Source: New Kerala News
Wire Service: PTI
On February 10, 2006 the Press Trust of India reported, "A lawmaker has accused British ministers of 'anti-Christian prejudice' after figures showed that they spent more amount to celebrate festivals of ethnic communities including Hindus and Muslims than they do on Easter and Christmas. Government's response to important cultural dates was uncovered in a number of House of Commons questions by David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth, who complained of the 'anti-Christian prejudice'. According to figures released to Parliament, the Home Office spent more than 15,000 pounds in a week on events celebrating Muslim and Hindu festivals. The Home Office disclosed that it had invited 200 guests from the Muslims, Hindu and Sikh communities to an Eid/Diwali celebration on November 14, at a cost of 8,933 pounds... The Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted VIP receptions to mark dates on Muslim and Chinese calendars but has no plans to observe the main Christian festival of Easter. A government spokeswoman said it used religious events to fulfil its legal obligations to reach out to minority communities, but critics say such strategies risk promoting sectarianism as they define people by their religion. Claire Rayner, the broadcaster and honorary associate of the National Secular Society, said: 'It's wrong. It makes separateness more important.'"