The UK launch of An African Answer will take place 8-12 November, in the presence of the film’s protagonists Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, the director Dr Alan Channer and producer Dr Imad Karam.
The UK premiere will be at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), London at 6.30pm on Tuesday 9 November. The event will be chaired by
Sir Richard Jolly, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations.
The first screening for the general public will be at Friends House, Euston, at 7pm on Friday 12 November. Private screenings will also be held at St John’s College, Oxford University and Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution, Rochester – where Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye will facilitate a workshop with inmates on reducing re-offending.
An African Answer depicts a dramatic bid by Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa – former militia leaders turned peace-makers from Nigeria – to bring reconciliation in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, following communal killings. It is filmed in the district of Kenya worst hit by the post-election violence of early 2008, when around 1000 people were killed and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes and farms.
Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, describes it as ‘A very important film. We need to learn, indeed, from Imam Ashafa and Pastor James’ says Annan, ‘and multiply in a thousand places their experiences of healing and reconciliation.’
An African Answer is produced by For the Love of Tomorrow Films (FLTfilms), the film-making division of UK charity Initiatives of Change. It follows an earlier, award-winning film about the two men, The Imam and the Pastor, shot in Nigeria and narrated by Rageh Omaar. This depicted the astonishing reconciliation between the former enemies, showing that it is possible for perpetrators of inter-religious violence to become instigators of peace.
‘After the global impact of The Imam and the Pastor, we wanted to make a film that depicts the peace-building methodology of Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa,’ says director Dr Alan Channer. ‘We were ready to follow them to any conflict in the world where they were invited to mediate. Then the post-election violence erupted in Kenya. We went to Kenya, they were invited back, and we followed them again. We found ourselves witness to Africans from one country working to help those in another, in a highly effective way.’’
An African Answer had its Kenyan premiere in Nairobi in May 2010, in the same hotel in which Kofi Annan brokered the National Peace Accord. Chief Guest Francis Kimemia, Permanent Secretary for Internal Security, said ‘There are no permanent angels or permanent devils in any community. Peace needs to be deepened.This film is a resource of best practice…. It reflects the indomitable spirit of the Kenyan people.’
Looking back on the process, Imam Ashafa says: ‘This work is about helping people take charge of their own destiny. Solutions can come from the grass-roots. We touched a spirit of reconciliation that was there in the Kenyan people.’
Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye were awarded the inaugural Fondation Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention in December 2009.
An African Answer (38m)
Narrator — Kathleen Openda-Mvati
Camera – Robinson Malemo & Tony Biwott
Producer – Imad Karam
Director – Alan Channer
An African Answer is available on DVD from FLTfilms, price £15.99 (inc p&p)
Tel – 020 7798 6020 www.fltfilms.org.uk
For more information about the public premiere, please click here.
For more information on The Imam and the Pastor, please click here
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye will be available for media interviews during the day on 9 November, and on the afternoon of 12 November, as will the film’s director, Dr Alan Channer, and producer, Dr Imad Karam. Please use the contacts below for further information. Photographs of Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye and stills from the film are also available.
FLTfilms is an autonomous division of Initiatives of Change in the UK. Over a period of almost 50 years, FLTfilms has established itself as a world-class documentary film unit specialising in films which foster reconciliation and peace-building. Its name derives from a documentary film on Franco-German reconciliation, For the Love of Tomorrow.
FLTfilms is co-directed by Dr Alan Channer and Dr Imad Karam
About Initiatives of Change
Initiatives of Change is a global network of people from many cultures and nationalities who are committed to building trust across the world’s divides, starting with change in their own lives.
We run programmes for social and economic justice which encourage participants to find their own path to building trust in their community and country. These initiatives are based on a commitment to absolute moral standards of honesty, purity of heart and motive, unselfishness in private and public life, love and forgiveness. We are open to those of all faiths and none.
About the RSA
For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. The RSA provides one of the biggest free events programmes in the UK, enabling leading thinkers and new voices to share ideas on key contemporary issues. The RSA’s work is supported by an international Fellowship of 27,000 people and is based at a historic London house designed by Robert Adam in the early 1770s.
Background to An African Answer
More than 1,000 people were killed following disputed elections in Kenya at the end of 2007. Suspicion over the validity of the poll and fears of a change in the balance of power between Kenya’s ethnic groups sparked widespread violence. On 1January 2008, near the town of Eldoret, a mob attacked and set fire to a church where hundreds of people had taken refuge. Some 40 people were burned to death.
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Smith (07986 179776)
Don de Silva (07904 122248)
020 7798 6000
Venue: Park Campus, University of Northampton,
Northampton NN2 7AL, UK
This conference gathers academics, journalists, researchers, policy
makers, youth workers, civil society organisations and other members of the public to discuss issues around Muslims in Europe, identity, citizenship and belonging. It aims to address issues relating to Muslims’ engagement or disengagement with the mainstream European society; what challenges are there for their positive participation in the success of the multiculturalism model. It will also aim to map out Muslims’ use of the media and the extent to which that helps define who they are.
