Category: RELIGION DIVERSITY

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THE GUARDIAN VIEW ON MUSLIMS IN THE WEST: MARGINALISED BY MISTRUST

Ministers should stop boasting about supposed British values. The debate about security in a diverse society needs to be framed in the language of human rights. The book was in the college library, and a student enrolled for the very subject that it covered was spotted picking it up. The scene might not be so common as it was in the pre-Google era, but nor is it – one would hope – so rare as to prompt a college official to instigate a worried conversation, and then call for security. Indeed, the fact that this happened at Staffordshire University makes...

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CHURCH OF ENGLAND BANS BNP MEMBERSHIP

This week the Church of England voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning clergy from belonging to the British National Party. On the second day of the General Synod, the legislative body that meets twice a year, more than 300 of the 418 members gathered in Westminster endorsed a motion asking the House of Bishops to keep BNP members out of the church. The members wanted a policy similar to that adopted by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which bars police from belonging to an organisation that “contradicts the general duty to promote race equality”. The House of Bishops is...

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WOMEN BISHOPS WILL HAPPEN, BELIEVES ONE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND’S FIRST FEMALE PRIESTS

The Reverend Prebendary Philippa Boardman is sitting in a quiet room of her East End church when she flashes a mischievous smile and lifts up her jacket to reveal a purple cardigan underneath. In the annals of protest it is hardly the most drastic of actions, but it is, nonetheless, a form of quiet, stubborn rebellion. Boardman has been wearing something purple ever since 20 November, when the Church of England’s General Synod saw to it that neither she nor any of her female colleagues would be wearing the shirt of a bishop any time soon. “I came home on...

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AT WORK: M&S DECISION GETS TO THE MEAT OF THE MATTER

M&S says its staff can refuse to sell pork and alcohol for religious reasons, opening up questions over best practice for employers faced with such decisions. With the news that M&S staff have been allowed to refuse to serve customers buying alcohol or pork products on religious grounds, interesting issues are raised about rights of religious freedom in the workplace. Not least, did M&S have to implement this policy? The simple answer is no, but it (as with any other employer) could have faced a risk of a claim for discrimination if it did not have good grounds to insist that...

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MUSLIM DEFENDANT NOT TO WEAR BURQA IN COURT

21-year-old woman from Hackney will not be allowed to enter a plea in court until she shows her face A judge has refused to allow a Muslim woman to stand trial in a full-length burqa as he said it would be possible for another person to enter the dock pretending to be her. Judge Peter Murphy told the 21-year-old defendant from Hackney in east London that he would not allow her to enter a plea in court until she showed her face. The woman, who is facing an allegation of intimidating a witness in Finsbury Park in June, told Blackfriars crown court she could...

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RAMADAN IN NUMBERS

Why does the duration of Ramadan change? How long will Muslims in different countries have to fast? Get the key numbers here… 7,504,984 tonnes of dates produced Photograph: Murad Sezer/AP Muslims traditionally use dates to break their fast, so sales of this sweet fruit soar during Ramadan. Medjool and Halawi may sound exotic but there are some more surprisingly named date variants because sellers often give the best crop gimmicky names. In 2009, the Obama date could be found after the US President’s trip to Egypt. In 2011, buyers could purchase the Tahrir Square date and this year, according to Al Arabiya...

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CHRISTIANS’ DISCRIMINATION CASES REJECTED

Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele lose legal tussle at Strasbourg court over workplace discrimination Three British Christians who argued that their beliefs saw them wrongly disciplined by their employers for actions such as refusing to counsel same-sex couples have lost their legal battle at the European court of human rights. Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele had their appeals to the Strasbourg court rejected in January as part of the same ruling as that in which Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant, won her fight against being banned from wearing a cross at work. The three sought to resolve...

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ONE IN FIVE YOUNG PRISONERS ARE MUSLIM, REPORT REVEALS

Chief inspector of prison Nick Hardwick reports that figure has risen from 13% in 2009-10 The proportion of offenders in youth jails who are Muslim is rising sharply and they now account for more than one-fifth of all inmates, the chief inspector of prisons has said. Nick Hardwick said the figure had risen from 13% in 2009-10 to 21% in 2011-12. He said that while they were less likely to say they felt unsafe in youth jails and more likely to say they were treated with respect, they still felt they were treated significantly worse than non-Muslims. “They reported that...

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IS ROWAN WILLIAMS RIGHT TO WARN ABOUT EXCESSIVE IDENTITY POLITICS?

Rowan Williams says identity politics has been a very important part of the last 10 or 20 years but that we are ‘beginning to see the pendulum swinging back and saying […] we have to find some way of putting it all back together again. He says minority identification risks fragmenting society – our panellists deliver their verdict…   Reni Eddo-Lodge: ‘His language is divisive’ Archbishop Rowan Williams, an advocate of the Robin Hood tax, is often regarded as a progressive public voice. His latest comments recognise the importance of identity, but veer towards the dismissal of marginalised voices. Williams...

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RELIGION-FRIENDLY WORLD DEMOCRACY

Religious, secular and political people need to start talking to each other, to build peaceful coexistence and protect minorities There will be no peace in our world without an understanding of the place of religion within it. The past decade has seen many convenient myths, which disguised the importance of religion, stripped away. Many thought as society progressed, religion would decline. It hasn’t happened. Then there are those that insisted that as the Arab revolution knocked over long-established regimes and created movements for democracy, so those societies’ religiosity would take second place to the new politics. It hasn’t happened. Religion...