House of Lords debates interfaith dialogue in multicultural Britain

08 September 2011

Members of the House of Lords discussed how different faiths talk to each other in the UK in a debate, tabled by Lord Mitchell, on interfaith dialogue in multicultural Britain on Thursday 8 September.

Referring to the call for unity between communities by Tariq Jahan following the death of his son Haroon and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir during rioting in Birmingham in August, Lord Mitchell explained why he had tabled the debate:

“In the shadow of the tragic death of a young Muslim man in Birmingham, and with the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just days away, I think we need to ask ourselves if there is more that we could be doing to improve interfaith dialogue in the UK.”

Lord Mitchell said: “There is a lamentable lack of understanding of a variety of religious issues, particularly by those who really should know better – university administrators and faculty, for example. Their lack of understanding of issues such as religious holidays, or the implications of a student’s observation of keeping halal or kosher, could be a contributing factor to difficult relations between different religious groups. I hope that this debate will provide a springboard for discussions on how we can promote a greater understanding of each other’s backgrounds and allow people to experience real exposure to, and immersion in, one another’s faith and culture.”

Members of the Lords who took part in the debate (use the links to watch/listen to the contributions):

Other speakers included Lord Hameed (Crossbench), Lord Stone of Blackheath (Labour), Lord Haskel (Labour), Lord Young of Graffham (Conservative), Lord Hussain (Liberal Democrat), Lord Noon (Labour), Lord Popat (Conservative) and Lord Judd (Labour).

Baroness Warsi (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government.

Further information

Members of the public can also attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

Image: Press Association

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