Inter faith relations and election campaigning: Statement from IFN Co-Chairs and FCF Moderators
We affirm the right of people to express, within the law, their strongly held views, including during election campaigning. However, it is vital in our diverse and democratic society that views are expressed in a peaceful and respectful way and also that care is taken that observations on situations locally, nationally or abroad do not reflect or play into antisemitism, Islamophobia or hatred of other communities.
During election campaigns, symbols and images of different faith communities are sometimes co-opted and manipulated by organisations and/or public figures to justify or promote divisive political agendas. A recent example of this is a campaign leaflet for a far-right candidate for election in Batley and Spen, with a crude collage of the candidate against the background of a local church and with a large image of a cross. Slanted and inaccurate portrayals of religious and cultural history often accompany such misuse of imagery.
At such times, solidarity of response from faith communities and inter faith initiatives is crucial: nurturing existing good relationships between different communities and seeking to safeguard those; speaking out against politics of division which set communities against each other; rebutting misappropriation of our respective faith communities’ symbols, traditions and history; reporting any hate incidents; and encouraging informed dialogue and respectful expression of views at all times.
A statement from the IFN Co-Chairs and the Moderators of IFN's Faith Communities Forum
25 June 2021
- Media queries to the Inter Faith Network: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This statement can be found at http://interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages.
- The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.
- Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at www.interfaith.org.uk/members.
- North Kirklees Interfaith (an IFN member body) has issued a statement in the context of the by-election in Batley and Spen: https://twitter.com/NKInterFaith/status/1408085192896614401. A statement was also issued by the United Benefice of Batley on behalf of the Bishop of Leeds, responding to the Jayda Fransen leaflet: https://twitter.com/BeneficeBatley/status/1407378359294758913.
- Details of IFN Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/about/people. The Faith Communities Forum is the forum of the national faith community representative bodies in membership of IFN.
- IFN’s policy on making statements can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf.