Facilitated by The Cordoba Foundation, a roundtable discussion was held on the 1st of October exploring the role of religious institutions in peace building in conflict affected Sri Lanka.
Led by Dr S.H Hasbullah, a prominent academic from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, the discussion centred around the role of the Mosque Federation in Kathankudy, a town in Eastern Sri Lanka, which as a consequence of the conflict, had to take a leadership role at the local level to successfully address issues of survival of the community. In mapping the part played by the organisation, the discussion centered around the future relevance for roles played by such religious institutions in a post conflict Sri Lanka. The presentation by Dr Hasbullah built on a long period investigation on the aspect of religion and conflict in eastern Sri Lanka undertaken by the University of Edinbugh and SOAS which was presented at the Royal Geographic Society.
In attendance at the discussions were representatives from the Sri Lankan High Commission and the office of the President of Sri Lanka.
A quarterly journal providing deeper and nuanced analysis of the issues and developments in the arena of dialogue, civilizations, and a rapprochement between Islam and the West
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In this edition, Arches Quarterly explores numerous perspectives on globalisation in an age of increased difference and divergence, while at the same time, witnessing noticeable convergence around ideology, faith and beliefs.
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) rejects utterly libellous allegations made against it by co-director of the Quilliam Foundation Maajid Nawaz. On Sunday 8 August on the Sky News Sunday Live programme, Nawaz falsely claimed that “The Cordoba Foundation, they in Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, hosted the Al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki”.
This accusation is baseless, since TCF has at no time organised or hosted any event at the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall. Nawaz is basing this accusation on a similar report issued by the Centre for Social Cohesion in 2009, which TCF refuted in a statement on 13 November 2009.
It is utterly absurd for Nawaz to state that TCF had hosted Al-Awlaki given that Al-Awlaki has attacked and declared un-Islamic (Haram or Kufr) a number of initiatives and projects which TCF either run or fully support that encourage wider engagement of young Muslims with British and European politics and the media.
This accusation by Nawaz is illustrative of the lack of professionalism, accuracy, sound academic research and even truth, demonstrated by him and the Quilliam Foundation.
Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation said “Nawaz’s baseless claim exposes the Quilliam Foundation’s amateurish and flawed working methods for what they are: cheap and simple, for the purposes of achieving mudslinging tabloid notoriety. It is surprising that any political party, organisation or individual should continue to accord such organisations credibility or respect.”
TCF demands Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation retract the accusation forthwith. Failing to do so will compel TCF to seek legal council.
The Cordoba Foundation continues to pursue its aims and objectives through actual projects, real initiatives and true engagement with those who matter for the future of our country.
This issue deals with the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation by exploring real life stories and was presented by Michael Henderson at St Ethelburgas Centre for Reconciliation and Peace on the 18th of August 2010
Michael Henderson is the first to admit that his work has no academic basis. Rather he prefers to ‘tell stories’. The difference though is that his stories are based on hands-on experience of real life men and women working to build bridges between people of differing colours, cultures and languages.
mh 5.jpgSo on the 17th of August as part of The Cordoba Seminar series in the impressive settings of St Ethelburgas Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, he shared his stories ‘as a privilege of highlighting the readiness of men and women to forgive and ask for forgiveness’.
mh 3.jpgFrom Nigeria, to Lebanon, to Israel, India and Northern Ireland, Michael criss crossed the countries sharing the stories of individuals taking responsibility to move beyond victimhood, to create safe spaces in the purposes of forging alliances. In his words, Michael says ‘ The building of relationships of trust is a priority and now more than ever, we need reconciliation and forgiveness’.
Michael highlights 6 key steps which he has found is essential in the process of reconciliation and forgiveness and which he has found are backed up by his stories:
The concept of ‘a Clash or an Alliance?’
The need to ‘Reach out to the “Other”’
The need to ‘Move beyond Victimhood’
The need to ‘take Responsibility’
The concept of ‘Creating a Safe Space’
The need to ‘Acknowledge the Past’
mh 1.jpgThese are not mutually exclusive according to Michael but are systematic milestones that need to be achieved if true reconciliation is the end goal.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, where forgiveness and mercy from two key components, Michael’s speech was even more poignant, a factor reiterated by the chair of the event, Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation
As he concluded his speech Michael quotes Rajmohan Ghandi (the grandson of Mhatama Ghandi) who says that the ‘call for reconciliation is in the end a call for sanity’.