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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Racism debate 'excludes Hindus'
Hindu temple in Neasden, north-west London
There are more than half a million Hindus in the UK
Hindus in the UK feel not enough effort is being made to include them in anti-racist initiatives, a report from the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) says.

About 800 Hindus were surveyed for what the HFB says is the first targeted research project on the community.

The government-sponsored report is due to be launched on Tuesday by Secretary of State for Communities Ruth Kelly.

Ms Kelly said the research raised "important issues" between Hindu communities and the government.

"All of us, including central government and public services, have a role to play in helping Britain move towards an inclusive society, based on mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between people of all faiths," Ms Kelly said.

We hope to be able to offer a view of faith-based communities which gives a different perspective
Robert Berkeley, Runnymede Trust

Hindu Forum of Britain spokesman Ramesh Kallidai said the report showed the UK's third-biggest faith group still faced "multiple disadvantage and discrimination".

"The Connecting British Hindus report is one of the first sources of authentic and credible information that will seek to understand some of these issues," Mr Kallidai said.

'Dialogue'

The report was carried out by researchers from race think-tank the Runnymede Trust.

They found that the UK's 500,000 Hindus were generally well-integrated into British society, but many objected to being described as "Asian" preferring a more distinct identification as either "Hindu" or "Indian".

"Hindu communities should be supported in playing a fuller role in society through improved capacity for leadership, community engagement and better understanding of Hindu beliefs, cultures and perspectives," the report stated.

A key finding was that Hindu community organisations needed to build dialogue with other faith groups, especially Muslim.

Robert Berkeley of the Runnymede Trust said they hoped the report would shed some light on the ongoing debate about the role of faith communities in relation to the state.

"By considering the needs of Hindus in Britain we hope to be able to offer a view of faith-based communities which gives a different perspective and encourages appropriate responses," Dr Berkeley said.

Other recommendations in the report included further research into Hindu communities, improving teaching about Hinduism in schools, media and leadership training for community organisations and developing means of engaging more Hindu women.




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