Dialogue is at the heart of everything Salaam Shalom does. That means listening and understanding as much as speaking and persuading.
Salaam Shalom aims to:
- Build bridges between communities, particularly Muslim and Jewish communities in the UK
- Prevent conflict and discrimination between minority and marginalised groups
- Use media and the arts as a tool for positive social change.
Salaam Shalom has evolved as an organisation since it was launched in 2006 . Our current objectives are:
- Promoting positive relations between Muslim and Jewish communities by bringing communities together through sharing arts and culture, enabling ‘organic’ dialogue
- Working with children and young people to prevent prejudice and discriminatory behaviour based on ignorance of others’ faith and culture
- Helping children value the diversity of the society and community in which they live
- Providing safe spaces for dialogue between British Muslims, Jews and wider communities, on topics of shared interest and concern.
Salaam Shalom began as an online radio station. The success of the collaboration between Muslim and Jewish volunteer radio researchers and presenters depended on the way they interacted and worked together: hearing what each other said, and listening carefully to each other when describing facets of Jewish and Muslim life.
In doing this everyone involved realised that Salaam Shalom’s role was to inform and educate by bringing people into dialogue with each other. That led to us engaging with different cultural and faith communities through outreach projects and activities. These draw on photography, art works, creative writing, drama, panel debate, blogs and film.
By providing an opportunity to share religious and cultural identity, to defy pigeonholing and allow people to represent themselves as individuals and members of wider society and as individuals, we and they are able to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.
Themes of shared interest between different cultural communities stimulate discussion that reveals shared experiences, ideology, aspirations, values and fears. By building inter-community relations, particularly between Muslims and Jews, we believe it is possible to tackle contentious issues constructively. Through finding common ground, we can encourage positive inter-community relations.
What we don’t do
Salaam Shalom’s Trustees, Project Managers and Volunteers are regularly asked the same key questions:
- Why isn’t Salaam Shalom campaigning?
- Which ‘side’, faith or community does Salaam Shalom support?
- Why isn’t Salaam Shalom issuing statements in the media with regard to actions in the Middle-East?
The answers are simple and, we hope, make our position as a dialogue organisation very clear:
Salaam Shalom aims to build bridges between British Muslims and Jews. We are aware that actions in the Middle East impact on tensions between these communities in the UK. We believe that our supporters value and respect that Salaam Shalom does not take political sides because it is not a campaign group. Salaam Shalom’s supporters believe our role should remain neutral. That being said, Salaam Shalom stands for the principles of peace, tolerance and understanding.
When there has been escalation of conflict in the Middle East, one outcome of our local consultations has been that the ongoing activities of Salaam Shalom serve to diffuse tensions between British communities.
Salaam Shalom is not a political organisation. Nor, as a registered charity could, or should, we ever be. Every supporter and representative of Salaam Shalom is entitled to their own point of view – and their opinions and beliefs often vary widely. Our role is to offer the opportunity for those views to be heard, in dialogue.