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Concord is one of the oldest interfaith groups in the UK, founded 40 years ago. It exists to foster friendship, trust, tolerance, understanding and co-operation among members of the faith communities of multi-cultural Leeds.

The group also works closely with the Leeds Faith Forum
and is affiliated to the national Interfaith Network for the UK.
Concord is a registered Charity with a secretary, treasurer and executive committee.
Some of the faiths Concord brings together:
Baha'is, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Sikhs and others.

Its aims are:

  • to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in the Leeds Metropolitan District, and to nurture respect and friendly relations by facilitating interfaith dialogue and organising educational and cultural events;
  • to promote and to work for justice, peace and social harmony for the public benefit in the multi-cultural Leeds Metropolitan District by advocacy, by focused public events and projects, and by co-operating with other organisations that have similar objectives.

Upcoming Events and Recent News

Saints of Northumbria

Dennis Hallam, a Buddhist member of Concord now living in Chopwell, near Newcastle, has sent us copies of two pictures that he has composed, inspired by a recent guided visit at Durham Cathedral, centred on the Northern Saints. He has created them in the style of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

In order to see a more detailed image of each picture, please "ctrl+click" on each image to follow the hyperlinks to the full sized images.

Violence: Its Causes and Cures - Buddhist & Jewish Perspectives

On Wednesday, January 24th, Concord members gathered at the Jamyang Buddhist Centre to hear a discussion led by Rabbi Jason Kleinman, of Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue, and Kerry Prest, Director of the Jamyang Centre, on Jewish and Buddhist Perspectives on Violence. This was the first in a new series of Concord meetings exploring dfferent faith perspectives on the subject of violence.

Rabbi Keinman highlighted the fact that humans are made in the image of God and are not born violent, but that as humans we are fallible, and that the "Yeszer Harah", the evil inclination, is a part of our nature, and that through religious practice and rituals we can each individually master and conquer it. There also exists the belief and practice of "Teshuvah", repentance, which gives the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and change.

Kerry Prest explained that Buddhism is about the mind, so that violence, in whatever form, is seen as an external manifestation of what is happening internally. Therefore, to address issues of violence, spiritual work in the form of meditation needs to be done on the mind.The ultimate aim of Buddhism is Enlightenment, in which there is no basis for pride or anger or negative thought.

Islamophobia Awareness: Causes and Cures with MEND

On a cold and dark November night, Concord members and friends gathered together at the Quaker Meeting House on Woodhouse Lane to partake in a presentation on the causes of Islamophobia in the UK today and how we can respond to them efgfectively. The event was hosted by Ustadh Adam Aslam in conjunction with Shahab Adris, the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Manager for MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development).

There followed MEND's key multimedia presentation, which has so far been seen by approximatel 30,00 British Muslims and allies. This provided a great chance to discuss a pressing and sadly growing form of hate, alongside anti-semitism, whilst approaching solutions. Shahab then followed this up with a spoken presentation, highlighting three of the major causes of Islamophobia:

1. biased multi-media and negative portrayals of Muslims;

2. the notion that inadequate laws did not fully respect the core traditions of Muslims and created insecurity and demonisation of Muslims in the public sphere;

3. a lack of participation of communities of the faith, and also the wider community in their lack of understanding of Islam and the Muslim community

A discussion and presentation on the cures and responses to hate crimes then followed, looking at better reporting of all hate crimes, community engagement (both formal and informal), education, safe spaces and focusing on postive stories and their promotion. Many positive comments and questions followed, and much futher discussion was had, highlighting the postive contribution that Muslim communities have in the UK, economically and socially, and as a part of our city.

Further information about MEND and their resources can be found here.

Concord's Annual Peace Service 2017

What one thing could you change in your life for peace?

Who would you be if you were working for peace?

These two questions were the challenge that students from Abbey Grange CE Academy put to themselves, to others in their school and to the people who came to Concord's Annual Peace Service in October.

The event was held in the Banqueting Hall of Leeds Civic Hall, in conjunction with the Leeds Peacelink Group, with their Chair, Cllr David Balckburn, making the keynote speech.

