London: Christian pastors and Muslim imams in the UK have come together to draw up guidelines that gives detailed advice on how to deal with inter-faith marriages, says a report.
The new guidelines by the Christian-Muslim forum reinforce the need for religious leaders to accept inter-faith marriages and warn that no one should ever feel forced to convert.
According to the Independent, the publication of the document is significant because those supporting it include imams from the more orthodox Islamic schools of thought and evangelical Christians.
The document, called When Two Faiths Meet, is the product of months of painstaking negotiations between Christian and Muslim leaders and emphasises the need for tolerance and acceptance of mixed-faith marriages, the paper said.
Among the recommendations are speaking out against forced conversions, recognising the legality of inter-faith marriages in British law, non-judgemental pastoral care and a complete rejection of any violence, it added.
Leicester-based imam Sheikh Ibrahim said clerics were motivated to come up with the guidelines because they were seeing increasing numbers of inter-faith marriages over the years.
According to the paper, estimating the number of people in mixed-faith marriages is difficult.
The 2001 census suggests 21,000 but demographers believe the figure is considerably higher.