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20 February, 2007

Believing in London: Youth interfaith event at the British Library

Today, 100 young people met at the British Library to take part in a one day event to discuss, and produce creative responses to, contemporary issues of religion.

The day was organised by the British Library in partnership with Diversity and Dialogue, the Citizenship Foundation project aiming to create better understanding between young people from different faiths and backgrounds.

Participants took part in a packed day including discussion sessions and workshops where attendees explored issues and ideas through 'forum theatre', spoken word poetry and visual arts. They also had the rare opportunity to question representatives from all the major religions on subjects such as misrepresentation of faiths, communinity cohesion, the role of religion in families and the right to offend.

One of the partcipants, Fatima (18) said she had gained a lot from the day "Today's event brought together people from different backgrounds giving them a chance to discuss their own beliefs, experiences and opinions, which is exactly what we need today."

Participants also recorded their views on faith and diversity to camera. These recordings made in a ‘diary room’ will be made available online to schools across the country. It is hoped that some of the discussions may also be included in the British Library’s new exhibition, Sacred, which opens on 27 April.

Diversity and Dialogue Project Manager, Becky Hatch said, “This one-day event was a great opportunity for young people to have their say on important faith-related debates such as freedom of speech, feminism, global issues and multi-faith societies.” She added: “Inter-faith dialogue is gaining increasing importance within religious education and this event provided a valuable opportunity for students to engage in dialogues about religious issues with other young people from across the city.”

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