October 12, 2010 Faith Matters

Faiths joining up to protect teenagers from extremism

This is Derbyshire, Faiths joining up to protect teenagers from extremismFAITH leaders in Derby have produced a booklet aimed at preventing young people getting involved in violent extremism.

Called Our Faiths and Our Shared Futures, it aims to show the similarities between religions practised in the city and set the record straight to balance extremist views.

It also calls on Christians, Muslims and Jews to learn more about each other’s faiths and take a stand against hate, extremism and intolerance.

The booklet, to be used in schools, is the result of a year’s work by imams, priests, rabbis and young people in Derby.

It has been put together by cohesion organisation Faith Matters on behalf of the Derby Community Safety Partnership.

Dawn Robinson, the partnership’s lead officer for community cohesion, said: “Extremist groups often target young people in Derby, encouraging them to act violently on the grounds of religious beliefs.

“Young people across different communities in the city support the booklet’s aim of setting the record straight on every religion to balance these more extremist views.”

Writers of the booklet say it is aimed at stopping young people “falling prey to divisive or violent interpretations of holy texts”.

They say the booklet aims to show that there are similarities between the three faiths, including the fact that all three value life and reject violence.

The booklet also explores the use of the word jihad, which has become associated with suicide bombers.

The writers say it means struggle and that the biggest struggle Muslims face is to make themselves better people.

It also states that the Muslim holy book The Koran says that war must be a last resort and suicide attacks are a sin.

Dr Phil Henry, director of the Multifaith Centre at the University of Derby, said: “There is a great deal of value in exploring, across religious and cultural boundaries, how sacred texts are understood in our society.

“Examining similarities and differences in our communities allows us to better understand our faith traditions and each other.”

Partnership director Karen Johnson said: “This important project is part of our overall work to support and strengthen local communities by working with young people to tackle issues that directly affect their lives.”

The 18-page booklet will also be used by community groups in the city.

No-one was available to reveal the cost of the project.

Source: This is Derbyshire. By claire duffin cduffin@derbytelegraph.co.uk