September 11th - Building a Better World Songs of Praise


September 11th - Building a Better World

Ten years after 9/11, Sally Magnusson meets young people whose faith is inspiring them to strive for peace and tolerance.


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Transcript


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Ten years ago, the world held its breath

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as we tried to make sense of the pictures

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being beamed across the world.

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Within hours, people in London

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had made their way to the American Embassy.

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Around the statue of Roosevelt, they laid tributes

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to the thousands who lost their lives

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on a day that's become known simply as 9/11.

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The terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda

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shook the world, creating mistrust and suspicion throughout society.

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Today on Songs of Praise, we look at how young people in particular

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are making sense of those events to create a better world.

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We'll be hearing how a prize-winning film is a memorial to a New York firefighter,

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how the tragedy influences the politics of one of our youngest MPs,

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and the lessons from the 9/11 London Project,

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plus music reflecting hope for the future.

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I remember picking up my children from school on the day of 9/11

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and telling them what had happened, and I said,

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"You're never going to forget this day,

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"because the world is never going to be the same again."

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And we listened to the radio on the way home,

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and the live coverage was deeply sobering.

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And I just kept thinking that the earth was somehow

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moving under our feet,

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that everything was being shaken up

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and the world never would be quite the same again.

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Now it's that generation of children who are today's young adults,

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and having to deal with the legacy of 9/11.

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It's had an impact not only on our politics and freedom

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but also our faith, whatever our beliefs.

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This week, our singing comes from Milton Keynes,

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from the Church of Christ the Cornerstone,

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which was built for worshippers of different Christian traditions.

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Young people have come from across the area to join the regular congregation,

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and we begin with a popular hymn

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by an American Quaker, John Greenleaf Whittier,

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which reminds us of the importance of peace.

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While today's teenagers have grown up with the consequences of 9/11,

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not all of them fully understand the events that took place.

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You guys must have been about four or five when 9/11 happened.

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Do any of you actually remember something big

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happening that day?

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I remember a tiny bit, but not anything more than that, really.

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It was really a very tragic thing that happened,

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and I think everyone sort of looks at it as a disaster.

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Recent research shows that what young people

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thought they knew about 9/11 wasn't necessarily true.

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We talked to students, we talked to teachers.

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We found that students have a very confused understanding about 9/11.

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A lot of children, for example, thought 9/11 was

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in retribution to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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They don't understand the chronology.

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You're mind-mapping out whatever you've got.

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Research also discovered an apprehension

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amongst teachers in tackling the subject.

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-Brilliant, guys. Well done.

-What we found, very interestingly,

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was that teachers were very aware of the sensitivities of the topic

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in their particular school, regardless of the kind of school it was.

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Now, inside your pack you will find an instruction sheet.

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In response to the research,

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the 9/11 London Project put together educational materials

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to enable teachers and pupils to get to grips with the issues.

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And we put, "Can resolution cause more conflict?"

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which kind of linked in with another point, which was war.

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Before the lessons go nationwide, Rickmansworth School

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is among the first to test them out.

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What sort of things came out of that lesson?

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I didn't realise how big a scale it was.

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I didn't know how many people had died that day.

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Before the project, I didn't know more than two planes were hijacked

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and more places than the towers were attacked.

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I think everyone should be able to compromise to resolve it, instead,

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because sometimes you think, "Can 9/11 actually be fully resolved?"

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But if everyone compromises from here,

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then I guess it can be resolved one way or another.

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Loads of people have been persecuted and there's been so much racism,

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like "All Muslims are terrorists",

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and we need to focus on getting rid of that stereotype and all those thoughts

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and making the world a better place, a more accepting place.

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The ramifications of 9/11 are not going to leave us any time soon,

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and we believe that if you don't know about 9/11 and understand these events,

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your understanding of the modern world is an impoverished one.

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Kat Callo lived in New York but moved to Britain 26 years ago.

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She has a very personal reason for wanting to make sure

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young people understand the impact of 9/11.

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On 9/11, I lost my cousin, Dave Fontana.

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Dave was one of the 343 firefighters

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that died while they were helping to rescue people

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from the World Trade Center.

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And in the subsequent years,

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I couldn't say his name without breaking down.

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So I just sort of, um, buried it a bit.

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Then the July 7 bombings in 2005 happened in London,

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and I thought, "How...

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"..could young British men do something like this?"

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And I'm a Roman Catholic,

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and I felt that my cousin Dave was waiting for me to make a response.

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Not the first response, which is of anger and grief

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and rage and despair... The measured response.

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He was a very can-do guy,

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and I thought, "He's waiting for me to do something."

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So...we started Project Mosaic.

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Project Mosaic is a charity that works to foster

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greater understanding between people of different backgrounds.

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We are, more and more, finding ourselves around people who are different from us.

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Racially, ethnically, from a different religion,

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different national background...

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And we can't just assume it's all going to work itself out.

