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East London Three Faiths Forum

I was invited to speak on "Women In Our Scriptures" at the East London Three Faiths Forum on the evening of 29 November 2012. I joined Khola Hasan, a well known Islamic scholar and speaker plus Nicola Vidamour, the minister of East Ham Methodist Church.

The subject was how women are portrayed in the sacred texts of the three Abrahamic faiths - i.e. the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. The presentations were informative and quite fascinating. For instance, the slightly different stories that relate to Mary/Maryam that are found in the New Testament and the Quran. The questioners also addressed the topical issue of how in today's world women are regarded by each of the three faith communities as spiritual leaders, teachers and role models.

It was a great night where I was really fascinated to learn as much as probably any one in the audience. One person in the audience pointed out how interesting it was that how we interpret the Biblical/Quranic characters and personalities is so shaped by our own historical context and period. The fact that a talk about women in scripture was being given by two female clergy and a female Islamic scholar was something that would have been unthinkable even decades ago. Yet, it was probably the inspiration of those scriptural women that had at least partly influenced the speakers' choice of profession. There were some stimulating questions and a real feeling of shared spirituality in the room.

Nancy Morris

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