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SPEAKERS BACKS RELIGIOUS LEADERS

Last updated: 2003-06-13

Earlier this week leaders of the Three Faiths Forum and of the Board of Deputies met the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon Michael Martin MP, to discuss their activities.

The Speaker, who is one of the patrons of the Three Faiths Forum, emphasised his support for its work and for all the current initiatives to improve relations between the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

Sir Sigmund Sternberg spoke of the importance of moving forward the Alexandria process to promote co-operation among the three Abrahamic faiths, particularly in the Middle East. Board of Deputies Vice President Jerry Lewis recalled the reception which the Speaker hosted last Chanukah and his decision to commission a special Menorah to form part of the Speaker’s silver collection. Director General Neville Nagler briefed the Speaker on current legislative proposals affecting the faith communities, particularly the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s recommendation for a ban on Jewish and Muslim slaughter.

The Speaker commented that Members of Parliament ought to be alerted to these developments. He offered to arrange a meeting at which leaders of the three faiths communities could meet MPs and members of the House of Lords in order to brief them on their current concerns. Sir Sigmund Sternberg remarked: “This is an extremely welcome proposal; we are following it up as a matter of urgency. We had an excellent discussion with the Speaker and greatly value the interest he is showing in our work.”