04 November 2005

THE METHODIST CHURCH VOICES CONCERN OVER GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS ABOUT COMBATTING EXTREMISM IN PLACES OF WORSHIP

The Methodist Church has welcomed the opportunity to comment on the recent government consultation document 'Preventing Extremism Together: Places of Worship'. The Church's response to the document, however, voices serious misgivings about some of the legislative proposals to combat extremist behaviour in places of worship.

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice comments that; 'We consider that action in this area is both unnecessary and counter-productive as there are very few instances where a place of worship has been used to foment terrorist behaviour. If the discussion of these issues is removed from places of worship, there will be no opportunity for those in the mainstream teaching of the faith to argue for alternative interpretations of the texts. Because of such matters, we are strongly urging the government not to implement these proposals.'

There are also concerns that while the proposals cover all places of worship, they will be seen as being targeted specifically at mosques, exacerbating religious and social tensions. There seems to be a real danger that the proposed measures could be more harmful than helpful.

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