This was the question I was privileged to hear Prof. Mona Siddiqui answer on Friday night at the University of Birmingham. She shared of her own early friendships with other children in Cambridge, and the important role that those friendships has played in her life growing up. Prof. Siddiqui grew up with few Muslim peers, but she said that religion and ethnicity never mattered in choosing her friends and that intellectual and emotional intimacy played a far more important role. She says that children who have diverse friendships are more open, which is something that we at The Feast would agree with.
Friendship is an essential ingredient in society, Siddiqui says, and it’s good for us. She says that the example of the Prophet in Islam shows that making alliances with those outside our own faith community is a good thing. In order for us to stay a peaceful society, that we often take for granted in the west, we need to actively engage with others who are different, even pre potential conflict.
We’re delighted that Prof. Siddiqui is a Patron of The Feast, and an advocate for diverse friendships. We are committed to continuing to help young people to form real friendships with their peers from other faiths.