This conference will cover (but not necessarily limited to) the following areas of enquiry:
– European or Muslim: What do Muslims in Europe believe to be
– Multiculturalism and Integration: What does this actually mean?
– Active citizenship: What does this mean in Islamic terms?
– The relationship between British Muslims and the global Muslim
community – the Ummah.
– The rise of political Islam – Islamism
– Post 9/11 Radicalisation and terrorism
– New media and youth/women empowerment.
– Youth subcultures and new media, what is going on?
– What functions are the internet and satellite TV playing in
engaging/disengaging Muslim communities?
Call for submissions:
Abstracts of no more than 400 words, along with a short bio should be submitted by the 15th October 2010. Papers should reflect one or more of the conference themes mentioned above. Particularly welcome are papers based on empirical work and a clear research method (s).
Submission of abstracts: 15th October 2010
Notification of acceptance: 3rd November 2010
Submission of full papers: 26th January 2011
Selected conference papers will be published in an edited volume.
Please send all submissions and enquiries to Dr Noureddine Miladi
(conference coordinator), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)1604 892104
Britain’s fight against terrorism has been a disaster, because its “flawed, neo-conservative” direction alienated Muslims and increased the chances of terrorist attacks, a former leading counter-terrorism officer has told the Guardian.
Speaking to mark today’s fifth anniversary of the 7 July attacks in London, Dr Robert Lambert said the atrocity had led the Labour government to launch not just the publicly declared battle against al-Qaida, but a much wider counter-subversive campaign that targeted non-violent Muslims and branded them as supporters of violence.
For more information, please click here
Whatever the outcome of the election on May 7th, as HA Hellyer recently wrote on Cif, Muslims around the country are likely to play a significant role in influencing the outcome of dozens of seats. The second largest faith community, which constitutes no more than 4% of the total population, has come of age and become quite astute in dealing with the elections according to interests, priorities and concerns, many of which are shared by a majority of the British people.
Amidst nervousness at the sharpening of rhetoric against Iran and a frustration of the stalemate in the issue of Israel and Palestine, the 7th US-Muslim world Forum took place in Doha between the 13th – 15th of February in Doha, Qatar.
Conceding that the Obama Administration had not yet delivered on some of its signature foreign policy goals, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pleaded for patience saying that ‘Building a stronger relationship can not happen overnight or even in a year’. Addressing the conference via video link President Obama tried to focus on practical steps that the US had taken in trying to forge a new relationship with the Muslim World. He also mentioned the appointment of Rashad Hussein as his special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Countries as a commitment to his seeking a new beginning with the Muslim World.
The 3 day forum which had a multitude of guests from all sorts of disciplines across the world included guests such as Anwar Ibrahim (Opposition Leader in Malaysia), Racep Tayyip Erdogan (Prime Minister of Turkey) and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah (Saudi Arabia) amongst others.
The forum explored issues in 5 different working groups designed to generate dialogue, ideas and policy recommendations to address challenges such as democracy, interfaith relations, diplomacy and civil society development. The working groups were:
- Role of Religious Leaders and Religious Communities in Diplomacy
- Democracy and Islamic Parties: Opportunities and Challenges
- Transformative Partnerships in US-Muslim World Relations: Empowering Networks for Community Development and Social Change
- Scientific, Intellectual and Governance Cooperation on Emerging Environmental Challenges
- New Media to further Global Engagement.
The event was not without its critics though. Some who expressed concerns over the sponsors of the forum itself , whilst others expressed disappointment at the lack of real sign for moving beyond rhetoric and at the failure of the US administration to address burning issues
For more information about the event, please click here
On closing the World Parliament of Religions on the 9th of December after 6 full days of deliberation, discussion and celebration, The Dalai Lama challenged the participants to put what they had discussed to action. In order for love and compassion to become a reality, he said that there would need to be a new type of ‘secularism’ – not a secularism that denies the importance of religion but one which respects the practitioners of all religions and of none.
‘Beliefs may differ, but the core practices of love and compassion are common in all traditions’ he concluded.
The Dalai Lama’s comments put an end to a highly successful gathering where the theme was on coming together despite differences to show unity in common challenges. That unity was displayed with a gesture of solidarity with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and also showed solidarity with representatives of indigenous people from around the world. One of the main discussion points throughout theParliament was an Islam 101 series which focussed on improving people’s understanding and perceptions of Islam. The series featured contributions from Professor Tariq Ramadan; Dr Chandra Muzzafer; Imam Faizel Abdul Rauf; Imam Khalid Griggs amongst other leaders and civil society activists. TCF also featured prominently in the Parliament sitting in on 4 panel discussions.
For more information on the Parliament’s events, please click here
As young people of the Christian and Islamic faiths we call upon those negotiating on our behalf in Copenhagen to acknowledge our voice and to attend to the critical matters of man-made climate change with urgency and vigour.
