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26 January, 2007

Young Londoners address religion and diversity in the city

‘Believing in London’ brought together 100 young Londoners from a wide range of different faiths and backgrounds. It asked them to share their experiences of religion and diversity in London. Participants came in school groups, with youth or faith groups or as individuals.

The event was attended by young people from all of the major faiths and we particularly targeted smaller faith groups as part of the recruitment drive. Most of the participants were Muslim, Christian or secular. Smaller numbers of participants also represented each of the major faiths. A majority of participants were female, but a targeted recruitment drive ensured that there was a reasonable gender balance.

The young participants took part in a day of activities and discussion. This involved workshops in different creative mediums and discussion sessions covering a range of contemporary and controversial issues. We also held a central Q & A session that gave participants the opportunity to put questions to young representatives from the major faiths.

The aim of the day was to bring young people together to engage in dialogues and discussions about issues of religion, diversity and identity. It provided a valuable opportunity for them to hear a variety of perspectives and to learn from each other’s experiences.

Participants were given a choice of activities and they signed up for sessions on the day. They took two different workshops and one discussion session; as well all attending the central Q & A session.

All of the discussion sessions were recorded and the participants’ opinions will be edited into an educational resource that can be used to stimulate discussions as part of Religious Education. This will be launched along side the British Library’s new exhibition, Sacred, which opens on 27 April 2007. This groundbreaking exhibition brings together some of the world’s most important and beautiful religious texts for the first time. Rare examples of Jewish, Christian and Muslim sacred texts from the Library’s collections will be presented alongside treasures on loan from other institutions. Sacred marks the first time that sacred texts from these three faiths will have been displayed and explored together, side by side, in a major UK exhibition.

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