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We often talk about, "What can the government do,

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"what can the teachers do, what should the police force be doing?"

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I think it's all about on the grass-roots level -

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it's, "What can people in their everyday lives do?"

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Kat realised that if she was going to be successful, she had to appeal to young people.

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'When we have an event, a lot of young people

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'will be sending out tweets and creating Facebook pages,'

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so it is important to find the right language that works for young people.

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That can sometimes be a challenge for older people. Like me(!)

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One of the ways that Project Mosaic reaches out to young people

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is by running a short film competition.

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This year's winner is 23-year-old Tariq Chowdhury.

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Tariq's film aims to dispel the idea that faith is divisive.

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Something that is common to all major faiths

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is the instruction towards being compassionate

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and kind towards other human beings,

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and that goes through with every single religion

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and I thought that would be a great thing to espouse.

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Tariq visited main centres of six different faiths in London,

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to highlight their central unifying message.

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I always knew that one thing that unites all of the different

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faith groups is their love, their sincerity, their compassion.

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They have a smile on their face,

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a board in their hand, but the significance is what's in their heart.

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I really don't agree that religion is the source of problems.

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People who truly embody the spirit of their faith

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will never make things worse, they will always make things better.

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And that's true of every faith, I really believe that.

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# We shall overcome

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# We shall overcome

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# Some day

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# Some day

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# We are not alone

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# We are not alone

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# We are not alone

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# Today

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# Aaaah...

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We are not alone

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# Today

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day. #

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Election of a Member of Parliament for the Luton South constituency...

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One of our youngest MPs, elected in 2010, is Gavin Shuker.

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..14,000... CHEERING

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Gavin's interest in politics began a decade ago.

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It was at a pivotal time in his life.

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I was 18 or 19 when 9/11 happened.

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The kind of age where you become aware of the world

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outside of your own borders.

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And the kind of age where it has a really formative time and effect on you.

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I remember the day of the attacks very strongly.

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What is significant, though, is the number of young people

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that responded to that - not in a manner of becoming filled with more hatred,

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but those that chose to engage.

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And certainly I think my own story fits within that.

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Initially, Gavin became active in his church

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as a way of working with the community.

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Well, I was working for a local church for many years,

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but when the opportunity came along

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for someone from Luton to represent Luton

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as a Member of Parliament, I felt I couldn't in all honesty turn down that opportunity.

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It's a different way of serving, but I think it's a really important one.

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Gavin's found his faith continues to play a role,

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and is a real asset in Luton.

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Luton's a very diverse place, with lots of people of different faiths and of none,

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and I think people, regardless of their faith,

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quite like being represented by someone that understands something of that.

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I just think that security that you get from your faith should be the thing

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that gives you the confidence to have different experiences, and to question some things...

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The Islamic tradition has so much greatness about it...

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'The hero of my Christian faith, Jesus Christ,'

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is the one who lived the most engaged life it's possible to be.

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He had a clean heart, with dirty hands -

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he got involved right at the grass roots of his society.

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And in that way, I feel that I am reflecting some of that goodness of him,

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when I choose to get involved in some very difficult issues in politics.

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To help young people follow in his footsteps, Gavin set up

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a summer school for a group of enthusiastic, budding politicians.

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They spent time learning about political campaigning,

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but their main challenge was to work with a local charity,

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and make a real difference.

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Our original idea was to build a 13-feet trampoline...

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Today, they're presenting the results of their efforts to Gavin.

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Young people aren't disengaged as much as perhaps

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is portrayed in the media - there are still those of us

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who really care and think we can make a difference.

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I think if you really want to do something,

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you have to push yourself into the centre, and the centre is politics. So that's where you have to be.

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At what point did it become London Road Family Support, and how involved were you in that?

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I have to say the name was difficult...

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'I think if we want to build a better society'

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we need to foster in young people particularly

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a sense that they are part of their community, they have a stake in it -

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and they can make a difference in it.

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'Whether you're Muslim or you're Christian or whatever religious group,

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'we want the same things in life - good jobs,'

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good schools to go to and a nice community to live in.

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So those things are the things that can bring us together. And we hold the same values.

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I hope you're going to leave with

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a sense that it's possible to serve your community...

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We've heard how politics can play its part in making a better world,

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but, as we're about to discover,

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a simple act of friendship can also be a powerful force for good.

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I'm Muslim, and Serjuntae is Christian.

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But I don't think of Bushra as my Muslim friend. She's just my friend.

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Serjuntae and Bushra both live in Birmingham,

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one of the most multi-ethnic areas of the country.

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They're both aware of the prejudices that can prevent

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teenagers like them from becoming friends.

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I think people assume that Muslims and Christians won't get along,

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because of what happened in 9/11.

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Before I met Serjuntae, I thought all Christians hated Muslims,

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and they thought that we were terrorists and stuff,

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But ever since meeting Serjuntae that's changed,

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because she's doesn't think I'm that.

