On 27th June 2018 Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked an Oral Question in the House of Lords: ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in pursuit of their anti-terrorism strategy, they will require preaching in mosques and teaching in madrassas in England and Wales to be monitored for hate speech against non-Muslims.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, followed up with a point about collective responsibility for resisting terrorism:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, does the Minister agree that pursuing anti-terrorism is the business not just of the Government but of all citizens of the United Kingdom? Therefore, if noble Lords do not mind an African saying, when two elephants fight, or make love, the grass gets hurt—what will not work is either side of the House thinking that it is doing a better job than the other. All of us are involved in trying to resist terrorism; it does not matter where it comes from. It is the duty of every citizen to pursue that particular reality. I lived in Uganda at one time when Idi Amin could just pick on anybody; it did not matter who you were or what you believed. What is critical, when we as citizens of the nation do not assist in the whole question of overcoming terrorism, is that it would be a mistake to think that it is purely an Islamic question. Continue reading “Archbishop of York highlights importance of collective responsibility in resisting terrorism”
On 21st May 2018, Lord Ahmed tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage Iran and Saudi Arabia to work together to bring peaceful solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.’ The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge, asked a follow up question:
The Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, does the Minister accept the continuing pressing need to improve religious literacy, not least concerning Sunni and Shia, within and without Whitehall if we in this country are properly to understand, let alone address, the problems to which reference has been made? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks about religious literacy in Government, especially 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?
Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds invokes 9th Commandment in discussion of Islam”
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.
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle expresses support for Muslim communities in light of hate crimes”
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?
Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government to affirm Muslim communities’ condemnation of child sexual exploitation scandals”
On 20th December 2017 Baroness Cox asked the Government “what is their assessment of the current situation in Syria”. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, would the Minister agree that there is a danger here that support for, and funding of, anti-Assad forces, however understandable that may seem from the outside, might lead to exactly the same unintended consequences that we have seen in Iraq—namely, the strengthening of anti-democratic Islamist forces who have no intention of delivering the freedoms that we assume they should? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about funding of anti-democratic Islamist forces in Syria”
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”