The full text of the service, including the passages read and the students' script can be found here.

Faith Perspectives on Gender Issues

September's meeting broke with tradition and brought together four speakers from our Executive Board to outline and discuss their varied faith perspectives on gender issues. Jay Anderson discussed the wide variety of pagan taditions, and how they may perceive gender issues across a wide spectrum, from traditional roles for the sexes, with binary opposition of gender, through to the more liberal traditions that atre fully inclusive of those who identify as LGBT+. Ustadh Adam Aslam acknowledged that the majority of Muslims hold traditional views about ther distinct roles for men and women. However, he went on to say that in universities the topic of sexuality is being hotly debated amonst Muslim students, and that there is room for a diversity of views on gender issues, where the scriptures are not always seen as absolute, and open for interpretation. Gurmukh Singh Deagon said that Sikhs do not talk about private sexual matters, so LGBT+ identities are not acknowledged, but that there should be respect and dignity for all. Dr David Goodman explored Brahma Kumari understandings of the relationship between the soul, which is genderless, and the body through which it has to function. When we get beyond gender we can be respectful of all gender differences and similarities and transcend them. The subsequent discussion covered a wide range of related, and pertinent topics. There was general agreement, by the end of the evening, that this session had been a good starting point for a bigger discussion that is needed, and to which we must return.


An Afternoon in Sheffield

On 9th August, eleven members of Concord boarded a minibus for a visit to two of Sheffield's interfaith buildings, Burngreave Ashram and Shirley House.

At Burngreave Ashram we were welcomed by Revd Deacon Andrew Crowley of Sheffield Interfaith, Nirmal Fernando and the Revd Dr John Vincent. We were taken into their multifaith library in the basement, where we had tea, biscuits and a talk about the Ashram and it's wide variety of activities.

We then made our way across the city by minibus to Shirley House, on Psalter lane, next to St Andrew's, an Anglican-Methodist Church, where we were met by the Revd Gareth Jones, Caroline Cripps (Chair of the Shirley House Interfaith Centre), and several of the Christian, Jewish. Muslim and Pagan members.They talked about the diversity of faiths and faith buildings in the city, as well as the various events held at Shirley House. We were well fed with Pizza, salad and desserts before we headed back to Leeds.


Faith, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

On 10th July, the Revd Dr David Randolph-Horn chaired the meeting looking at personal experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. His introduction to the evening brought the work of AJAR (Asylum Justice and Release) to the attention of those present. Our first speaker was Ntambwe Nkomo (from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)), who told his harrowing tale from university activist in his home country in the late 1990s, through his journey to England and the subsequent long drawn out process of seeking asylum, which even now is still ongoing! The second story was not of a first hand account from a refugee and asylum seeker, but from Ustadh Adam Aslam recounting the journey made by his grandfather from India in the late 1940s to the newly created Pakistan, and then onto England. Our final, short contribution came from Mustafah who is experiencing continued difficulties with the Home Office including them placing him in Leeds miles away from his friends and his support network in London. He is also awaiting their decision about his latest claim for asylum, following earlier claims being denied.

As is often the case, the contributions inspired some probing questions - of us, this time rather than our speakers. How do we respond to people with "bad attitudes" towards refugees and asylum seekers? How do we dispel the myths and give correct information? What was the purpose of this meeting? Are we just listening to stories, or are we prepared to help? Food for thought.


Concord's 40th Anniversary commemorative book available to purchase

A Leeds Interfaith Story 1946-2016

BookWritten by a team including Trevor Bates, Primrose Agbamu, Cynthia Dickinson , John Moreton & John Summerwill (with contributions from Concord members)

283 A5 pages in full colour - 238 illustrations

This substantial and unique book, published to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Concord, tells the story of the different faith communities in Leeds and of the key individuals who have promoted interfaith relationships.




Copyright ©2018 Concord (Leeds Inter-faith Fellowship). All Rights Reserved.

Registered Charity No.: 516339