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-Hopefully not!

-No, I don't think.

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The girls met at a local project called The Feast.

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It's run by a Christian charity,

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that brings young people of different faiths together.

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There is a massive divide between Christians and Muslims,

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in this country and in many around the world.

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September 11 was a part of that journey in our past.

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But our hope is that we can bring that divide together -

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that young people aren't so separated that they only live

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in their cultural groups or faith groups,

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but they are willing to embrace and love their neighbour,

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especially in a community like this.

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-So, your Adam and Eve story...

-Yeah.

-Is yours similar to ours?

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Yeah. They were the first two, right?

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-And even with the apple...?

-Yeah, and the apple.

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'We talk about our faiths,'

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and what I really like about The Feast is that you can do it openly without, you know...

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-Being judged.

-Anyone judging you.

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OK, so the question is, did God create aliens?

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Yeah. He created everything...

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We want them to share why it's so good being a Christian, or why it's so good being a Muslim,

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but then to listen to someone else explain why it's so good having THEIR faith.

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And to agree to disagree, but still agreeing

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that peace is more important than a fight over who's right and wrong.

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Can I hear lots of noise for our Feast Factor!

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CHEERING

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Today, friends and family have been invited to come along

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to watch a show put on by the young people.

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RAPS: This song is about The Feast

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All we want to do is support The Feast, come on...

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I think friendship is important, because if you had someone

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who was just like you it wouldn't be as fun as someone who's different,

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who has a different faith, a different style, a different look...

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'If you have someone that's different, you can learn more

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'and you can experience more.'

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SERJUNTAE SINGS

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What the girls discovered is that in spite of their differences,

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they have plenty in common.

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What stops people of different faiths being friends

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is that they're scared.

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We're different in our religions, we're different in our colour...

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Different in our culture.

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But Bushra and I, we talk about Justin Bieber...!

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Talk about shoes, clothes, and all the stuff that comes in.

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-Oh, hi, Eve!

-Hi, Bushra. That's a cool bracelet,

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did you make it at The Feast jewellery-making day?

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'We're finding young people that are open to it -

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'they're hungry to overcome prejudice that they see.'

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They are aware of divides,

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but shown how to do it, they're really keen to make a difference,

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and together, deal with the ills that hit our society

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and work together to make it better.

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I think people of different faiths CAN get on -

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because if me and Serjuntae, at a really young age, can get along,

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I don't know why adults can't get along, and they're supposed to be

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the more mature ones, so... I think they definitely can.

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-'Friends fight for you.

-Friends respect you.

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-'Friends involve you.

-Friends encourage you.

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-'Friends need you.

-Friends deserve you.

-Friends save you.'

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# I'd gladly walk across the desert

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# With no shoes upon my feet

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# To share with you the last bite

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# Of bread I had to eat

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# I would swim out to save you

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# In your sea of broken dreams

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# When all your hopes are sinking

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# Let me show you what love means

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Between your heart and mine

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Don't you think it's time?

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# Don't you think it's time?

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# I would whisper love so loudly

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# Every heart could understand

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# That love and only love can

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# Join the tribes of man

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# I would give my heart's desire

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# So that you might see

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# The first step is to realise

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# That it all begins with you and me

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# When we stand together

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# It's our finest hour

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-# We can do anything

-# Anything

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-# Anything

-# Anything

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# Keep believin' in the power

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Between your heart and mine

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# Love can build a bridge

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# Don't you think it's time?

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# Don't you think it's time? #

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'Loving God, help us to learn from the lessons of the past.

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'Give us the wisdom to embrace the differences in others.

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'And show us how to play our part in building a more peaceful world.'

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This little garden in London's Grosvenor Square

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was built to commemorate those who died in 9/11.

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Today we remember everyone affected by that day.

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Religion is often blamed for violence.

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But as we've seen, faith in a loving God can be a force for good,

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uniting us in a common desire for peace.

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As the new school year begins, here's a quick reminder

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that it's not too late to apply for our next School Choir of the Year competition,

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which will be the 10th.

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School choirs from anywhere in the United Kingdom can enter,

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so if you think your school choir has got what it takes,

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then go to our website, where you'll find all the information you need.

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Entries need to be received by October 28th,

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so don't miss the boat - and let's see

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if YOUR school choir could be crowned champions.

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Next week - the first of three special programmes

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to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

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Pam turns the clock back to 1961, when Songs of Praise began,

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and returns to the chapel in Cardiff

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which hosted the very first programme.

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We'll be singing the same hymns as they did then,

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and reminiscing with former presenter, Geoffrey Wheeler,

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and Sir Cliff Richard.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail [email protected]

0:38:330:38:35

Ten years after 9/11, Sally Magnusson meets young people whose faith is inspiring them to strive for peace and tolerance. Young choirs come together in Milton Keynes for hymns of hope, and there is an uplifting performance from Birmingham Community Gospel Choir.


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