New UK Commission on Integration and Cohesion to be Chaired by Sikh

August 24, 2006

Source: dnaindia

On August 24, 2006 dnaindia reported, "In response to 7/7 and the more recent foiled terror plot the British government on Thursday launched a Commission on Integration and Cohesion calling for a 'new and honest' national debate on diversity and multiculturalism.

'Tensions between people of different ethnic groups and faiths in British society must be tackled' said Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary at the launch. The body will be chaired by 45-year-old Darra Singh, a Sikh who grew up in Bradford in North England. Singh’s parents arrived in the UK from Punjab 50 years ago, and his mother still speaks very little English as is common in many first generation migrants. Singh along with another 10, yet to be appointed, commissioners will start work in September and will tour the UK before giving their report next June.

The Commission will look at how towns, cities and communities tackle challenges such as segregation and social or economic division between different ethnic groups.

The Commission is designed to carry on some of the work that followed riots in towns in North England including Bradford in 2001, and the 7/7 phenomenon of British youths who become 'home grown' suicide bombers and feel alienated from UK society.

Kelly suggested that Britain had moved away from an era of 'uniform consensus' about multi-culturalism. People were now questioning whether multi-culturalism encouraged separateness, she said. But the new debate had to be based on 'fact, not myth,' added Kelly."