Edinburgh Central Mosque participated in two ground breaking events this week inspiring it to express its new vision as a mosque actively and creatively serving a “City of Sanctuary & Compassion.”
The problems we face as a global humanity cannot be solved at the same level of thinking which created them in the first place. We recognise the need for initiative, creativity and hybridity in bringing solutions to the table.
“In 2016, we are a successful city where population is growing … and whose strong economy and quality of life is recognised across the world. With this vibrancy and growth come many challenges … increased inequality … pressure on our city infrastructure and environment, we know that the city needs to adapt and change again … This is why the city is embarking on a project to develop a vision for 2050. Developing this vision will involve residents of all ages, businesses and groups from all sectors coming together to agree the type of city we all want Edinburgh to be.” The City of Edinburgh Council.
The first of the two events occurred at the beginning of the 2016 Scottish Interfaith Week on Tuesday 15th November. The occasion was a ‘Religious Leaders and Faith Representatives meeting’ at Edinburgh City Chambers with the aim of exploring the potential proposal of Edinburgh becoming a ‘Compassionate City’ as its 2050 vision. It included a presentation by Professor John Gillies ‘Edinburgh as a compassionate city; where faith and science come together’. Representatives of faith communities shared their stories of fruitful engagement with their neighbours of other faiths and non-faith and how that strengthened compassionate community engagement. The meeting gave useful insights into identifying ways in which the faith communities and their leaders could contribute to Edinburgh realising its 2050 vision.
The second event was ‘Mapping Sanctuary in Edinburgh’ supported by: The City of Edinburgh Council and City of Sanctuary Edinburgh on Saturday 19th November. The occasion was a “sharing of information, learning about what is happening and exploring ideas for working together to welcome refugees and asylum seekers in Edinburgh.” Networking and exploring what’s on the ground were key to the event. Participants from various organisations and communities ‘mapped’ all the places, services and initiatives within the various parts of the city that welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers – places where one could go to seek help and feel part of the community.
Some of the themes which emerged from the ‘mapping’ and discussions included: Befriending, Mental Health, Health & Wellbeing, Housing, Language and making Information available, Work & Employment, Enabling healthy diversity, Food, Children & Young people, Sport, Leisure & Recreation.
As a community, we thought: instead of waiting for 2050 to come, why not embrace the vision right now? How are we going to be a mosque serving a City of Sanctuary & Compassion? We aspire to do that through a dedicated ethos of serving Edinburgh through our space, our facilities, in our outreach activities and especially through knowing and understanding each other.