THE part that faith plays in British society will be examined in
a public consultation to be launched in Parliament on
The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life,
chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss, has been looking into this
question since last year, but will now hear evidence from the
Alongside Lady Butler-Sloss at the launch was the Archbishop of
Canterbury's secretary for interreligious affairs, Dr Toby Howarth,
and the former secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain,
Sir Iqbal Sacranie.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, and Lord
Harries of Pentregarth, are also involved in the Commission's work,
as well as the numerous representatives from Islam, Hinduism,
Judaism, and the Sikh community.
More than 50 academics, faith leaders, and politicians were at
the launch, including the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio
Dr Ed Kessler, the executive director of the Woolf Institute,
which set up the Commission, said on Monday that there were six
different themes that the consultation would delve into.
"Today's UK . . . presents a more complex and diverse context
than has been hitherto in existence," he said. "We have met for a
year now, discussing these issues with various experts. We hope
members of the public can contribute to some of these
The six themes are the law, the media, social action, education,
dialogue, and social change.
After the tour of the UK, which will take in what Dr Kessler
describes as the "hard-to-reach communities", and which includes
the cities of Glasgow, Belfast, and Leeds, the Commission will
produce a report with recommendations for the next Government in