Bishop of St Albans asks Government about counter-extremism policy

On 17th & 20th September 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers from Government to three questions on countering extremism policy:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the joint statement published by Prevent Watch on 27 July about the Commission for Countering Extremism’s “evidence drive”; and how they intend to respond to the concerns raised in the statement.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what weight will be given to academic evidence reviewed as part of the Commission for Countering Extremism’s evidence drive compared to evidence from other sources.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will conduct an independent review of how the Prevent programme is currently operating before placing any additional responsibilities on local authorities as recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report, Counter-Extremism, published on 20 July 2016 (HL Paper 39), and since; and if not, why not.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for Commission for Countering-Extremism

On 13th September 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on the Commission for Countering-Extremism.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will publish the (1) work programme, (2) remit, and (3) terms of reference, of any studies by the Commission for Countering-Extremism. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for Commission for Countering-Extremism”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Saudi Arabia – arms sales, reforms and extremism

On 15th November 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received  written answers to three questions on Saudi Arabia: on arms exports, reforms, and violent extremism:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the value of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia in (1) 2015, (2) 2016, and (3) 2017.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent announcement that he intends to return Saudi Arabia to a path of “moderate Islam”.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between (1) reports that Saudi Arabia funds organisations that promote a Salafist Wahhabist ideology, and (2) the growth of violent extremism. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Saudi Arabia – arms sales, reforms and extremism”

Bishop of Coventry asks about impact on community relations of way terrorist activities are reported

On 25th October 2017 Baroness Afshar asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of official announcements relating to terrorism focussing on the perpetrator’s creed rather than the crime committed; and whether any such assessment has informed their practice in such cases.”

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the difficulty for those of us on the ground, Muslim and Christian, who are trying to work at good community relations is that reportage of these crimes against humanity in the media can fuel hate crime against Muslim people and destroy the trust that we are trying to build in our communities. Does the Minister agree that we need to develop language that learns some lessons from the man who witnessed the Leytonstone tube attack in 2015, who said: “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv”—language that does not incriminate the entire Muslim community, despite their rejection of violent terrorists as not true Muslims—so that we can all stand together under the same banner of peace? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about impact on community relations of way terrorist activities are reported”

Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education

On 29th June 2017 the House of Lords held the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate about countering extremism and the importance of character education.

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, like many in this House, I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have been very much on my heart and in my prayers, and in the aftermath of the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is unsurprising that the Government have placed such an emphasis on counterterrorism and counterextremism measures in the gracious Speech. The Government are right to look at reviewing specific measures to tackle extremism and the places where extremist ideology is able to spread, but stopping extremist ideology where it already exists cannot be all that we do. Although we in this House may divide debates into topics and the Government into departments, as we know, in reality society is not just a series of policy areas, it is a rich fabric of connected life experiences of which education is formative for all. Its value in developing and defining the kind of society we want to become should never be underestimated. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education”

Bishop of St Albans expresses concern about rollout of Prevent Strategy

St Albans 2On 20th December 2016, Baroness Hussein-Ece asked the Government “how they are assessing and evaluating the success of the Prevent Strategy deradicalisation programme following the referral of approximately 4,000 people last year”. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, a group of Christian leaders in Luton in my diocese are working closely with people of other faiths on the Prevent strategy. I have to say that I hear a very different narrative from the grass roots which is profoundly worrying. There is growing discontent at the rollout of the Prevent strategy due to a number of things such as religious illiteracy and some very heavy-handed actions. Would the Minister be willing to come and meet a group of leaders to hear about these concerns? These are people who want to try to make this work so that we can think about how to get it back on course and improve the situation. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans expresses concern about rollout of Prevent Strategy”

Church Commissioner Questions – October 2016

On 13th October 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on school admissions, ecumenical relations, community cohesion, refugees, LGBT pastoral care, Scrooby parish, same sex marriage and cathedral repairs.

Caroline Spelman 1Church Commissioners Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – October 2016”