Hi everyone, I am Jinal Shah, your Vice President Equity and Inclusion at BCUSU.
Between the 8th of November till 15th of November we celebrated Inter Faith week. Inter Faith week is an occasion that is intended to celebrate the UK’s religious diversity and to strengthen ties between communities of different faiths and religious beliefs. I am going to share with you all my background story as my family is multicultural and they believe in different faiths.
The UK is home to a plethora of different religious cultures and beliefs. According to the most recent nationwide census, the most popular religion is Christianity, with a recorded 37.5 million followers across all parts of the UK. This equates to roughly 60% of the UK’s total population. Following this, Islam is the next most popular religion in the UK, with 2.5 million followers. This is equivalent to 4.5% of the population. All the world’s other major religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism enjoy a healthy following within the UK, making ours a truly multicultural society.
A surprising long-term trend is the rise of atheism within the UK. In the 2011 national census, 26% of the population responded as saying that they had no religious beliefs. That’s why it’s increasingly important to promote understanding and tolerance between people with religious and non-religious beliefs.
Beginning with my story. My mother and father’s religions are completely different, which is very rare to find. My mother comes from a Christian community and my father is from a Jainism community. During their time together, society and communities believed in a cast system where people prefer to marry in same religion. If they don’t, society and community are less likely to accept them. My parents’ marriage is one based on love. My father came from very small village in Gujrat, India, and the community didn’t accept them but my parents fought to be heard. They made sure everyone understood they shouldn’t believe in cast system. After all, we are all humans.
My parents always respect their cultures and they also adapt each other cultures very well. My mother is more knowledgeable about Jainism than my other family members who were born as Jain, and my father is also incredibly knowledgeable about Christianity. In my home country, we have small room for all the Gods in which we all pray in the morning. We are four siblings including me and our parents have always made sure that we have faith and believe in every God.
We have grown up in a surrounding where there are people who represent different faiths and our parents made sure that we respect every faith and also, involve during their festive times. My family, including myself, believe that we are from multifaith community not a specific community.
If you’re interested to read more, this BBC article gives more information on the difference between Christians and Jains.