Finding the facts on faith

Published: Wednesday 8th December 10

Pupils from Wandsworth secondary schools went to a unique town hall ‘speed-dating’ event to mark this year’s Inter-Faith Week

Photo of the Venerable Phrakru Samu Lom talking to Wandsworth studentsThe Faith Direct event gave them the chance to fire a series of quick-fire questions at representatives from the borough's different faith groups.

The event was organised by the council and the Wandsworth Local Strategic Partnership Faith-Sub-group. It brought together speakers from local Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Baha'i, Humanist and Buddhist communities.

Faith Direct aims to increase young people's knowledge of the different faiths and beliefs practised in the borough, promote understanding, tolerance and respect and offer an open forum for dialogue.

This year's event was the most successful yet with ten schools and more than 100 students attending. The young people conducted a whistle-stop tour round the room interviewing each representative in turn. The questioning lasted 15 minutes before a bell was rung and the students moved on to the next table.

The tables were manned by: Mr C.K Sharma (The Hindu Society);  (Buddhapadipa Temple); Rev McKinney (Holy Trinity Parish Church), Father Teece (St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church); Mrs  Ghata-Aura (Sikh Gurdwara); Farooq Mirza (The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community); Ms Cato Koppel (Wimbledon and District Synagogue), Kathleen Hardy and Reem Shaheed (Baha'i),Dr Caspar Melville (New Humanist Magazine), Imam Gangat (Balham Mosque and Al-Risalah Education Trust) and Andy Pring (Interfaith youth worker)

Deputy chairman of the WLSP Multi-Faith Group Cllr Angela Graham said:

"This unique event helps improve young people's understanding of all the different faiths and beliefs that co-exist in Wandsworth."

"The students pulled no punches with their questions. They asked probing questions about extremism, the differences between different beliefs and the significance of having a faith"

The event was open to young people in Year 9 or above. All those attending received a fact pack in advance summarising the main characteristics of the different beliefs.

After the event, speakers said they enjoyed having the opportunity to challenge stereotypes about their beliefs and students said the event had added to their knowledge

Find out more about the work of the multi-faith group at   


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