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:

 

Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury asks about the importance of coexistence of the faiths in the Old City of Jerusalem”

Bishop of Peterborough says response to terror attacks must include making Muslim communities feel safe and welcome

On 5th December 2017 a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords about David Anderson’s report on recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question:

 The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, from these Benches I very much welcome the Statement and the sentiments in it, particularly its focus on the direct victims. However, there are also indirect victims of such attacks—those who are made to feel more afraid simply to go about their daily lives. That includes a lot of people, not least many in our Muslim communities. Does the noble Earl agree that, as a result of these attacks, it is very important to do all we can to increase the feeling of safety among those in Muslim communities, seeing them not just as people who must be targeted for information but as people who are part of our wider community and whom we must cherish and care for, helping them to feel safe and welcome? This includes not just community policing but many other areas of work with them, and it includes a very strong focus on dealing with right-wing extremism, which would threaten those communities. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough says response to terror attacks must include making Muslim communities feel safe and welcome”

Bishop of Worcester praises contribution of Muslims to UK society, following tweets by President Trump

On November 30th 2017 the House of Lords heard repeated a Government statement about online hate speech, following the sharing by the United States President Donald Trump of material about Muslims produced by the far-right organisation ‘Britain First’. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: Further to the last point made by the noble Lord, does the Minister agree that in addition to abhorring violence, the vast majority of Muslims in this country make an immeasurable contribution to the life of this country, for which we should be profoundly grateful and which needs to be expressed by this House? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester praises contribution of Muslims to UK society, following tweets by President Trump”

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 Norwich asks Government to support initiatives to bring together Christian and Muslim communities

On 17th October 2017 Baroness Warsi asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they have a definition of Islamophobia; and, if so, what it is.” The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, does the Minister agree that, whatever our definition of Islamophobia, one of the most effective ways of preventing it is by good relationships between the different faith communities, exemplified by the new church/mosque twinning programme promoted by the Christian Muslim Forum? That is already established in Oldham, Rochdale, Walsall and Wolverhampton. What can the Government do to encourage those local community initiatives, which can transform the way in which a local community views Muslims in their midst? Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich asks Government to support initiatives to bring together Christian and Muslim communities”

Archbishop of York responds to question from UKIP Peer on Muslim tenets of Taqiyya and Al Hijra

york-170117-bOn 24th January 2017 UKIP Peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked the Government “whether, as part of their strategy against Islamist terrorism, they will encourage United Kingdom Muslim leaders to re-examine the Muslim tenets of Taqiyya and Al Hijra.” He mentioned the Archbishop of Canterbury in his follow up question. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, asked a question in response:

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, first, would the Minister agree that the term Taqiyya came into being at a time of terrible persecution? It did not get invented because people did not want to be difficult or awkward. Of my friends who escaped Amin’s torture, some left dressed as women. You would not say these Christians wanted simply to be deceptive; things have to be read in context. Secondly, the lecture by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury was a one-hour lecture in France; he is more than happy to repeat it if your Lordships’ House wants.

Continue reading “Archbishop of York responds to question from UKIP Peer on Muslim tenets of Taqiyya and Al Hijra”

Bishop of St Albans highlights need to build positive relationships with faith communities

St Albans 2On Tuesday 13th December 2016, UKIP Peer Lord Pearson asked the Goverment “whether, as part of their strategy against Islamic terrorism, they will encourage United Kingdom Muslim leaders to re-examine the Muslim tenet of abrogation.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights need to build positive relationships with faith communities”

Bishop of Gloucester on building strong local communities of shared values

On the 2nd December 2016 the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate led by the Archbishop of Canterbury on shared  values and their role in shaping public policies. She highlighted the compassionate hospitality which this country has shown generations of refugees alongside the work she is undertaking in Gloucestershire to build community, standing ‘with’ rather than ‘othering’ people to promote human flourishing. 

gloucesterThe Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury on his foresight in tabling this debate on shared values. I also add my own congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord McInnes of Kilwinning, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, on their poignant and insightful maiden speeches.

In the diocese of Gloucester, I have recently been talking to young people about body image and reflecting with them on how their true worth begins deep within, the place from which true values emerge and are lived. Last Saturday, I hosted a huge community party in Cheltenham to publicly launch our new vision for the diocese of Gloucester. The vision has emerged from conversations in local communities, urban and rural, involving about 6,000 people, churchgoers and otherwise, discussing what sort of church they want to see in their communities.The vision is one of human flourishing and transformation, emanating from those words of Jesus from the gospel of John:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.

That is a good starting place when it comes to talking about values. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester on building strong local communities of shared values”

Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism

On 27th October 2016 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Baroness Deech, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they propose to take to combat anti-Semitism, in particular in universities.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

Bishop of WinchesterThe Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for initiating this debate.

Despite there being Jewish societies in over 60 universities, a study in 2011 found that half of all Jewish students in the UK attend only eight universities. Safety in numbers seems to be key, as Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester all boast Jewish societies with over 1,000 members. None the less, we know that Jewish staff and students experience anti-Semitism in a significant number of higher education institutions today. As the recent Universities UK task force report on hate crime makes clear, anti-Semitism is a practice for which there is no place in universities, nor in the Church or society at large. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism”

Bishop of Chelmsford condemns hate crime, calls for better religious literacy

On 29th June 2016 Lord Ahmed repeated to the House of Lords a Government statement made in the House of Commons about hate crime. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow up question about religious literacy and education.Chelmsford 251115

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Minister two specific questions about religious literacy and religious education. First, I welcome the Statement and the responses from the other Front Benches, and of course to express my own great dismay at the incidents that we have experienced in recent days. As I said in the House on Monday, the diocese where I serve includes some of the most multicultural parts of this country. I have heard many disturbing stories, and even more of them here today.

My first question relates to religious education. We have discovered in recent days something that is already there within us and that has been stirred up and legitimised by some of the debate, yet religious education has less of a place in the national curriculum than it used to. I wonder whether this is another opportunity for the Government to look again at the place of religious education in schools.

My second question is about religious literacy. I serve on this House’s Select Committee on Communications. We have recently completed a report on the renewal of the BBC charter. Religious broadcasting has almost disappeared from public service broadcasting, and the BBC no longer has a commissioning editor for religious broadcasting. Surely this is a time when we need to do more about this. It is a very practical matter that the Government could address. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford condemns hate crime, calls for better religious literacy”

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