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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 20:18 GMT
Faiths leaders in unity meeting
John Battle
John Battle will tell the conference young people need to be engaged
Muslim and Christian leaders are gathering for a meeting designed to bring the two faiths closer together.

The two-day event, the largest of its kind seen in the UK, was opened on Wednesday by Prime Minister Tony Blair's envoy to the faith communities.

MP John Battle warned that young people were being neglected by religious leaders who must engage with them.

The conference, in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, is organised by the Christian Muslim Forum.

The event brings together imams and Christian ministers and aims to foster relationships, discover common concerns and tackle areas of difference.

Gulf

Leeds MP Mr Battle argued that a greater gulf often exists between the generations within Islam and Christianity than between the faiths themselves.

Mr Battle also said imams and priests must engage with young people or risk alienating and marginalising them.

Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam in Leicester, who is one of the 75 delegates attending the conference said: "This is a unique opportunity for both sides, the imams and the clergy to promote relationships that do already exist but need to be more ground-rooted and more widespread throughout the country."

Christian Muslim Forum chairman, Bishop David Gillett said: "In the current climate there is a great need for local Christian and Muslim Communities to get to know one another and to work together for the good of all in their towns and cities.

"One of the best ways to bring communities together is to bring their leaders together".




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