Young Muslims represent 20% of Canadian applicants to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's Faiths Act Fellowship

(January 26, 2011) – 20% of the applicants to the Faiths Act Fellowship in Canada were young Muslims, the second highest faith group applying after Christians.

The highly competitive year-long Fellowship, set up by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, pairs each young person with someone of another faith to undertake practical work in local communities to help tackle global poverty.

These figures clearly demonstrate that there is a strong desire among Muslims to build relations and understanding between the different faith groups to live out their faith in a positive way.

“The idea that young people are not motivated by faith to help others – or that faith only inspires conflict – is simply wrong,” says Tony Blair, Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Six young people will be selected from Canada.

Applications for the 30 places on the second Faiths Act Fellowship youth leadership scheme have just closed with 687 young people applying from the USA,UK Canada and India.

“The number of applicants clearly shows the enthusiasm there is among today’s young people to demonstrate how faith can be a force for good in society. It can build understanding and provide unity and strength to counter those who see faith as a source of division and discrimination.  As the first ever World Interfaith Harmony Week approaches I remain an optimist about the future, when I see the commitment of this generation to deliver real change,” said Tony Blair.

“Years ago, I made it my goal to help dispel the misconceptions regarding Muslims, especially Muslim women, by my actions; to build bridges with people of different faiths by sharing our stories,” said a female Muslim applicant.

“The Faiths Act Fellowship combines all that I love in life in a form I did not think existed, and it would be a privilege to be selected, she added.”

Achievements of the 2009/2010 Canadian Fellows include: Congregations Act, a campaign to challenge congregations of diverse faiths from across Canada to take the “10 Nets for 2010 Challenge” and each raise money for 10 life saving bed nets. Over 50 Congregations from all over Canada took part; from Halifax on the east coast to the prairie communities of Saskatoon and Manitoba. Inspired by their shared values and the common goal of saving lives, faith communities came together; Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Unitarians, and many others collaborated.