The Al-Mahdi Institute hosted Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake Sensei, the chief Shinto Priest from Japan and the staff and members of International Association of Religious Freedom (IARF) on Saturday, 6th July’13. IARF has over ninety affiliated groups, spread over twenty countries, with a wide range of faiths represented, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Shintoism. The reception was organised in collaboration with IARF Congress to introduce Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake Sensei to the chief personalities of inter-faith organisations in Birmingham, who will be supporting and be involved in the 2014 IARF Congress being held at the University of Birmingham.
Rev. Miyake Yoshinobu, born in 1958 into a well-known family of Shinto priests in the broad church of Konko-kyo, a reformed Shinto movement, is today Director-General of the Konko Church of Izuo, in Osaka. He studied at Doshisha University in Kyoto and at Harvard, and publishes frequently on Shinto history. For the past 30 years he has been active worldwide in the interfaith field. In 1997 he established RELNET Corporation, whose website publishes widely on religion-related matters in Japanese. Most recently he served as General Secretary of the G8 Religious Leaders Summit (2008).
This meeting gave an opportunity to the staff of IARF to discuss the congress with Rev. Yoshinobu Miyake and for the Al – Mahdi Institute to be introduced as an international organisation for inter-faith relations. People in attendance were greatly impressed by the institute’s potential both as an academic institute of Islamic Higher Education as well as for inter-faith relations through its’ Outreach activities.