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November 2nd, 2012

Diversity

I was asked to do a lecture on working in a Multi Faith environment last week. It was a really interesting opportunity, it is something I am really aware of, working in Tower Hamlets. 60 – 70% of the young people we work with are of a Bangladeshi ethnic origin and I would say that most would describe themselves as Muslim, we also have a number of Somali young people that would also describe themselves as Muslim. We have a number of young people that would describe themselves as Christians and then some that would claim to have no faith.

Spirituality is such an important part of the young people’s lives we work with and is often close to the surface and comes out all the time in conversation or activities. For the lecture I decided to interview a couple of young people to ask them what it was like to be a Bangladeshi Muslim in East London in 2012, I did this whilst they were in the middle of a game of pool. As they played and argument ensued (as is fairly normal amongst young people playing pool) then one of the young people swore on the Holy Quran, that they were right and the other young person was wrong. Until I brought it to there attention they did not even realise what they were doing or had done! I asked them did they think their faith was in everything they did – citing the game of pool as an example, after thinking for a while they said that they thought it was. It is really important for us at the Canaan Project to talk about Faith and to engage in Dialogue with young people about faith, it’s sometimes easier to skim over these topics of conversation because they are complicated, at the Canaan Project we try our best to tackle them and engage in them, in order that we might learn and the young people might also learn.