Source: eGov monitor
Political figures, religious leaders, trade unionists and human rights campaigners are amongst the individuals that have signed up to a new coalition aimed at defending freedom of religious and cultural expression.
Speakers at the launch included the Mayor of London; peace campaigner and activist Bruce Kent; writer Ismail Patel from the British Muslim Initiative; Dr Daud Abdullah, Deputy General Secretary, Muslim Council of Britain; Edie Friedman, Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality; Andrew Stunell MP; and Steve Sinnott, National Union of Teachers.
The coalition is being set up in the light of continuing media and other claims that different communities and faith groups openly expressing their culture or faith threaten community relations in Britain. Such claims have been most recently and strongly directed at the Muslim community, particularly focusing on the right of Muslim women to wear the veil. But such attacks have also recently included a high profile case where a staff member at British Airways was prohibited from wearing a crucifix. The established rights of Sikh community to wear turbans have also come under assault.
The new coalition will bring together people of all faiths and none, to counter these assaults and to actively make the case that all communities should be allowed to express their culture or faith, as long as this is within the law and does not impact on the rights of others to express themselves similarly.