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Humanists UK submits evidence on building community cohesion in the face of rising hate crime

Humanists UK has submitted written evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hate Crime’s inquiry on building community cohesion when hate crime is on the rise. Humanists UK’s evidence focused on the positive impact that allowing children of different ethnic and religious backgrounds the opportunity to mix at school has on community cohesion, and called for greater awareness of hate crimes targeting apostates. It also focused on the work of its programme Faith to Faithless, the only support network for those leaving isolated and controlling religious groups.

The inquiry focused on what best practice is happening in promoting community cohesion and tackling hate speech, or should be happening on the ground, and how could this be supported at both national and local government level. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that mixing in schools improves attitudes towards outgroups and intergroup relations. However, religious selection in admissions to state faith schools segregates children along religious, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. This therefore prevents children from mixing and experiencing the benefits that this can bring to community cohesion. Humanists UK recommends that the UK Government end its support for religious admissions criteria in schools.

Humanists UK’s evidence also focused on the work of Faith to Faithless. Apostates are a particularly vulnerable group, who experience multiple and unique barriers to accessing support services and are often the victims of religiously motivated hate crimes. Faith to Faithless provides specialist training to statutory bodies and to third sector organisations on recognising abuse within religious communities and promoting best practice in supporting its victims. With Government support Faith to Faithless aims to roll this training out nationally.

Humanists UK’s Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘The evidence base is very clear: schools that have open admissions criteria are more diverse and have better outcomes for community cohesion then those that apply religious selection. This is why we support an end to religious discrimination in our state schools, and to allow all children, regardless of the religion or belief of their parents, an equal opportunity to attend good local schools. Such inclusive schools give children opportunities to mix with and learn alongside those from different belief systems.’

‘We are also keen to highlight the excellent work of Faith to Faithless, which is defining best practice in tackling hate crime targeted at apostates, and is currently piloting training with parts of the public and charity sectors.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan on rachel@humanism.org.uk or 0207 324 3065.

Read Humanists UK’s submission here: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018-07-10-APPG-on-Hate-Crime.pdf

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigning on education: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/

Read more about the work of Faith to Faithless: https://www.faithtofaithless.com/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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