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Response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion Consultation

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Publication Date

January 2007

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Abstract

Key Points:

General:
• Faith communities tend to be heterogeneous rather than homogenous and the diversity of all faith communities must be recognised.
• Public policymakers need to be aware of cultural sensitivities in devel-oping policies that promote cohesion and integration. This can only be achieved through promoting shared values whilst acknowledging the positive contribution that the diverse minority make to Britain.
• Government must be sensitive, astute and acknowledge that integra-tion takes time. The Home Office has acknowledged in the past, one size does not fit all and a tailor-made approach to cohesion is needed. Inequality and poverty need to be tackled to achieve social cohesion.
• The Government has provided welcomed support for voluntary sector initiatives and worked in partnership with them in building cohesion through a variety of programmes. However, the public sector needs to encourage the sustainability of these projects and good practice by fo-cussing on both a long term strategic framework and longer term fund-ing cycles for these projects.
• There is a need to understand the complexity of religious belief and faith communities and their different needs. In addition, there needs to be an acknowledgement by policymakers that communities have a wide range of views on many issues.
• There are many instances where ethnic and faith minority communi-ties work together on issues where we are all affected. However, while sometimes communities and individuals within them agree on issues, sometimes they disagree. The essential thing is to build a framework for open and respectful dialogue where good relationships are main-tained through better communication.
• It is evident that British citizens increasingly have multi-dimensional identities. In particular more work needs to be done to explore the rela-tionship between faith and ethnicity.

Specific:
• The Jewish community is diverse.
• The Jewish community sees itself as simultaneously a people, faith and ethnic group. It is not useful to compartmentalise these identities.
• British Jewry has developed over several centuries a notion of ‘inte-gration without assimilation’.
• Jewish experience of immigration shows that integration can happen but takes time, in particular in terms of institutional development.
• The Jewish community promotes inter and intra communal initiatives on a number of levels in the areas of social cohesion, education, community development, interfaith relations, social action and welfare. Strategic national, regional and grassroots projects exist that are sup-ported by the public, private and voluntary sectors
• Rising numbers of antisemitic attacks is a concern that needs to be tackled.
• The Jewish community is keen to promote good community relations.
• Jewish schools can be agents of social cohesion and promoters of ac-tive citizenship.

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PDF of inal version of government report to which this item was a response is apended to this record

Bibliographic Information

Board of Deputies of British Jews Response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion Consultation. Board of Deputies of British Jews. January 2007:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-uk286