Report highlights religious discrimination in UK

 A report from the British and Irish churches calls for Christians to take seriously the question of religious discrimination. It points out that the churches are strongly committed to the principle of religious freedom, and therefore must oppose the unfair treatment of people on the grounds of their faith or belief. The report draws attention to recent research commissioned by the Home Office which has shown the seriousness of the problem of religious discrimination in Britain. It suggests practical ways in which the Churches could play a part in combating discrimination. Religious Discrimination: A Christian Response will be launched by the Churches' Commission for Inter Faith Relations (a Commission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) on Monday, at Church House, Westminster. The report also points to the complex issues which will have to be faced in framing legislation on this question - the Government is already committed under the Treaty of Amsterdam to providing legal protection against religious discrimination in the area of employment by 2003. Baroness Kathleen Richardson, Moderator of the Churches' Commission for Inter Faith Relations said: "For many people today, their faith is one of the most important aspects of who they are. If we want to build an inclusive and fair society, we need to recognise the importance of religious identity, and protect people from discrimination on the grounds of their beliefs. We are launching this report on the day following Racial Justice Sunday, observed in many churches in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. That is because we believe that the Churches, which are strongly committed to fighting against racial discrimination, must now also take seriously the concerns of people of different faiths who have experienced discrimination because of their religious beliefs and practices."

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