Monday, 15 April 2013


At County Hall, Glenfield (seat of Leicestershire County Council), for a meeting of the Interfaith Forum for Leicestershire.

The topic this evening is in two parts: Hate Incident Monitoring and Engagement and Representation of Faith Communities. The former is addressed by Sally Penney, Hate Incident Monitoring Project Co-ordinator at Leicestershire County Council), the latter by Chino Cabon (Senior Race Equality Officer at The Race Equality Centre).

The meeting is opened by Peter Lewis (Chairman of Leicestershire County Council), Chaired by Suleman Nagdi (Spokeman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations) and wound up by Resham Singh Sandhu (Chair of the Sikh Cultural and Welfare Society).

The Interfaith Forum for Leicestershire is less formal in nature than Leicester Council of Faiths, which allows it to be free from the need for formal membership, more open to input from those attending its meetings and more amenable to suggestions from any interested party for future topics.

There are 30 attendees this evening - a decent number for early Monday evening. I can't help wondering, though, if the turnout will have been affected by the fact that the Council of Faiths held our most recent meeting on a very similar topic, less than six weeks back, on Hate Crime and the Criminal Justice System at the University of Leicester. One of this evening's speakers spoke then. It would be a pity if that were so, as the approach taken to the subject this time round could be considered complementary. Chino, who spoke at the earlier meeting, gives a distinctly different talk this evening. There are around 185 hate incidents (which are different in nature from hate crimes) related to religion or belief reported in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We should continue talking about this subject until that reduces to nothing.

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