University challenge for interfaith leader

September 22, 2011

New Faith Network for Manchester head Jonny Wineberg is in discussions with Manchester University over space for an interfaith venue. The talks come as the university conducts a £450,000 study into the benefits of multi-faith prayer spaces in airports, shopping centres and hospitals.

Mr Wineberg, who also co-chairs Manchester's Muslim-Jewish Forum, said the Jewish community would have a key role in "helping imbed interfaith dialogue in Manchester. The idea is to do something more substantial.

"It would include the whole community, with a big focus around students. We have found that two-thirds of people in general don't have a positive view of other faiths. But with our existing education sessions, we make a big impact. That's the most important work for me."

The network is funded partly by Manchester City Council to run interfaith dialogue seminars in schools. It has also represented religious communities in consultations on Manchester's court system reforms, National Lottery funding and with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Manchester University chaplain Rev Terry Biddington is examining whether the interfaith venue idea is "possible, desirable and affordable".

Last updated: 3:17pm, September 22 2011