Current status: background briefing.
The Church of England has launched an astonishing attack on the Government's drive to turn Britain into a multi-faith society. In a wide-ranging condemnation of policy, it says that the attempt to make minority 'faith' communities more integrated has backfired, leaving society 'more separated than ever before'. The criticisms are made in a confidential Church document, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, that challenges the 'widespread description' of Britain as a multi-faith society and even calls for the term 'multi-faith' to be reconsidered. The document, Cohesion and Integration - a Briefing Note for the House (of Bishops), claims that divisions between communities have been deepened by the Government's 'schizophrenic' approach to tackling multiculturalism. While trying to encourage interfaith relations, it has actually given 'privileged attention' to the Islamic faith and Muslim communities. Written by Guy Wilkinson, the interfaith adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the paper says that the Church of England has been sidelined. Instead, 'preferential' treatment has been afforded to the Muslim community despite the fact that it makes up only three per cent of the population. Britain remains overwhelmingly a Christian country at heart and moves to label it as a multi-faith society suggest a hidden agenda, it says. [Sunday Telegraph]
For the full text of the Sunday Telegraph article, see here.