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Reporting diversity

How journalists can contribute
to community cohesion

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What is Community Cohesion?
A cohesive community is one in which:

• there is a common vision and a sense of belonging for all communities;

• the diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated
and positively valued;

• those from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities;

• strong and positive relationships exist between people from different
backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods.

Reporting Diversity was developed by the Society of Editors and the Media Trust
and funded by the Cohesion and Faiths Unit of the Home Office.

The Society of Editors has more than 400 members in national, regional and local
newspapers and magazines and broadcasting, new media, journalism education
and media law. It campaigns for media freedom, self-regulation, the public’s right
to know and the maintenance of standards in journalism.
Society of Editors, University Centre, Granta Place, Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RU.
Tel: 01223 304080

The Media Trust works in partnership with the media industry to help the voluntary
sector build effective communications.

The Media Trust, 3-7 Euston Centre, Regents Place, London NW1 3JG. Tel: 020 7874 7603

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This guide offers advice and practical help to
journalists about how to rise to the challenge and
avoid the perils and pitfalls of reporting community
issues. I commend it to everyone whose job is
reporting these stories.

Sir Trevor McDonald

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Foreword 0
‘One of the greatest challenges facing editors today - whether of
newspapers or broadcast media – is to keep in touch with the
accelerating pace of change in our communities. The assumptions
editors might have been reasonably comfortable to make a few years
ago are almost certainly far too flimsy to work on now.

Of these changes, one of the most important is the size and
significance of different cultural and faith groups.

Our awareness of the issues that can develop around these changes is
helping to drive the debate about community cohesion, how it can
best be achieved and what is the role for the media in this process.’

Nick Carter
Editor-in-chief, Leicester Mercury
His local community is 38% minority ethnic.

About the author
Geoff Elliott CBE was the founding president and now a fellow of the Society
of Editors. He has edited three regional newspapers and headed a university
journalism department. He has also been a member of the Press Complaints
Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

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Contents
6 Introduction Gypsies and Travellers: a case for
‘The media has a vital role to play in concern
driving forward the process of making our ‘The routine use of racist language and
communities exactly that – communities’ vicious stereotypes... has legitimised
public prejudice’
7 Multi-cultural, multi-faith
Striking a balance
Britain
‘Bigots who hide behind a cloak of
The people
respectability can be the most damaging’
‘Non-white ethnic groups have
increased from six per cent of England’s Why offend?
population to nine per cent in a decade, A guide to careless misuse of words
an increase of 1.6 million people’ 24 How others have done it
The media (or how others see us) Tweaking content
‘Much of the reporting had been ‘If we are to reflect the needs,
shallow and language had often been concerns and views of our
intemperate’ communities as a whole it is critical we
The law, the codes and reporting understand every segment’
diversity Giving guidance
‘The aim is to protect individuals from ‘Getting spelling and terminology
discriminatory coverage’ wrong can cause offence, and so can
failure to understand religious or
13 Creating one community
cultural backgrounds’
for all
Building bridges
Why journalists have a role ‘They have sought greater understanding
‘If Britain is to promote good relations and means of keeping regular contact to
between people with a wide range of create the sort of papers and
identities and religions, it is editors and programmes that meet local needs’
journalists who bear the greatest
responsibility’ Staffing with minorities in mind
‘I went to the CRE Race in Media
15 How to get it right awards and saw quite a number of
Words matter. Say what you mean newspaper executives there for the first
to say time. They are waking up to the new
‘... being accurate is not just about reality of Britain’
being politically correct’
32 Essential facts about faiths
Why offend?
‘Some may observe the traditional
‘Saying someone is a bogus asylum
tenets of the faith more strictly than
seeker is like declaring someone guilty
others. Some may interpret scriptures
before the jury has reached a verdict’
more literally; others less so’
Asylum seekers and refugees:
a case for care 47 Finding out more
‘... whether a description is accurate, Useful contacts for help and
misleading or distorted applies equally information about every element of
to groups’ community cohesion
52 Acknowledgments
53 Index

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Introduction
This Guide is designed to help journalists respond to the challenge of
reporting the changing face of Britain in all its richness and variety. It reflects
the growing awareness, among the media as in much of the rest of society,
of the need to present communities to one another and to seek greater
understanding of them all.

The media has a vital role to play in driving forward the process of making
our communities exactly that – communities that are inclusive, successful
and tolerant.

Reporting Diversity is a practical guide for working journalists to help them
report fairly issues arising from the many and varied communities that make
up Britain and without giving needless offence.

It will help journalists avoid falling into traps of language, emphasis and
ignorance as they report the integration of new people, new ideas, new
cultures and new faiths into cohesive communities, accepting that
inaccuracy or insensitivity may damage progress being made in
representing communities fairly and faithfully.

The guide gives a snapshot of our changing communities, highlights
particular issues facing journalists in reporting on community issues and
draws on examples of good practice from various media contexts. Many of
the examples of good practice come from regional newspapers because
these publications are an integral part of those communities and have to
deal at first hand with the issues they are reporting. But national papers and
magazines, as well as broadcasters, are also playing their part in making
Britain’s communities more cohesive.

This booklet reflects the many initiatives taken by the media in the hope that
the lead taken by some will prompt others to follow.

Bob Satchwell
Executive Director, Society of Editors
Caroline Diehl
Chief Executive, The Media Trust

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Multi-cultural, 1
multi-faith Britain
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The people have proportions of black and Asian
people reaching towards a majority.
For many years Britain has had a multi-
cultural and multi-faith society. It has Almost half of people from minority
become home to people of many backgrounds live in the major urban
races and faiths and from all parts of areas of London, Birmingham,
the world. Manchester and Leicester.