Although we are individuals from a great many backgrounds, ideals and variances of faith, we draw upon our collective moral and religious conscience to take responsibility for the condition of our planet and its people. We are aware of the evidence, understand the issues, and recognise that global warming will produce numerous unacceptable repercussions; in particular we are aware that changes in our climate will have disproportionate effects on the poor and irreversible consequences for future generations. Our faith obligates us to care for the earth and to attend to those who are in need and as our representatives we call on you to take heed of this and act effectively.
To help mitigate climate change…
As a growing number of your constituents, we are ready, willing and able to do our part in mitigating the effects of climate change and are calling on you to lead us in immediate action. Action must start now. It is unacceptable that the majority of the country does not know the true extent of climate change and you must address this through developing a stronger awareness at all levels(including individuals, communities, and businesses).
To drive these changes we want to see stronger policy incentives for sustainable practises and deterrents against harmful practises (especially through greater accountability and penalties). We demand a refocus toward greener technology and innovation through more investment as well as responsiveness to the effects of the total production process. Furthermore we demand a fair global deal with developed countries taking the lead in responsibility. Failure to act adequately will impinge on future generations and account for millions of lives worldwide.
To help us adapt to climate change…
We ask that all people are educated on climate change to give them the knowledge that they need to engage with strategy and policy making, and that knowledge and good practices developed locally are shared and fed into government strategy and policies for adaptation. A political and economic system more conducive to adaptation must be pursued which removes barriers to adaptation by promoting trade justice, transparency and the provision of sufficient resources (money, technology, skills).
We ask that your approach to the negotiations in Copenhagen ensures that local economies and agriculture are developed. More policymakers should work with farmers, equipping them to keep food in production locally. They should be empowered to maintain ecosystems and bio diversity and to share resources among their communities, so they are able to work together on the ground. Policymakers need to also recognise that faith based organisations are a catalyst for empowerment and delivery.
To tackle the issues on funding our response to climate change…
When signing the UN Convention, countries agreed to the principle that as developed countries with worldwide climate debt they are morally, politically and legally obligated to take full financial responsibility for their actions.
This responsibility should be two fold; ensuring that our future development puts climate justice at its centre alongside enabling countries in the south to fulfil their right to develop.
Two hundred billion dollars a year is urgently required to tackle this critical environmental crisis. This should be raised through public finance and administered by the UN to ensure transparency and democratic representation of all nations. We see no place for the World Bank’s involvement in raising the required funds. We need to make it explicit that this is not charity but a historical debt that developed nations have incurred through overconsumption. It is clear that this is achievable based on the recent bail out of financial institutions costing $3-7 trillion and the Iraq war which cost $1 trillion. We call for developed nations to commit a minimum of 1% of their GDP to climate finance without conditionality.
Just financial implementation is necessary by using the most appropriate community-based and sustainable solutions to lead to a low carbon future. These include partnering with faith groups and young people, the future generation, who will be left with the consequences of inaction. Communities can propagate and maintain hope, raise awareness and morals and contribute to a changed mindset. Furthermore they can promote a rights-based approach to climate change based upon shared belief, openness, responsibility and accountability.
We believe in a global green deal that will deliver real economic benefits for all.
Technology is the right of all and as we are called to be stewards of nature, so we are also called to be good stewards of the ideas and technology that we have developed. This is a crucial time for the global north to use its technologies in partnership with the global south to ensure growth on an environmentally constructive pathway.
Western countries are too possessive of technology so we need to give access to our resources. This should include the creation of a fund to buy out patents and restructuring patents to take advantage of the long-term benefits of their utilisation by developing countries. Governments need to commit to investments through small businesses and social entrepreneurs to provide green sustainable jobs and transferring technology abroad; this will have long term benefits to all including themselves and all other stakeholders. Accountability and responsibility should be undertaken by a partnership of stakeholders including world leaders, grass roots community leaders, faith leaders, NGOs and business people. These proposals will instil a sense of justice which is not defined by short-term economic incentives.
For more information on this subject (and other related issues) please click here
The mind is boggled by the fact that Switzerland, a country renowned for its tolerant nature, could come to see less than a handful of minarets as a threat to its identity and culture.
The main campaign poster used by far right groups to rally against the construction of minarets in Switzerland depicted a Muslim woman in niqab standing before a multitude of minarets graphically rendered to look like missiles.
Switzerland’s Commission Against Racism said that the campaign poster defamed the country’s Muslim minority.
Neither the niqab nor the minaret is characteristic of the Muslim community in Switzerland but both have been regularly used to stoke the flames of hatred and fear against Muslims throughout Europe in recent times.
And it was that fear which pushed over half of Swiss voters to choose, by a majority of 57 per cent, to support the minaret ban called for by the Union Démocratique du Centre (UDC), a right wing populist party.
The only way forward is for a realisation that Europe is not built solely on a Judeo-Christian heritage, but that Muslims too have played a vital and significant role in shaping modern day Europe through contributions of culture, arts, politics, law, theology, science, medicine and dozens of other disciplines.
There must be a realisation too that the 30 million or so European Muslims have become part of the European social fabric, through an invaluable contribution which they have made over decades if not for centuries.
To read the full article, please click here
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