Is SACRE prejudiced?

It’s an obvious question, but it hadn’t really occurred to me until after last night’s vote on which “fringe” religions** would be co-opted onto Birmingham SACRE. The candidates were: Baha’i, Jains, Rastafarians, Progressive Judaism, Mormons, Ahmadi Muslims, and Humanists. The first four were co-opted, the other three weren’t. It’s fair to say that the chair, Barry Henley, wasn’t pleased with this outcome. As far as he’s concerned, although SACRE has the right to choose who to co-opt, it cannot claim to be inclusive if it turns certain groups down.

Looking at the three of us who were shunned, perhaps the decision wasn’t based on prejudice, but I’d need to be convinced. The decision doesn’t appear to be based on numbers. According to the census, there are 2,200 Jews in Birmingham but there are 2 Jewish representatives.

There is certainly Muslim prejudice against Ahmadis and Christian prejudice against Mormons, since they are both considered heresies, making it difficult for them to gain membership of any club where Muslims and Christians have the whip hand. The schools minister, John Nash, will be looking into this outcome and may well intervene.


BHA briefing on previous SACRE discrimination against Humanists in Birmingham (pdf)

**Yes, I know we’re not a religion, but the Human Rights Act states that whenever Law mentions religions, it should be taken to mean religions and beliefs.


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