Youth Work Training Day

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Inter faith Youth work is to “help young people to learn how to do dawah/evangelism”, “to counter terrorism”,” to bring peace in local area”. These were examples of statements that were meant to classify inter faith during a youth work training day organised by the Feast, showing both bad motivation and good motivation for inter faith youth work.

Needless to say, “dawah/ evangelism” and “counter terrorism” were not in the good motivation column. Indeed, the tutors from The Feast Birmingham Jenni and Nahim explained that it is crucial to set clear motivations, not only to select carefully partners and funding organisations, but also to be able to explain or re-explain to parents the aims of work with their children. 

The Feast is a Christian based organisation. Young Christians and Muslims explore faith and build friendship .They are empowered to become peacemakers and inspire change in their communities.

The session introduced a Code of conduct and guidelines for dialogue such as “listen”, “respect other people’s view”, ”do not force people to agree with you” is also key when working in this setting with young people. 

The tutors offered activities which they do with their youth so we had to pretend to be thirteen again! Although they said, the activities are designed for young people, it was fun to use sweets in order to introduce ourselves and know a little bit about each other. Other activities involved putting into practice listening skills and exploring faith in small groups, answering question such as “do you think dreams come from God?”

Back to adulthood, the afternoon session was planning an event for young people considering how to recruit them, taking into consideration the challenge of inter faith from young people’s perspective.

This training ended up with case studies, a “what would you do?” session, from youth flirting to a case of conversion. Listening to the tutors explain how they dealt with situations, it was obvious that clear motivation, a code of conduct and guidelines for dialogue are foundations of inter faith work with young people. In each case, the tutors went back to these three elements.

Regarding the word “conversion”, one of the participants spotted “a nightmare!” However in years at the Feast the tutors experienced only one that seemed, rather than a conversion, a quest for identity (person went back to faith of origin). As they are witnessing and as those who are involved in inter faith know, young people’s faiths strengthen and true friendships are built.

 

Fatima Adamou 

Volunteer, Christian Muslim Forum

 

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