Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK

On 17th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, “That this House takes note of the challenges posed by religious intolerance and prejudice in the United Kingdom.” The Archbishop of Canerbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, spoke in the debate. A transcript is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in the debate:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and others who have made this useful and important debate possible. Like the noble Lord, Lord Hain, I agree with much of what the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, said. I agree also with the passionate and clear setting out by the noble Lord, Lord Hain, of the threats and incidents that have occurred in recent years. However, I want to focus more on religious intolerance and prejudice. If I have one concern, it is how we bring together religious tolerance, and stand against the kind of things the noble Lord, Lord Hain, spoke about, while maintaining freedom of speech.
In his book, The Home We Build Together, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, wrote:
“Society is not a house or a hotel. It should be a home”.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism, with which I am deeply familiar through work with the Chief Rabbi, and Islamophobia, which we in the Church are deeply familiar with through working with Muslim leaders across the country, are just two illustrations of the narrowing of those who feel truly at home in the UK today. This terrible, storm-ridden climate is affecting people across a whole range of religious traditions.

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Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples

On 13th September 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Popat, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to reassure the Jewish community over the impact of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, as we have heard, there is a need for constant vigilance to ensure that antisemitism plays no part in the life of our country. To continue its determination in this aim, the College of Bishops of the Church of England, building on 75 years of friendship marked by the founding of the Council of Christians and Jews, has adopted and adhered to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, including all examples without qualification or exception. This is in the context of our conviction, which I trust will be affirmed today by Her Majesty’s Government, that anyone involved in political, spiritual or national life should reject all language and activity that leads to prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs. This includes issues related to those we are discussing today, such as Islamophobia. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples”

Church Commissioner Questions: ordinations, church schools, modern slavery, metal theft, inter-faith relations, London churches

On 12th July 2018 Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered questions from MPs on ordination numbers, church schools, modern slavery, metal theft, inter-faith relations and growth of the church in London. A full transcript is below: Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: ordinations, church schools, modern slavery, metal theft, inter-faith relations, London churches”

Bishop of Leeds invokes 9th Commandment in discussion of Islam

On 30th April Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that the Muslim population of England grew 10 times faster than the general population between 2001 and 2016; what is their estimate of future growth; and what is their assessment of the impact of that trend on the relationship between Sharia and domestic law.” The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:

The Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, does the Minister agree that a prerequisite to any intelligent discussion of Islam or any other religion should pay attention to the ninth commandment, which is that you will not bear false witness against your neighbour?

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Bishop of Newcastle expresses support for Muslim communities in light of hate crimes

On 13th March 2018, Lord Young of Cookham repeated an answer given to an urgent question about inflammatory letters inciting a ‘Punish a Muslim’ day. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, denounced these letters, expressed her solidarity with the Muslim community, and asked the Government what action it is taking to support grass-roots relationships.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, on behalf of these Benches and, I am sure, on behalf of the Church, I want to say that any attack on a person or community on the basis of their faith or their race is abhorrent and has no place in a decent, civilised society.

As a Christian leader I stand in solidarity with my Muslim friends and with all those in and outside this building who have been directly affected or are fearful and anxious.

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Bishop of Oxford asks Government to affirm Muslim communities’ condemnation of child sexual ​exploitation scandals

 

On 13th March 2018 Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the national scale of the “grooming gang scandal”, including sexual exploitation of non-Muslim children by Muslim men, as emerged recently in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and elsewhere; and what steps they are taking to enable the prosecution of those in the police and local authorities who have failed to prevent it.” The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I am enormously grateful for the Minister’s Answer to the Question. I had the great privilege to be the Bishop of Sheffield for seven years during the child sexual ​exploitation scandal in Rotherham and I am now the Bishop of Oxford. I spent a great deal of time in Rotherham following Professor Jay’s report and registered the shock across all sections of the community, including, of course, the Muslim community there, who were as deeply appalled by what had happened as the rest of the community. I vividly remember visiting some parents at a mosque in Rotherham and hearing how their children were insulted by the rest of the community in words I will not repeat in this House. Will the Minister affirm the condemnation with which these scandals are greeted across the Muslim communities in each of these towns and cities?

 

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Archbishop of Canterbury asks about the importance of coexistence of the faiths in the Old City of Jerusalem

On 6th March 2018 Lord Polak asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to promote coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, asked a follow up question:

 

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