At Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation, working collaboratively as Christians and Muslims is at the heart of our projects. FACES emerged from the positive interfaith and cross-community work happening in Luton; an effort of 10 local organisations including mosques, churches, Christian charities and Muslim charities. Representatives from the Luton Sunni Council of Mosques, Luton Council of Mosques, Churches Together in Luton, Lantern, Hope Church Luton, Discover Islam, Youthscape, St Mary’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Inspire FM and Azalea make up our steering group.

This year’s Inter Faith Week starts today, Sunday 10th November. Over the week we’ll be talking about what doing faith-based work means to us as people from different faiths and backgrounds.

“So often people seek to divide us, it declares something powerful when we work together.”

Tony Thompson, Co-chair of FACES

Tony Thompson Rehana Faisal FACES
Tony Thompson and Rehana Faisal, Co-chairs of FACES

We promote representation of both faiths at every stage of our work, from our co-chair positions through to delivering our training or youth programmes. We engage with issues of power, equality and perception throughout our projects, and actively challenge preconceptions, prejudice, and skewed narratives around faith, ethnicity, culture and abuse. Having faith and being part of a strong culture can be strengths that promote resilience. This is why we engage with safeguarding through these contexts in all of our projects.

In gratitude and with full thanks to God, we’re proud of what we do. We centre the needs and views of people of faith as we work in and with faith communities. And although our beliefs differ, we work in respect and recognition of our differences, shaping our work to reflect our beliefs honestly and unapologetically.

Inter Faith Week is about strengthening interfaith relations, raising awareness and increasing understanding between people of faith and those of no faith. These aims have also been incorporated within our work from the beginning.

Our Teen Programme reinforces messages around identity, value, communication and relationships with ideas from Christianity and Islam.

“I really liked this session, and it was fun, I understood what I am worth and I loved the hadith that were mentioned, it really impacted me spiritually and mentally. Thank you very much.”

Engaging young people with positive messages from Christianity and Islam promotes self-esteem among children of faith and builds understanding among children of other faiths or no faith.

Faiths against child sexual exploitation prejudice training
Safeguarding and Prejudice training at Hope Church Luton, September 2019

Our training courses are aimed at people of faith and other practitioners working in faith communities. We deliver training in intentional interfaith settings, and facilitate honest, challenging discussions. (You can read more about our recent training sessions here.)

“I was aware of prejudice going on, but it was good to hear from other people from other faiths how they feel.”

Having worked for FACES for the past year, it’s a privilege to engage with faith every day as part of the work. Over the coming week we’ll be sharing more experiences from the FACES team, answering questions about our work and discussing faith, purpose and how we overcome challenges. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to hear more.

faiths against child sexual exploitation faces safeguarding and prejudice training luton
Some of the FACES team – from left to right: Lucie Shuker, Youthscape; Peter Adams, St Mary’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation; Rehana Faisal, Lantern; Melissa Llewellyn, FACES Development Worker

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