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Consultation on faith in British society

27 June 2014


THE part that faith plays in British society will be examined in a public consultation to be launched in Parliament on Monday.

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 public.

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 Mennini.

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 questions."

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 2015.

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