On 13 November 2015, Europe went into a state of shock at the news of the terrorist attacks in the centre of Paris.

The attacks also pointed towards other wars, conflicts, and political tensions in the world, and particularly raised concerns over the role of religion in global politics.

Consequently, this has led to many questioning whether religion is outdated, unnecessary, and a hindrance to international politics.

This further formulated many anti-religious discourses within the media. Political tensions are only seeming to increase over the world, with religion often being framed as the main instigator of the issues.

Whilst it is often thought that religion is on the decline throughout the world, it has been highlighted by anthropologists and other academics that there has been a sharp increase in religion, with religious rituals forming a significant element of many people’s lives.

As a response to the global religious tensions that have arisen in the last year, a new society has been formed at the University of Sussex which aims to form a space for open interfaith discussion and dialogue.

In a political scene that seems so helpless and irreversible, students at Sussex now have the opportunity to be a part of a necessary global change that seeks peace, unity, and coexistence between different cultures, beliefs, and faiths.

Coexist, starting-up this term, is a society for people of faith and no faith that allows people to celebrate their differences and unite through their similarities.

The events and meetings aim to encourage people to learn and understand about views and experiences which may differ from their own, helping individuals to broaden their knowledge of different faiths and cultures.

They will have guest speakers, themed discussion groups, and will hold events to increase students’ understanding of religion.

Coexist will also organise socials that will allow people to get to know each other on a less formal basis, making sure that a tight-knit community is at the heart of everything that the society does.

What does coexistence look like to you? How can we seek peace in a world of conflict and violence?

Would you like to know more about different faiths in the world? How can faiths work together to battle climate-change? Coexist would love to see you at their discussion meetings! Come and be a part of it.

Details: Falmer, Meeting Room 3, 6pm, every other Thursday on the odd weeks of term.

Tim Perkin

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Harry Howard

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