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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Scottish faith leaders in historic 9/11 meeting
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¬†Scotland's religious leaders are to meet for the first time in history to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The private meeting in Dunblane will focus on building better relations between Scotland's faiths. It comes in the wake of a string of attacks on mosques, churches and synagogues in Scotland, the UK and across the world following September 11. It also follows a study by the University of London showing that attacks on Islamic communities in the UK have risen by 72 per cent since September last year. Leading figures from the three largest Christian churches in Scotland will come together with senior members of the country's Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and BahŠ'Ū communities. "There has been a lot of talk about the need for peace and mutual understanding after the horrific events of September 11," said Sister Isabel Smyth, of the Scottish Inter Faith Council, which is helping organise the event. "This historic meeting will show that we in Scotland can actually do something about it and work together in that search for peace and understanding." Scotland's religious leaders will spend Wednesday September 11 leading special services and other commemorative events in their own communities. The Dunblane meeting will happen on the following day, Thursday, September 12. Archbishop Keith O'Brien, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland will travel to Churches House, Dunblane to meet the Rt Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald, Moderator of the Church of Scotland and the Most Rev Bruce Cameron, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. They will spend the day there with, among others, a Muslim party including Imam Habib-ur-Rahman of the Glasgow Central Mosque and Rabbi Rubin of Giffnock Synagogue. Each leader will bring an object representing their faith to illustrate a discussion on the different religious communities in Scotland. In the afternoon, the leaders will share their visions of Scotland's future. The debate will focus on the four words engraved into the Scottish Mace - Wisdom, Integrity, Justice and Compassion. Archbishop O'Brien said: "My own knowledge of others, of other faiths, and of the power of love as well as the power of evil have all deepened over the past year. "This journey of growth will continue, on Thursday 12th September, when leaders of Christian Churches, as well as leaders of other faiths, will gather in Scottish Churches House, Dunblane, for a time of prayer and growing together." Bishop Cameron said: "The events of September 11 have highlighted how important it is to speak to each other. We need to have a growing understanding of each other. We need to discover some kind of shared or common language." The Moderator said: "For some time there has been inter-faith dialogue in Scotland. The events of last 11 September gave new impetus to this, underlining as they did the importance of understanding and friendship amongst different creeds and cultures. Our meeting on 12 September is being held in this spirit." The invite first went out from the Archbishop, the Moderator and the Primus. It stated: "On the anniversary of this day we feel that it would be good for us as religious leaders in Scotland to get to know one another. "We would like to show society that religious communities in Scotland have a desire to live in harmony with one another and can work together for the sake of peace in our society."
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