Cardinal Vincent Nichols and two leading Muslim imams have launched a new Muslim Certificate in Religious Studies at St Mary's University, Twickenham.
The new certificate aims to support the religious literacy of teachers and enhance the contribution that religion can make to the formation of British values. It is aimed at those teaching religious education in Muslim schools and will support a cohesive approach to teaching in line with the National Curriculum and contemporary teaching practices.
Shia Imam Sayed Razawi, a Shia Imam and one of the four clerics who accompanied the Cardinal to Rome for an audience with Pope Francis, said: "We are extremely happy that St Mary's has taken up our call. We are walking shoulder to shoulder, working together. Today here at St Mary's, there is no longer the other; there is an us.
"This certificate is a partnership, a first and truly authentic as it is ratified by four senior imams. When we talk about integration this is a wonderful way of doing this through education."
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a Sunni Imam who also joined the Cardinal for the papal audience, said: "Those of us involved in interfaith dialogue are often challenged about outcomes. To see the fruits of this dialogue is wonderful and shows what can be done. Thank you to the Cardinal for his leadership which has led to this Muslim certificate which will help understanding of Islam in this country from the perspective of believers for the benefit of all in society."
Cardinal Vincent thanked the imams "for deepening this dialogue. Living as a religious minority in this country, as Catholics, we know the importance of education in helping us to understand ourselves and in our aim to serve society as a whole."
On the site of the keynote address given by Pope Benedict XVI at St Mary's in September 2010, on interreligious dialogue and relations, the faith leaders also opened a new interfaith prayer room.