HINDUS DON'T WANT TO BE CALLED 'ASIAN'
(11 July 2006)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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."
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."
here for a copy of the report 'HFB
- Connecting Hindus' (1.51 MB, PDF)
THE HINDU FORUM OF BRITAIN (HFB)
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.