In the main, it has done so peacefully London especially is a diverse
and cordially. On the face of it, the community with large numbers of all
nation’s record of tolerance has been faiths and nationalities mixing
impressive. Minorities of all together. More than a half of all
backgrounds have co-existed with the Hindus and Jews and two-fifths of
white majority without the same levels Muslims live in London.
of turmoil and resentment witnessed in
some countries. Leicester is 40 per cent non-white,
with a quarter of its population
Now two and a quarter million black originating from India. Hindus are 15
and Asian people live in Britain*. More per cent of the city, Muslims 11 per
than a million of them are Indian and cent and Sikhs four per cent.
three-quarters of a million Pakistani.
Birmingham is 30 per cent non-white.
The 2001 census recorded non-white Its cosmopolitan society is 20 per cent
ethnic groups as having increased from Asian and six per cent black Caribbean
six per cent of England’s population to and African.
nine per cent in the preceding decade,
an increase of 1.6 million people. Manchester is 19 per cent non-white.
Of the faith minority groups, Muslims
Britain is also increasingly religiously are the strongest at nine per cent.
diverse. According to the census,
Christianity remains the majority faith in Black and ethnic minority people in
the UK, with 42 million people. Britain are not visitors or foreigners.
Muslims are the largest non-Christian This is their country. They are British.
religious group at 1.6 million. There are For example, 56 per cent of the Sikh
559,000 Hindus; 336,000 Sikhs; community and 46 per cent of
267,000 Jews; 152,000 Buddhists; as Muslims have been born in the UK.
well as Baha’is, Jains, Zoroastrians and Most people from ethnic minority
many others. backgrounds have been brought up
here, many of them as the second
People from minority ethnic and faith or third generation within these
backgrounds are stronger in number in shores. Some have been
some areas, for reasons linked to encouraged to do so; the economy
original settlement patterns and would not work without them. Some
preference for living with members of are escaping persecution in the
their communities. And so some cities

Multi-cultural Britain 7
countries of their birth. They see The media (or how
Britain as a fair and decent place,
outwardly-minded and receptive. others see us)
How is the media seen in Britain
Yet for all that they retain the today?
vulnerability of a minority. If they
worship in a temple or a mosque or a In many ways it is viewed positively.
synagogue, or live a nomadic lifestyle, There is recognition of the high
they can be seen as different, and standard of journalism. As the good
some face discrimination or worse. practice examples later will show,
there is much to be proud of in
Though Britain’s journey towards reporting diverse communities. At the
greater diversity has been largely same time, there are some problems,
peaceful, characterised by respect particularly where diversity issues are
and tolerance, challenges do remain concerned. This is evidenced by
in achieving understanding between research conducted by a number of
minority communities and the academics and organisations.
majority population.
After the disturbances in the north-
* Statistics from the Home Office 2005. west in 2001, research by the
Further information is available at Media Trust concluded that most
www.statistics.gov.uk journalists had been either unable or
unwilling to look beyond the easy
explanation of racial conflict and see
the underlying causes.

Faith had seldom been mentioned.
Nor had economic and other social
problems been explored. Much of the
reporting had been shallow and
language had often been intemperate.

Other conclusions were that stories
about ethnic minorities were too
often negative or about crisis and
were written by journalists without
much understanding of the
communities they were entering.

The findings are most clearly reflected
by the Trust’s primary recommendation
that a media code of practice on
community cohesion should be agreed
with commitments to:

Multi-cultural Britain 8
• serve all sections of the community 'I want bums on sofas watching
• avoid inflammatory language and programmes on ITV...
unnecessarily provocative pictures But the diverse population of
• promote positive stories reflecting Britain will only watch
the rich diversity of life in our
programmes if these are relevant
communities
• pursue fair employment practices to their lives'
and set targets for the
employment of minority groups. Clive Jones,
chief executive, ITV News
Television fared no better in another
survey, this time conducted by Ofcom
in 2004. Researchers, who interviewed
6,000 people, found only one in five Often, the articles emphasised
thought programmes reflected the cultural differences. Stories about
needs and concerns of different ethnic relationships between Muslims and
communities satisfactorily. non-Muslims, for instance, were
usually presented as a 'conversion'
Press coverage distorting the reality of a Briton to the faith, or as 'some
of Muslims’ lives and beliefs was the kind of deviant, culturally
target of Dr Elizabeth Poole, of the abominable or criminal action
University of Staffordshire, who related to the relationship.'
published the results of a three-year
research project in 2000. Similarly, said Dr Poole, stories on
fundamentalism were usually
She found that even in articles stimulated by issues such as
about British Muslims, the focus immigration, again reinforcing the idea
was global in the sense that that the two were inextricably linked.
references were usually made to Dr Poole concluded that Muslims
world events. This had two effects, were seen as a threat to security in
she pointed out. The first was that the UK because of their supposed
Muslims were seen as ‘foreign’. The involvement in deviant activities and
second was that an impression was that Muslims were also seen as a
created that somehow all Muslim threat to British mainstream values.
communities around the world were
linked, with the same thoughts, A research study commissioned by the
ambitions and agendas. Greater London Authority and carried
out by a team led by the Information
Centre about Asylum and Refugees
concluded that some press coverage
was unbalanced and inaccurate in
ways that were likely to increase
tension, and that local tension made
racial harassment more likely.

Multi-cultural Britain 9
It also suggested a link between The law, the codes and
reporting and incidents of abuse
and harassment. reporting diversity
Staying within the law: Journalists
Research in 2004 for the have responsibilities under the law to
Employability Forum, an ensure they do not stir up racial hatred
independent umbrella organisation and may soon be legally required not
promoting the skills and experience to incite religious hatred either.
of refugees, showed that even
though businesses liked employing Even-handed treatment of every
refugees they were reticent to member of society is enshrined in
publicise the benefits for fear of Section 70 of the Race Relations Act
negative media coverage and 1976 and the Race Relations
subsequent loss of custom. Amendment Act 2000. The law states
that a person commits an offence if
he or she:
(a) publishes or distributes written
matter that is threatening, abusive
or insulting; or
(b) uses in any public place or at any
public meeting words that are
threatening, abusive or insulting, in
a case where, having regard to all
the circumstances, hatred is likely
to be stirred up against any racial
group in Great Britain by the
matter or words in question.

A journalist will be guilty of an offence if
he or she intends to stir up racial
hatred or, having regard to all the
circumstances, racial hatred is likely to
be stirred up by what is published. The
important contextual qualification was
inserted into the act from earlier
legislation as a result of representations
from the Guild of Editors (now the
Society of Editors) which feared that
even a single reader’s letter might
expose newspapers to prosecution.

