Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fostering International Understanding with Reading International Festival

Cross-cultural dialogue has been to the fore during this year's Reading International Festival - and there's been remarkable evidence that to be successful learning must be a two-way exercise!

Organiser Dave Richards explained the festival is designed to present "an amazing programme of events that will help you explore the world outside your comfort zone."

Iranian news agency Ahlul Bayt (ABNA) even picks up on one event - an exhibition at RISC showing the influence of Islam through British history, reporting links that go back to the invitation and reception of ambassadors from the Caliph of Baghdad by the Mercian King Offa in AD754 - in the century before Reading was founded.

Indeed, such events will be welcomed in all sections of the community following the less flattering incident earlier this summer when a lairy group disrupted an Islamic lecture held at the Rivermead centre - an event which saw all sides criticised after the drunken protesters claimed to represent the proto-racist English Defence League and the speaker Sheikh Khalid Yasin was denounced as a bigot and 'hate-preacher' promoted by the Berkshire Islamic Information Group without adequate reference to council guidelines.

Sadly however, confusion reigns among colonial counterparts in New Zealand, who appear happy to continue to labour under the delusion that London Street is in London!

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