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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 12:19 GMT
Tackle 'social causes' of bigotry
A fracas near Ibrox Park
Church leaders say efforts must focus on the causes of sectarianism
Church leaders attending a summit in Glasgow have said the social causes of sectarianism must be tackled.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien said attention should be given to those whose behaviour is the result of having nothing to do.

He said: "I think that we should now begin to look at the wider social causes of sectarian animosity."

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland said the problem of intolerance is in society.

The Right Reverend Alan McDonald said: "I believe that the problem is not in the churches, the problem is not in the football clubs, the problem is in society.

Unless we sort out these social problems there still will be the social causes of sectarian animosity
Cardinal Keith O'Brien

"The culture of intolerance that we all want to get rid of is out there."

The moderator said he had planned to attend an Old Firm match at Ibrox with the Cardinal as a show of unity to rival fans.

Though Rangers were relaxed about the plan, he said security staff said it would not be a good idea.

"They replied that a quiet afternoon could not be guaranteed under such circumstances," he said.

Cardinal O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, listed the causes of sectarianism as poverty, unemployment and poor housing.

"Unless we sort out these social problems there still will be the social causes of sectarian animosity," he said.

His comments were made after First Minister Jack McConnell unveiled a strategy at the summit to tackle sectarianism in football.

A national body called Football For All is to be set up to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive said it was considering extending banning orders to marches and parades.

Anti-bigotry football body set up
12 Dec 06 |  Glasgow and West
Efforts stepped up to end bigotry
12 Dec 06 |  Scotland
Row over religious crime figures
27 Nov 06 |  Scotland

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