Multi-cultural Britain 10
Observing the codes: Journalists must Even so, journalists should generally
also work within codes of practice set beware of statements that cast a
down by regulatory bodies in both print slur on groups, such as implications
and broadcasting. These say that that Muslims are sympathetic
journalists must avoid prejudicial or towards terrorists.
pejorative reference to an individual’s To be in breach of the code,
race or religion and must avoid stating publication must not only be
an individual’s religion unless it is prejudicial or pejorative – but also
directly relevant to the story. discriminatory.
For example, a satirical cartoon
Respectively, the press and depicting Israeli premier Ariel Sharon
broadcasting in Britain are regulated by eating a baby – while undeniably
two organisations, the Press pejorative - was cleared by the PCC
Complaints Commission (PCC) and the of being racist as it referred to him in
Office of Communications (Ofcom). his capacity as a head of
government, rather than as a Jew.
Adherence to the PCC code is voluntary, Full details of how the PCC operates
but all newspapers and magazines and the Editors’ Code of Practice can
submit to its jurisdiction. Adjudications be found at www.pcc.org.uk
are published in full and prominently.
Ofcom is a statutory body, so its code
The PCC code forbids discrimination. has the backing of the law. It can
It says: require broadcasters to carry its
(i) The press must avoid prejudicial or adjudication and can also impose
pejorative reference to a person's fines. Its ultimate sanction is
race, colour, religion, sex or sexual withdrawal of the licence to broadcast.
orientation or to any physical or
mental illness or disability. It has a duty ‘to foster plurality and
informed citizenship, protect viewers,
(ii) It must avoid publishing details of a
listeners and customers and promote
person's race, colour, religion, sexual
cultural diversity.’ So its codes are
orientation, physical or mental illness
concerned with respect to people’s
or disability unless these are directly
cultural and religious backgrounds,
relevant to the story.
avoiding misrepresentation and the
importance of transparency, accuracy
The aim is to protect individuals from
and impartiality.
discriminatory coverage, and no public
interest defence is available. However,
These remind broadcasters that
the code does not cover generalised
Britain is made up of many different
remarks about groups or categories of
faiths and cultures, each with its own
people - which would involve subjective
religious sensitivities. They suggest
views, often based on political
broadcasters should be aware of
correctness or taste, and be difficult to
these sensitivities so that they avoid
adjudicate upon without infringing the
causing unnecessary offence,
freedom of expression of others.

Multi-cultural Britain 11
especially in the casual use of names,
words and symbols regarded as
sacred by one faith or another.

Ofcom's guidelines can be found at
www.ofcom.org.uk

Coming up on page 13 - The role of the journalist.

Multi-cultural Britain 12
Creating one
community for all

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Why journalists have a everyone needs to understand better
the society of which they are a part.
role
Even for a media that has to address This means:
a mass audience, either nationally or • working to establish regular contact
locally, minorities the size of Britain’s with those communities and with
merit close consideration. They are the organisations that support them.
no longer ‘the few’ whose way of life
is different from that of the many. • making themselves aware of the
They are ‘the many’ themselves. impact on individuals, communities
and society as a whole of what they
The ethical argument report and how they do it.
If Britain is to promote good relations
between people with a wide range of • seeing their role as more than
identities and religions, it is editors chronicling what happens.
and journalists who bear the greatest Journalists will want to see it also
responsibility for depicting different as breaking down barriers to
communities fairly and accurately to understanding so that everyone can
the majority and to one another. live together in harmony.

Though for centuries there have been The ethical argument is powerful. All
migrants seeking to protect or who are represented in the media
improve themselves, people have share the same entitlement to
never been as mobile as now. Just accuracy and fairness.
as some from Britain choose to live
and work in other countries, there A person’s colour, his religion or his
are many who wish to come to lifestyle should impose no limitation
Britain. As migrants have always on how he might expect to be
done, they bring with them their treated. Yet there has sometimes
cultures and religions. been only passive acknowledgment
of the sensibilities of minorities.
Newspapers circulating in areas Understanding of their cultures has
where ethnic minorities are present in come slowly if at all.
significant numbers will wish to
accept a responsibility to understand Offence can be given because of
the communities they serve, the ignorance. It may not be intended but
issues and concerns that affect their the harm and the alienation is as real
daily lives and their relationships with as it might have been had the
other communities. purpose been malicious. Journalists
will want to ensure that none is
Even where journalists are working in implied by anything they write.
media that serve a less diverse
audience, sensitivity to community Though many trust to their common
issues is important, because sense, some newspapers and

Creating one community for all 13
broadcasting organisations issue significantly. Readers, viewers and
guidance to their staff about the ethnic listeners may be lost and with them
and faith communities they report and advertising revenue. The loss may be
about how to address them. all the greater because migrants are
younger on average than the rest of
the population and show higher levels
‘At my first meeting with of energy and enterprise.
members of the black community
I was told: The Mail has lots of Without them, some large urban
black faces... they are all on the communities would become shrinking
markets for a number of regional
Crimestoppers page’
newspapers. Even for national papers,
opportunities would decline in some
Roger Borrell, after becoming editor,
of the country’s most important cities.
Evening Mail, Birmingham
Broadcasters accepted the
imperative before newspapers. In
The business argument April 2001 the major UK
What is good for social cohesion is Broadcasters - Carlton, Granada,
also good for business. BBC, ITV, GMTV, Channel 4, BSkyB,
ITN and Channel 5 – announced that
There are equally compelling they planned to put diversity ‘right at
business arguments for ensuring that the heart of the creative process.’
all are treated equally and have equal
access to the press. Clive Jones, then chief executive of
Carlton television, now of ITV News,
Nick Carter, editor of the Leicester was the first chairman of the Cultural
Mercury, says: ‘Editors should Diversity Network set up to win black
understand it will be tougher for their and Asian viewers. 'Britain is
newspapers to make progress in changing and British television needs
communities where the component to change too,’ he said. ‘We are
groups are fragmented, frightened becoming an increasingly multi-racial,
and apprehensive than it would be multi-cultural society. Our TV screens
when people share a common desire must reflect reality.
for a better future and are therefore
actively interested in what is ‘I’m a commercial broadcaster. I want
happening around them.’ bums on sofas watching programmes
on ITV. Show-me-the-money is an
The numbers of minority ethnic ethic I understand, and one that
people, especially in some centres, motivates my programme-makers and
mean they represent big markets. sales forces. But the diverse population
Exclude them from business thinking of Britain will only watch programmes if
and profit potential is limited these are relevant to their lives.’

