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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Help sought on faith integration
Charles Clarke
The Home Secretary hopes the commission can start work soon
People are to be canvassed for ideas on how to boost integration among UK Muslims and other non-Christians.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has written to faith leaders inviting views on an advisory body to be known as the Commission on Integration and Cohesion.

He said this new body would need to focus on practical ways to overcome barriers to integration.

It will stage public meetings around the country - a government minister will chair them.

Proposals must be submitted before a deadline of next summer.

Issues examined will include how to create an increased sense of Britishness and how to encourage communities who choose to live segregated lives to engage more with the mainstream.

Task forces

Faith leaders have been asked to pass on their views about possible members of the new body which Mr Clarke said he hoped would be set up "as soon as possible".

The new body, which is due to report by July 2006, is expected to be headed by Home Office minister Hazel Blears.

"I see such a commission building on the work of Ted Cantle CBE, Sir Bernard Crick and Lord Parekh," Mr Clarke said.

It is thought it will pick up on the work of seven task forces set up by the Home Office in July after the terror attacks on London to look at issues of integration and extremism.

The task forces consisting of Muslim MPs, peers, academics and community leaders are expected to report their recommendations early next month and will then be disbanded.




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