Church questions government multi-faith approach

Government attempts to integrate minority faith communities have left society “more separated than ever before”, the Church of England has warned.

A leaked document also accuses ministers of sidelining the church and giving “privileged attention” to Britain’s Muslim community as part of efforts to promote multiculturalism in the wake of last year’s July 7th London bombings.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Guy Wilkinson, the document’s author and interfaith advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, lists measures adopted to improve integration since the attacks, including shelving legislation on forced marriage.

He argues that such efforts have produced no “noticeable positive impact on community cohesion” and have actually undermined its interfaith agenda.

The document also challenges the notion that Britain is a “multi-faith society” and accuses ministers of taking a “schizophrenic” approach to improving interfaith relations which has added to disaffection between different communities.

“Indeed, one might argue that disaffection and separation is now greater than ever, with Muslim communities withdrawing further into a sense of victimhood, and other faith communities seriously concerned that the government has given signals that appear to encourage the notion of a privileged relationship with sections of the Muslim community,” it says.

The disclosure of the document, which was reportedly “well received” at a House of Bishops meeting last week, follows a week of tense relations between the authorities and British faith groups.

Leader of the commons Jack Straw caused outrage among some within the Muslim community when he suggested that women should not wear a full face veil in public.

Senior Jewish figures have also questioned the decision of the Metropolitan police to excuse a Muslim officer from guarding London’s Israeli embassy.