Coming up on page 15 - How to get it right and not cause offence.

Creating one community for all 14
How to get it right

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Words matter. Say what you Coloured is generally regarded as an
mean to say insult by black people. Similarly,
‘negro’, a term historically used by
some to describe people of black
Mistakes can mislead public opinion
African descent but which is no longer
and stir up social unrest. So, being
used and widely considered offensive.
accurate is not just a matter of being
politically correct.
Blacks and Asians. ‘Black’ and
‘Asian’ should not be regarded as
It is important to know what terms
nouns. Refer to black people or an
are appropriate to describe particular
Asian woman where the context
groups within the population. The
demands the distinction, and in the
following will be helpful.
same way write about a white man.
Remember we are all people, not just
Non-white. Except in a statistical
racial groups. Prefer African-
context, this is a term best avoided
Caribbean to Afro-Caribbean.
since it somewhat discourteously
describes people of black and Asian
Mixed race. This adjective is
backgrounds as what they are not,
generally used to describe people
rather than what they are. Similarly, the
with parentage of more than one
term ‘non-Christian’ is to be avoided.
ethnic background. ‘Half-caste’ and
‘mulatto’ are old terms which are
Ethnic. This should not be used only
unacceptable and offensive.
of non-white people. We are all
‘ethnic’. It is not a noun and the term
Gypsies/Travellers. People belonging
‘ethnics’ should be avoided. Refer to
to ethnic groups originating in India
minority ethnic communities or groups
and Ireland respectively. Romany
or, for short, to ethnic minorities.
Gypsies and Irish Travellers are
protected by race relations legislation.
Indian, Pakistani etc. Terms used
People are born to those groups.
principally of people of the nationality
They cannot become Gypsies or Irish
of the countries in question. If the
Travellers. Gypsies from eastern
person is, in fact British, it is better to
Europe are known as Roma Gypsies
refer to them as ‘of Pakistani
and share the same ethnicity as
background’ or ‘Pakistani British’ or
Romany Gypsies in the UK.
‘British Pakistani’.
Economic migrant. A person who
Black is a description that can apply
comes to the UK seeking work or a
without offence to African, Caribbean,
job he or she has already obtained.
Arab and Asian, but some newspapers
The government has encouraged
reasonably draw a distinction between
economic migration to fill skill
black (of African descent), Asian and
shortages, as in the health service.
Arab, as do some members of the
communities concerned.

How to get it right 15
Immigrant. A person who has come Illegal entrant or ‘clandestine’ (term
to the UK by choice, perhaps to work used by Government). Someone
or study or to join his or her family. who has smuggled him or herself into
Most immigrants in the UK are white; the UK, perhaps without any intention
all children of immigrants born in the of applying for asylum. Such illegal
UK are British, not immigrants; and entrants should not be referred to as
most members of ethnic minorities asylum seekers.
living in the UK were born in Britain
and are therefore British.

Illegal immigrant. A person who has
been refused such status and has
failed to respond to a removal notice
to quit Britain.

Refugee status. The legal status
granted to persons who prove that
they have fled their country for reasons
stated in the 1951 United Nations
Refugee Convention. In the UK,
people recognised as refugees are
given Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
They are entitled to work and to state
benefits. This status is permanent.

Humanitarian status. This is
granted to people who have
compelling humanitarian reasons
preventing their return home, such
as fleeing war or inhumane and
degrading treatment. In the UK,
these people are granted
Exceptional Leave to Remain (ELR).
They are also entitled to work and
to state benefits. Their status can
be short-lived or long and is often
made permanent.

Failed asylum seeker. Someone who
has tried for asylum but has failed to
meet the criteria. But it doesn’t
necessarily mean he is expelled. The
applicant may be granted humanitarian
status and be allowed to remain.

How to get it right 16
Asylum seekers and Gypsies and Travellers: a
refugees: a case for care case for concern

After a number of breaches of its Although Gypsies and Irish Travellers
code, the PCC issued a guidance are recognised as racial groups by the
note aimed at clearing up confusion law, some sections of the media seem
over the terminology used to describe not to do so. The Commission for
asylum seekers and refugees. Racial Equality, in its published strategy
for 2004 – 2007, says: ‘The media
The Commission expressed concern hasn’t helped... The routine use of
that misunderstandings could lead to racist language and vicious stereotypes
inaccurate, misleading or distorted about Travellers and Gypsies has
reporting, in breach of the code’s legitimised public prejudice.’
accuracy rules and might also
generate a fear and hostility that was In the public mind, says the CRE,
not borne out by the facts. Gypsies and Travellers are mainly
associated with crime or rubbish.
Although the code’s discrimination These are issues that the media will
rules apply only to individuals, the properly address where they raise
wider question of whether a concern, just as it should when
description is accurate, misleading or settled white or black people are
distorted applies equally to groups. responsible for criminal or anti-social
This means terms such as illegal behaviour. But to associate all
asylum seeker would be a breach, Gypsies and Travellers with the
since they are inaccurate. behaviour of some is to create a false
and negative stereotype.
The guidance suggested:
An asylum seeker is a person Some stories and headlines written
currently seeking refugee status or about Gypsies and Travellers hold
humanitarian protection. Asylum them up to public contempt
seekers come from all race and faith because of what they are rather
backgrounds. than what an individual or some
individuals have done.
A refugee is someone who has fled his
or her country in fear of being killed – The test may be whether someone’s
and may have been granted asylum colour or faith can be substituted for
under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the words Gypsy or Traveller. It would
or who otherwise qualifies for be failed if this did not avoid publishing
humanitarian protection, discretionary racial details irrelevant to the story. For,
leave or has been granted exceptional though the PCC code relates only to
leave to remain in the UK. individuals, the media generally applies
it fairly to racial and religious groups. If
they wouldn’t write it about white
people, they don’t write it about black.

