Religious Tolerance

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps will they take to maintain tolerance and respect for all religious beliefs in British society.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Faith communities make a vital contribution to national life: guiding the moral outlook of many, inspiring great numbers of people to public service, providing succour to those in need.

Britain has a proud tradition of religious tolerance, within the law. The Government are committed to creating a strong and integrated society in which hatred and prejudice are not tolerated and in which all people are free to express their identity and live without fear of harassment and crime that targets them because of that identity.

The Government welcomes and supports the growth of dialogue and shared action between different religious groups. We want to help build effective, friendly working relationships between people of different faiths.

Inter Faith Week 2010, from 21 to 27 November, will be an important focus for inter faith activities. Despite tight spending pressures, we are able to make some funds available to support activities during the week.

We have also decided to continue with the Faiths in Action scheme-grants of up to £6,000 to support innovative local inter faith projects, including during Inter Faith Week. This Government have approved 179 projects totalling £995,000. Many of these have an emphasis on people from different backgrounds coming together to address local problems such as improving green spaces, as well as promoting tolerance and respect.