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A new covenant of virtue

ANGUS RITCHIE

Central to the vision of Contending Modernities is the interplay between academic research and resources that can be used at the grassroots.  In east London, we are seeing the first fruits of this approach with the publication of “A New Covenant of Virtue.”  The booklet contains an essay by British and American writers on the Quranic motivation for Islamic engagement in multi-faith community organising, alongside a series of short case studies by local Muslim leaders on what this work looks like in practice.

The booklet was launched last week in east London at a multi-faith “Iftar,” the meal with which Muslims break their Ramadan fast each night.

The Iftar drew together hundreds of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and secular leaders, to celebrate a piece of community organising which has been going on during the London 2012 Olympics. This campaign has proceeded alongside the campaigns on the Living Wage, housing and jobs which I described in my previous post.

A multi-faith campaign for 100 days of peace

Modeled on the truce that was observed during the ancient Olympics, churches, mosques and schools in Citizens UK called for “100 days of peace” around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These 100 days are being used to advance the City Safe campaign, which was set up after the murder of Jimmy Mizen in a South East London Bakery in 2008.

In this effort, shops, businesses and other buildings are being designated as “safe havens” that are open to young people fleeing violence, and whose owners commit to working with police to report 100% of all crimes they learn about.  By the end of the 100 days, Citizens UK will publish a map that shows where City Safe havens have been set up during the Olympic period.

The campaign is making wide ripples. Press coverage of the Iftar included reports on MSNBC and in the Independent Catholic News.

Canon Dr. Angus Ritchie has ministered in East London since 1998, throughout which time he has been an active leader in London Citizens.  In 2005, he became founding Director of the Contextual Theology Centre.  His first book, From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments, which explores the theistic foundations of morality, will be published by Oxford University Press in November 2012. 

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