Kirkcaldy and in Dundee you can join an Interfaith Symposium. Dundee is also the place for this year’s official Launch event.

If you live in another part of the UK you will also find events happening there. The English, Welsh and Northern-Irish events can be found at I’m sure everyone can find at least one event suitable for him/her and I’m looking forward to this very special week. I wish all of you a wonderful Interfaith Week with great experiences.


Creativity and the Arts

The last weeks one important part of my work was the preparation of resources for this years Scottish Interfaith Week. This year’s theme for Scottish Interfaith Week is “Creativity and the Arts”.

I must admit, when I first heard about this theme, I wasn’t very euphoric. I’ve never been very well in doing arts on my own and although I like going to museums and sometimes galleries art is not my main area of interest and art and music classes in school were one of those I liked less.

But during the last weeks, while exploring the diversity of religious art, I realised that looking on religious art might be a good way for learning about a religious tradition.

Here are two examples:

By 柑橘類 (talk) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Von พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี (ผู้ถ่าย-ปล่อยสัญญาอนุญาตภาพให้นำไปใช้ได้เพื่อการศึกษาโดยอยู่ภา่ยใต้ cc-by-sa-3.0)ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ – เทวประภาส มากคล้าย – Tevaprapas Makklay (พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี), CC BY-SA 3.0,

Why are these to Buddha statues so different? They were made in different times, different countries and from people belonging to different Buddhist traditions. One is from India in the time of the Gupta Empire (320-550 CE) and one is from Japan and was made in 1981.

By Jörg Bittner Unna – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Why is Moses often showed horned in Western Christian tradition? If people look eg at the statue of Moses made by Michelangelo they might think Moses looks like the devil. But that’s not what the artist wanted to say. He just followed the Latin Art tradition. Christians in the middleages read the Bible (if they could read) in the Latin translation, the Vulgate. In this bible translation a Hebrew word, which literally means something like “shining” is translated by a Latin word meaning “horned”. L looking at this statue can tell you a lot about the complicated history of Christians and Jews using the same scriptures as their holy book in translating them in different languages, cultures and traditions.

From my point of view looking on different art traditions during Scottish Interfaith Week can improve the knowledge about the different traditions. There is a lot more to explore about Paintings, statues, Architecture, stories, poems, music, dances and so on!

If you are interested in attending some events during Scottish Interfaith Week or maybe hosting an event on your own or if you just want to know more about Scottish Interfaith week have a look on its brand-new website!