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News 2006
News ->British Hindus don't want to be called 'Asian'


BRITISH HINDUS DON'T WANT TO BE CALLED 'ASIAN'
(11 July 2006)

Indian ManThe first independent report on the identity and public engagement of British Hindus has found that British Hindus do not want to be called 'Asian' but would rather be called 'Indian' or 'Hindu' for various reasons including the issues surrounding mistaken Islamophobia, and isolation in accessing public services. The Report 'Connecting British Hindus', launched today by Ruth Kelly Secretary of State for Communities, identified that some Hindus feel 'excluded' in the race dialogue and urged Government, media and public service providers to ensure that Hindus are included in any work undertaken to tackle racism in communities.

The report was commissioned by the Hindu Forum of Britain, researched by the Runnymede Trust and sponsored by the Cohesion and Faith Unit of the Department of Communities and Local Government. The report which was compiled by consulting 800 Hindus from different ages, gender, regions and economic backgrounds in focus group meetings and online surveys. It highlights the excellent integration of Hindus into British society and urges the Government to work closely with British Hindus in building its capacity and improving public services catered to the special requirements of the community.

The report recommended that schools and communities should work together to teach Hinduism at schools; community organisations should be provided media and leadership training; an umbrella body should be empowered to monitor and negotiate planning issues surrounding Hindu temples; Government and community should work together for fuller and active engagement of women, older people and youth; and to in crease an understanding of human rights issues that affect the Hindu community.

A key finding of the report was that Hindu community organisations need to find sensitive ways of responding to fears and misinformation in order to reduce tensions, and to work with other faith communities, especially Muslim communities, to build dialogue and understanding

Commenting on the importance of the findings of the report, Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "This research raises important issues that exist between Hindu communities and the Government. It helps us and service providers tackle the challenges that impact on the everyday lives of Britain's Hindu communities.

"British Hindus have made a positive contribution to both the social, cultural and economic prosperity of our rich and diverse society. Many sections of those communities, including women, youth and older people, are often hard to reach.

"Last month I announced the Commission on Integration and Cohesion will consider how local areas deal with increasing diversity and respond to the tensions it can sometimes cause. We hope the Hindu community will make a vital contribution to the commission's work."

"All of us, including central Government and public services, have a role to play in helping Britain move towards an inclusive society, based on mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between people of all faiths."

Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said: "The Hindu community has now entered its second-generation status and is well integrated into the larger British society. The community is debating issues of identity and 'Britishness' with a view to playing a more active role in mainstream society. The community's diversity and the strength of its voluntary and community sectors continue to play a great role in its successful integration and progressive cohesion. However, Hindu community groups and organisations face multiple disadvantage and discrimination. The Connecting British Hindus report is one of the first sources of authentic and credible information that will seek to understand some of these issues."

Click here for a copy of the report 'HFB - Connecting Hindus' (1.51 MB, PDF iconPDF)

ABOUT THE HINDU FORUM OF BRITAIN (HFB)

The Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) represents 270 Hindu organisations across the United Kingdom. At the core of the Forum's activities is a strong belief in the richness and diversity of the Hindu religious expression, its philosophical value system that encompasses respect for all beings and faiths, and a cultural heritage that facilitates community cohesion and coexistence. One of the key aims of the Hindu Forum of Britain is to ensure that British Hindus are fully included in building a compassionate, safe and respectful British society driven by its common vision of diversity, equality and social cohesion.

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