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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Education hope over sectarianism
Sectarian graffiti
Emphasis is being placed on education and tolerance
Deputy Communities Minister Mary Mulligan has said educating children is the key to tackling sectarianism.

An anti-sectarian pack for schools is being piloted on the internet by five education authorities and is expected to go live by next summer.

The website will offer faith definitions, anti-bigotry lessons and interactive classroom exercises.

The issue, which has been viewed as a scourge in Scotland, was discussed at a conference in Dundee on Monday.

Ms Mulligan said sectarianism should be tackled in schools in order for youngsters to grow up aware of different faiths.

We must eradicate sectarianism and education has a major role to play
Mary Mulligan MSP
"Scotland is a multi-cultural society," the Linlithgow MSP said.

"By any sensible definition it must be multi-faith society.

"Religious hatred in Scotland is not just limited to a Catholic/Protestant divide, but also includes other forms of religious bigotry.

"We must eradicate sectarianism and education has a major role to play in this."

She said 260 people have been prosecuted since a new law was introduced last June to tackle bigotry.

Ms Mulligan said it was wrong to assume sectarianism was solely a west of Scotland football issue.

'Bigoted and ignorant'

She praised the work carried out by Celtic and Rangers to tackle the problem in their respective supports.

"We can, we must ensure that the next generation of Scots grows up to respect difference and challenge bigotry of all kinds," she added.

Last year Northern Ireland's cross-community Alliance Party travelled to Scotland to find out how the Old Firm have tackled the problem.

Anti-sectarian group Nil by Mouth has praised the clubs for their efforts to deal with sectarian elements.

First Minister Jack McConnell has warned that most faiths have come under threat from "bigoted and ignorant" people in Scotland.

He said it was unacceptable that people were being stabbed because of their religious faith.


SEE ALSO:
Party studies anti-sectarian model
25 Sep 03  |  Northern Ireland
Schools' anti-bigotry lesson
05 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Have your say: Sectarianism
25 May 03  |  Scotland


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