How to get it right 17
In the case of Gypsies and Travellers, Why offend?
as in all others, descriptions like
scrounger, thug, dole dodger and law- Some words or descriptions used
breaker should be used only when carelessly can mislead the reader
they can be accurately applied to and offend those about whom they
individuals or a group of individuals, are written. This is a guide to some
and not to whole communities. of them.

Is there any such person as an
illegal asylum seeker?
No. Under the 1951 Convention
anyone has the right to seek asylum
in the UK and to remain here while
his application is being considered.

What about a bogus asylum
seeker?
Wrong again. It suggests he or she
hasn’t a case even before the
authorities have decided on it. Using
the description is like declaring
someone guilty before the jury has
reached a verdict.

Can someone be called a failed
asylum seeker?
Yes. He can have tried for asylum but
have failed to meet the criteria. But it
doesn’t necessarily mean he is
expelled. The applicant may be
granted humanitarian status and be
allowed to remain.

Is it right to refer to someone as an
illegal immigrant?
It may be. While the Convention
recognises that someone fleeing
persecution may enter a country by
bypassing immigration controls, he
may be called an illegal immigrant:
• if he lives in the UK without making
an asylum application
• if he overstays any limit on his

How to get it right 18
permitted length of stay Does fatwa have a similarly dark
• if he resists any attempt to remove meaning?
him. Again the answer is no. A fatwa is
not a death sentence. It is a legal
Is there an appropriate way of pronouncement made after a
describing someone who has tried to collective decision by a committee of
enter the country unlawfully? scholars in the light of the Qur’an
Well, asylum seeker isn’t it. Those and the Prophet’s teachings.
who smuggle themselves into the UK Terrorists like Osama bin Laden are
may have no intention of applying for not qualified to give fatwa, and their
asylum. The government calls them speeches and opinions should not
‘clandestines’. A more acceptable be labelled as such.
term may be illegal entrants.
Who is a fundamentalist?
Is it correct to write Muslim or Not just a Muslim. Nor are the
Moslem? majority of Muslims. There are
Muslim is preferred. People refer to fundamentalists of all faiths, including
themselves as Muslims. Many regard Christianity. They believe in the literal
Moslem as a term of abuse, like meaning of teachings. They make no
people of African descent dislike allowance for interpretation or
being called negroes. Also avoid evolution of thought.
Mohammedan and Musselman.
Are Gypsies and Irish Travellers ethnic
How should the holy book of Islam minorities?
be referred to? Yes. They are recognised as racial
Consider calling it the Qur’an. This groups by law. Some stories and
would be the spelling preferred by headlines hold them up to public
Muslims themselves. There is nothing contempt because of what they are
offensive in the anglicised Koran, but rather than what an individual or
it is disliked by some Muslims. some individuals have done. It hardly
needs saying that words like gypos,
Is jihad a holy war? pikeys and tinkers are regarded as
No. Literally it means striving or derogatory. So is itinerants.
struggle, not holy war. There are two
main types of jihad: the greater jihad How easily can I show respect for
and the lesser jihad. The greater is the minority groups?
struggle against sin and temptation; Very easily. By reporting fairly and
the lesser involves missionary accurately. Not capitalising ethnic and
activities and the conflict against evil. faith groups treats them with
Jihad can be the collective defence of disrespect. So Christians, Jews,
the Muslim community. Only recently Muslims etc. Similarly, Gypsies and
has it become synonymous with Travellers. By spelling Gypsies with a
armed struggle. ‘y’ rather than an ‘i’ you get their
name right.

How to get it right 19
How else can I offend against Striking a balance
people’s sensitivities?
By patronising people who are We can restore balance where often it
different. Just because some of the has been lacking by taking the
practices of minority faiths seem following steps:
more exotic than morning service at
St Saviour’s, don’t simply reach for Never identify by faith or minority
clichés like vibrant, rich and colourful Refer to a person’s religion or ethnic
as if what you are witnessing has no background only when it is directly
more significance than that. relevant to the story and then in
context.
Deep offence will also be caused, as
the BBC Producer Guidelines remind Avoid stereotyping
us, by profane references or Everyone is different. Don’t portray one
disrespect, whether verbal or visual, person’s behaviour as if it were general
directed at deities, scriptures, holy to all in the same faith or minority.
days and rituals that are at the heart
of various religions – for example, the Don’t discriminate against an
Crucifixion, the Gospels, the Qur’an ethnic minority
and the Jewish Sabbath. Language Although the PCC code is not
must be used sensitively and breached by a discriminatory slur on
accurately and be consistent in a group rather than an individual,
description of different religions. make sure that generalised
comments do not cast discredit on
Is it possible to go too far? an ethnic minority.
Yes. Sensitivity to minorities should
not turn to timidity if the actions of Tell both sides of the story
groups or individuals compromise the Make sure you get a view countering
interests of the wider community. If any criticism of members of a
people fall short of their minority. If the individual chooses not
responsibilities as citizens, no matter to make a comment, perhaps from
what their background, they should ignorance of how the media work,
expect exposure and criticism. consult a spokesman or woman from
a support group that can represent
the minority concerned. There are
contact details in this booklet.

Expose and counter racist
propaganda
Bigots who hide behind a cloak of
respectability can be the most
damaging. Make sure they are always
drawn into the open and their words
never go unchallenged.

