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New on-line forum on faith and public policy aims to prompt 'spirited debate'

Date: 02/08/2013

Are Muslims effective participants in governance or are they victims of policies over which they have little say? This is just one of the debates, featuring contributions from academics, think-tanks, policy-makers and the voluntary and community sectors, taking place on an innovative new on-line faith and public policy forum hosted by the University of Bristol and funded by the AHRC.

At a time when the relationship between religion and public policy is highly visible and hotly contested, as recent debates over the Archbishop of Canterbury’s challenge to payday lenders and over state funding for faith schools have shown, there is a need for accessible, relevant and recent research on and analysis of these issues.

Addressing this need, Public Spirit provides a space for researchers, policymakers, politicians and practitioners from the voluntary and community sectors to access the latest research, engage in current debates and share expertise on key issues of faith and public policy.

Hosted on the forum now are two themed debates: the first addresses the question: are Muslims effective participants in governance or are they victims of policies over which they have little say? The second theme asks: what are the implications of the Coalition governments' emphasis on Christianity for a multi-faith society? And, should faith groups be key participants in public service delivery?

In the coming months, Public Spirit will feature contributions from a wide range of authors on: the how and who of questions of religious representation; the implications of ‘muscular liberalism’ for faith and integration; the role of faith groups and values in social action; and finding the right balance between promoting equality and recognising religious difference.

Hosted by the University's Centre for Ethnicity and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project is led by Dr Therese O'Toole working with Dr Stephen Jones and the Centre's Director, Professor Tariq Modood.

Website: publicspirit.org.uk.

Contact: Dr. Stephen Jones, stephen.h.jones@bristol.ac.uk

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