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Namaste, As-salamu alaykum, Shalom: RE Specialists Stay Local to Explore Global

BEd Primary Year 3 students Taylor McCoy and Amy Finn reflect on recent field visits as part of their RE Area of Specialism:

During weeks 6 to 8 we had the wonderful opportunity to visit three different places of worship to investigate a variety of world religions. This opportunity allowed our group to talk to some of the members of each faith about their religious beliefs, practices, symbols, artefacts and places of worship. Throughout the three weeks, we had the pleasure of visiting a Hindu temple at the Indian Community Centre, a mosque at the Belfast Islamic Centre and a synagogue at the Belfast Jewish Community. All of them are located within fifteen minutes of Stranmillis.

The three visits were highly enjoyable, educational and reinforced for us the importance of providing pupils with an experience of exploring the diverse religious culture within their local communities in a positive manner. We were also surprised to find how local and accessible all three of the places of worship were. The visits provided an enlightening experience for some of us, allowing a new or more informed understanding of religions different to our own.

We would like to thank all those involved from the three places of worship. Their stories and insight were very much appreciated and we hope to see them in the near future with classes of our own.

Lecturer Jill Magennis comments: ‘These field visits were important to meet the overall purposes of the module, which include a critical exploration of aspects of religious and cultural diversity as experienced in Northern Ireland and how these may be included effectively in the curriculum through RE and PDMU. Throughout these visits students were able to have a unique opportunity to visit places of worship in Belfast to ask questions of leaders from the Hindu, Islamic and Jewish faiths. Such opportunities are extremely important to build and sustain more peaceful societies’

If you were wondering about the headline ….

Namaste’ is an Indian greeting literally meaning ‘bowing to you’
As-salamu alaykum’ is an Arabic greeting meaning ‘peace be upon you’
Shalom’ is used as a salutation by Jews when meeting or parting; it means ‘peace’

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