How to get it right 20
Source statistics the second reflecting the concern of
False figures can be spread to cause unnamed doctors in 20 surgeries who
mischief. Check them with an had each seen one HIV carrier among
authoritative source and attribute them. 100,000 asylum seekers dispersed
around the country:
Take care in reporting extremists
Generally quote people who are MIGRANTS INVASION WARNING
representative. Be wary of those with
views that might make good copy but
to most people seem extreme. ASYLUM SEEKERS RAISING
Though it is sometimes essential to HIV RISKS
quote such extremists, be sure to
place their views in the context of the Of the same sort, headlines over
numbers they might represent. similar stories appeared in two
newspapers:
Be aware of creating negative
images
Minorities carry the burden of being
THE GREAT INVASION OF 2004
different. Don’t make them
synonymous with the things that SEE YOU IN MAY. THOUSANDS
worry everyone, like terrorism, OF TRAVELLERS ARE ON
subjugation of women, forced
marriage, illegal immigration,
THEIR WAY.
fraudulent benefits claims and cruel The second may be regarded as
animal slaughter. Few are. damaging to minorities but at least it
did not contain the inaccuracy of the
It is inevitable that some negatives will story under the first. There it was said
be reported. All of the above will be that 1.6 million Gypsies were to flood
the subject of legitimate news stories the UK from Eastern Europe. Later
from time to time. But some sources the paper admitted that the number
will be melodramatic, and wary of Roma refugees had been 10,000.
journalists will watch for them.
An emotive headline also targeted the
Note in the following headline the use Roma Gypsy minority, suggesting
of the word ‘swamp’to worry even they were exploiting that most
the least prejudiced readers about a beloved of British institutions, the
seemingly unstoppable tide of aliens: National Health Service:

SICK MIGRANTS ‘WILL SWAMP GYPSIES’ GUIDE TO NHS
OUR WARDS’ SCROUNGING
Similarly, the enemy was at our shores Another headline reported a threat
in two more headlines, the first allegedly made by a group of Gypsies
cranked up from the copy beneath, evicted from land on which they had

How to get it right 21
camped. Substitute ‘black’ for minorities are fair and accurate.
‘Gypsy’ and you would have had a Even so, these examples are
headline no newspaper would have enough to make journalists wary of
run. Yet one is as racist as the other. careless exaggeration, false
assumption and generalisation.
WE’LL BE BACK SAY GYPSY
Find positive stories
THUGS
Minorities give rise to as many good
The following headline quoted words news stories as majorities. Project
that no-one had said other than the them as people with the same
reporter who was paraphrasing what cares, the same hopes, the same
a British Social Attitudes survey was good fortune, the same need for fun
supposed to have concluded. The and laughter.
effect was to have readers believe
that there was mass immigration and Some newspapers have shown how
that it was putting one racial group in much Britain has benefited from
conflict with another: immigrants filling jobs where there
was a skills shortfall or service jobs
we take for granted but no-one else
IMMIGRATION FLOOD wanted. Others have corrected myths
‘FUELLING MORE HOSTILITY’ by explaining, for example, that state
benefits are claimed least by
A story condemned by the Press immigrants. There have been surveys,
Complaints Commission ran: too, that demonstrate how quickly
tolerance of minorities is increasing
‘CALLOUS ASYLUM SEEKERS and some that have articulated well
ARE BARBECUING THE the importance of encouraging
QUEEN’S SWANS ..’ migrant workers if we are to meet the
needs of a growing economy in
employment terms.
East European poachers were alleged
to have lured the royal birds into
Newspapers also contribute to a
baited traps and roasted them. But,
feeling that we are all one by
when challenged, the newspaper
reporting minorities as they report the
could present no evidence to support
majority, living their lives ordinarily and
the story.
adding to the community what they
do best.
For all that these words and
headlines, and doubtless some
Know what you are talking about
others like them, appear to flail at
defenceless minorities, the same Research the subject. There are
examples are quoted again and some excellent websites listed at the
again when the press is being end of this booklet, which helps to
criticised. This may indicate that the make this a valuable research tool.
vast majority written about ethnic

How to get it right 22
Look for help when you need it Featuring a range of lifestyles will give
Seek out experts who can help with a softer dimension to some ethnic
unfamiliar subjects. Most will be minorities that might otherwise
pleased to help you get it right. Don’t appear harsh and alien.
repeat other people’s errors.
Don’t believe the bad press they
Explain why things happen as well may be given
as how Treat members of minorities as the
Don’t merely focus on what happens. individuals they are. Don’t ascribe
Explain events. With better familiar characteristics to them all.
understanding people sometimes Some may behave as all in the
come to different conclusions. minority from which they come are
fabled to do so. But most will not.
Avoid ‘us and them’ imagery
Learn the taboos
This is an integrated society in which
being British gives everyone the same Try, if possible, to learn what people in
rights and responsibilities. Remember different cultures find unacceptable. It
that most people who belong to may be immodesty in women. It may
minorities are British. Celebrate our be failing to remove shoes before
diversity but also what we have in entering a temple. Or it may be
common, such as shared moral refusing food you have been offered.
values among people of different
faiths like hospitality, love of family
and concern for the poor.

Source members of minorities for
other topics
Minorities live in the same society and
share many of the same concerns.
Air their views on subjects beyond
their faiths and racial backgrounds.
Make them ordinary.

Remember the women and
children
In communities where leadership is
often male, it is easy to get a hard-
line reaction to events. Try to focus,
too, on women and children. Even in
male-dominated societies, people
generally live in family groups.

Coming up on page 24 - What example the leaders of the pack are setting others.

