Community Relations Debate

// December 10th, 2008 // Blog

This short transcript of a debate in the House of Lords, titled, “Community Relations: Muslims” is worth a read. The fact that such a matter is being discussed openly, at high levels, says a lot in itself.

Some highlights:

Lord Renton of Mount Harry (Conservative) “… there was a proposal for young Muslims to be taught citizenship in school so that they could see that there was no necessary conflict between Islam and British life? That is a difficult task, but has the process started and is it succeeding?”

I can't imagine it would be any more difficult to teach citizenship to Muslim youth, than to any other average young person. Can anyone add some insight – teachers, young people, youth workers, etc.?

Lord Hylton (Crossbench) “My Lords, do the Government recognise that British Muslims and others should be free to make political criticisms of military occupations and regimes, where these occur, without automatically being labelled as extremists?”

Baroness Andrews (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government; Labour) “My Lords, we certainly agree with that. Our work to prevent extremism is simply to build up the resilience of local communities to deal with distortions of the faith. That is why we are working at civic and community level and with faith groups to put into practice some of the opportunities, for example new activities for young people and leadership programmes for women and young people, which can help to challenge such distortion.”

Government meddling in religious affairs… that always ends well… </sarcasm>

Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Spokesperson in the Lords (Discrimination Law Refrom), Women and Equality; Liberal Democrat) “My Lords, is there a danger in lumping people together into different communities… People within those groups are individual human beings with very different positions. If we classify them in that way, will we not create a divisive rather than a united system?”

Baroness Warsi (Shadow Minister (Community Cohesion), Communities and Local Government; Conservative) “My Lords, can the Minister confirm that British Muslim communities are part of the general communities which make up Britain? If that is so, can she explain why the British Muslim engagement unit is based in the Foreign Office?”

Hilarious!

Baroness Falkner of Margravine (Spokesperson in the Lords, Home Affairs; Liberal Democrat) “My Lords, in January we saw the appointment of 19 women to the National Muslim Women's Advisory Group… in the interests of equality, why a Muslim men's group has not been established…?”

Baroness Andrews (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government; Labour) “My Lords, as the noble Baroness well knows, we work with women because they are underrepresented as leaders in the community… She will know that men in the Muslim communities—this is a rather mischievous question—are very well represented”

Roughly translates as: “Oy, Miss Cheeky! Stop stirring!

One Response to “Community Relations Debate”

  1. Media Guy says:

    Good Lord…

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