How to get it right 23
How others
have done it

4
31
Tweaking content of the Evening Mail, Birmingham, was
told: ‘The Mail has lots of black faces .
. . they are all on the Crimestoppers
Newspapers publishing in areas
page’. He scrapped the page and
where ethnic minority populations are
instead introduced features such as
significant acknowledge that black
School of the Week targeted on multi-
and Asian people need to recognise
ethnic communities. He also employed
themselves as part of the community.
young people of Asian descent to
review Bollywood and Asian music and
They take steps like ensuring vox pops
published a weekly black columnist.
include a range of people, that school
pictures show black children and other
The paper has made charitable
minority ethnic children as well as
appeals that would particularly find
white, that stories reflect the activities
support among minority readers. One
and interests of many groups and
to relieve a Malawi famine raised
faiths, and that opinions are expressed
£130,000. Fund-raising for an African
by black as well as white people.
boy needing a bone marrow
transplant topped £50,000. And a
One editor writes to people whose
Grenada hurricane appeal filled a
letters have appeared above Asian
plane with emergency supplies.
names to thank them and to
encourage them to express their
Associated Newspapers director
opinions again. He also writes to
Kevin Beatty says: ‘While it may once
minority community leaders urging
have been possible for large ethnic
them to use the paper as their
communities to live an insular
platform for public debate.
existence largely away from the focus
of the media, today they are high on
Newspapers in these areas report
our news lists. If we are to reflect the
festivals, processions and games and
needs, concerns and views of our
run features on Asian weddings,
communities as a whole it is critical
fashion and food. One has run a first-
we understand every segment.’
person piece on Ramadan and asked
readers to vote for their favourite
curry restaurant.
‘Significant numbers of our, shall
Above all, they monitor their columns we say, traditional readers have
to make sure they publish good news reacted badly to an increase in
about ethnic minorities as well as bad. pictures and stories from the
It pays. The Bolton Evening News had minority ethnic communities, so
one of their best sales of 2004 when a inclusiveness is not without its
young boxer, Amir Khan, won a silver problems’ –
medal at the Athens Olympics.
Jim Williams, editor, Oldham Evening
At a meeting with black community Chronicle
leaders soon after his arrival, the editor

How others have done it 24
At a time of public hysteria about Williams, ‘and this is as much a
asylum seekers, the Coventry tribute to them as to anyone.’
Evening Telegraph ran a five-day
series about the issue, telling human Other sources:
stories but also tackling health care Newspapers looking to source stories
and housing problems. Coventry is from minority communities can also
16-per-cent minority ethnic. The check a service launched by the
paper’s deputy editor, Charles Barker, Press Association and the Media
said: ‘We didn’t set out to be pro- Trust. On Community NewsWire, part
asylum seeker, merely fair and of the PA service, they will find news
accurate and as objective as it’s releases from community groups The
possible to be. We had to recognise stronger stories will have been
that many in the host community had developed through additional
genuine concerns. But we were not research and interviews.
going to pander to prejudice.’ The
series won an award from the The minority ethnic press can be
Campaign for Racial Equality. another valuable source. Journalists
working for publications aimed at
The Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds, specific communities will have a wide
has campaigned strongly against right- range of contacts and close
wing racist groups. The Stoke Sentinel knowledge of the subjects they are
has recognised a similar need for dealing with. But, in writing for mass
news about the local politics of audience media, journalists should
integration with the increasing activities retain their objectivity. They have a
of the extreme right-wing and a responsibility to all communities, not
shifting culture among second and one.
third-generation immigrants less likely
to tolerate harassment or prejudice.

Allegations of racism after local riots
hurt the Oldham Evening Chronicle,
so its editor met local minorities to
discuss how the paper might earn a
different reputation. The result has
been more coverage of good news
as well as bad. Contacts have
improved, more and more helpful
calls have been received and the
stories have flowed. Staff also
voluntarily attended a weekend
seminar on cultural awareness. ‘The
Chronicle now represents the minority
communities in Oldham better than it
has ever done,’ said editor Jim

How others have done it 25
Giving guidance Building bridges
Sometimes the material being handled Many regional newspapers and
by journalists writing stories about television companies, demonstrating
minority communities can be a necessary closeness to the
unfamiliar. Getting spelling and changing communities they cover,
terminology wrong can cause offence, have built bridges to minority groups.
and so can failure to understand They have sought greater
religious or cultural backgrounds. understanding and means of keeping
regular contact to create the sort of
This booklet is intended to help papers and programmes that meet
journalists increase their knowledge, local needs.
get their facts right and avoid
causing offence. But some • The Bradford Telegraph & Argus
newspapers add a local dimension publishes a monthly Asian Eye
by providing their staff with their own newspaper with community news
guidance in style books and on for its predominantly Muslim
intranets. The Leicester Mercury, the minority. At the first anniversary of
Bradford Telegraph & Argus and the riots, instead of recalling the hurt of
Birmingham Evening Mail all give the past, it celebrated in a series of
their journalists detailed information special supplements what had
about local demography and the faith since been achieved.
groups that make up the community.
• Trinity Mirror weekly papers on the
In Leicester’s case, a glossary of western edge of London have
terms is also provided to avoid taken part in a community cohesion
inaccuracy and offence. project to address problems where
there has been an inflow of
refugees and minorities. They have
‘We had assumed that our given training in media skills,
responsibility to reflect ethnic newsroom work placement for
community issues was taken care teachers, publicity for events and
of by having an Asian reporter. two student journalism bursaries.
As a result, journalists, too, have
What it showed was that... every
benefited. They say they have
news editor, sub and improved contact lists for stories
photographer needs a much and advice. They have also become
deeper level of understanding more reflective about language,
of different communities’ - stereotyping and consequences.

Marc Reeves, editorial director, • The Journal, Newcastle, has
Trinity Mirror Southern worked with local organisations and
inter-faith bodies to create a regular
supplement called Living Together,

How others have done it 26
which promotes the positive • The Evening Mail, Birmingham, has
contribution being made by all formed a focus group made up of
communities. people from ethnic minorities
employed across the business. The
• The Oldham Evening Chronicle editor meets the group every two
hosted an inter-faith gathering as months to chart how well the paper
part of its response to a local is covering minority communities. He
partnership seeking to develop has also formed what he calls an
better understanding after riots in ethnic people bank comprising black
the town. and Asian readers whom he can
consult by email on one-off issues.
• With community leaders, the They use the same forum to give
Lancashire Evening Post set up the feedback straight to him whenever
Preston Muslim Media Committee they have a point to make.
to provide spokesmen, advice and
background information for • Evening Mail reporter Jamsheed
reporters so that the minority group Dinn put together a supplement to
could be represented and the paper mark Islam Awareness Week. It was
could ensure its accuracy. To his idea to produce a supplement
cement the new relationship, the highlighting Muslims who are proud
Evening Post devoted its feature to be Brummies and providing an
page to the Muslim community for insight into the Muslim community.
a week, coaching amateur writers As well as finding stories,
and jointly composing pictures. On Jamsheed found a sponsor and
the same days, mosques invited in advertisers to help fund the project.
the wider public. He said: “Birmingham has a
massive Muslim population. The
• To increase public understanding, idea was to produce copy that
the Detroit Free Press, which would dispel misconceptions about
serves the largest Arab community Muslims and show how Muslims
in the United States, has created have contributed to the city.” The
open pages on its website with 100 Evening Mail received dozens of
pieces of information about the letters from members of the Muslim
minority’s way of life and history. community offering thanks and
congratulations for the supplement.
• The editor of the Burnley Express
has chaired an East Lancashire • The Coventry Evening Telegraph
project team seeking to build sponsors training awards for the
relationships where the degree of Bangladeshi community and prizes
racial and religious division was for schools where the children learn
emphasised by the election of eight English as a second language.
British National Party councillors. Some of the staff have become
reading partners for the children.

How others have done it 27
• The Leicester Mercury has set up Staffing with minorities
a multi-cultural advisory group
made up of different faiths and in mind
communities and including the
police, academics and the city’s If minority communities are to be
media. It meets regularly to properly understood and provided for,
discuss issues affecting the life of black and Asian people, from different
the city. ‘The responsibilities we cultures and religions, should be
now accept as a consequence of represented on their staffs and among
sitting around that table mean that managers. Publishers and editors are
we work harder to look for the following broadcasters into targeting
positives in our communities,’ ethnic minority recruits, though the
says editor Nick Carter. ‘We have Diversity in the Newsroom report
got better at providing a platform presented at a Society of Editors
for all communities to speak to conference showed how much
one another.’ ground they had to make up.

• Carlton Television runs an Broadcasters set up a Cultural
‘understanding the media’ course Diversity Network to drive forward a
for ethnic minority businesses, faith collective initiative in recruiting staff
and community groups. And a from ethnic minorities and to ensure
schools tour is aimed at television reflected society as a whole.
encouraging young people from They all now have targets for
ethnic minorities and socially- employment of ethnically diverse staff
deprived communities to consider and formal portrayal monitoring
the media as a viable career option. systems are in place.

• Yorkshire Television has hosted a In 1996 Carlton newsrooms contained
community cohesion conference at only five per cent ethnic minority staff.
its studios in Leeds. More than Within a few years, the figure was
100 representatives from the 13.6 per cent. At the BBC, where
public, private and voluntary former director-general Greg Dyke
sectors attended. famously declared the organisation to
be ‘hideously white’, the corporation
later announced that it had hit its initial
target of 10 per cent of staff and four
per cent of senior management from
minority ethnic communities. It then
set a new target of 12.5 per cent of all
staff and seven per cent of senior
management. At the same time, ITN
was nearing its target of 10 per cent
of staff; Channel 4 was at 10.4 per
cent of all staff (target 11 per cent)

How others have done it 28
and 5.1 per cent of management Why has the newspaper industry
(target 8 per cent). lagged behind the broadcasters?
Broadcasters have invested in Jones says it did not wake up to the
training schemes aimed at ethnic commercial reality. ‘I went to the CRE
minority candidates. Both ITV and the Race in Media awards and saw quite
BBC offer bursaries for postgraduate a number of newspaper executives
vocational courses at journalism there for the first time. They are
schools. In attracting young black waking up to the new reality of Britain.’
and Asian graduates into
broadcasting, particularly broadcast Indeed they are. The Society of
journalism, they have emphasised the Editors’ Diversity in the Newsroom
value of portrayal and role models. report showed that the issue of
Black and Asian newscasters and minority ethnic recruitment had risen
correspondents have encouraged up the agenda of the newspaper
young people from ethnic minority industry, regional and national, and
communities to believe that talent is was now of concern to many
the key to success. publishers and editors.

Some editors and publishers were
‘We employ journalists from making specific efforts, such as
ethnic minority backgrounds and school visits, special work experience
consult them on issues of religion schemes, targeted bursaries and
and custom before embarking on working with ethnic groups, to
increase minority ethnic employment.
a particular story or on the style
of writing’ – And most agreed that much more
needed to be done. The challenge
Paul Horrocks, editor, Manchester was regarded as immense because
Evening News of what appeared to be resistance to
the idea of newspaper journalism as
a career, if not so much on the part of
Clive Jones is passionate about the young black and Asian people, then
minority ethnic employment issue. Now certainly among their parents.
managing director of ITV News, he
believes that responding appropriately • The Bradford Telegraph & Argus
to diversity is a moral and commercial had gone into mono-cultural
necessity. Although the achievements schools, targeted careers events,
in this area in broadcasting have been and even staged their own
greater than in the newspaper industry, recruitment events in Asian areas,
he says there is much more to be ‘with little interest or success’. It
done. He stresses the importance of had also pioneered three-month
role models and of the involvement of internships for minority ethnic
the most senior people in the industry candidates but to no avail.
in the drive to recruit and promote
more minority ethnic staff.

How others have done it 29
• The Leicester Mercury might sell to We had been duped by a splinter
40 per cent of minority ethnic group. The story had been written by
households, but despite making a the one Asian reporter in the
considerable effort to recruit trainee newsroom. We had assumed that our
journalists had had little success. responsibility to reflect ethnic
community issues was taken care of
• The Evening Mail, Birmingham, had by having an Asian reporter. What it
been more fortunate, recruiting showed was that the responsibility
seven young ethnic minority goes a lot further: every news editor,
journalists and a number of sub and photographer needs a much
freelances. One of these became deeper level of understanding of
the only reporter to be given access different communities.’
to the family of two murdered girls.
The result had been a series of Some national newspapers have
exclusive interviews which had won made conscious efforts to have their
an award from the local community staffs reflect the make-up of society
for the most sensitive coverage of generally. Sir David Bell, chairman of
the shootings. the Financial Times, invited others
from the nationals to discuss the
Associated director Kevin Beatty issue. Editors and senior executives
believes editors should not employ from the Times, the Sun, the
journalists from minority communities Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the
simply to cover that section of their Independent gathered to decide what
readerships, saying it merely they might do.
promotes segregation. The main
advantages of reflecting the make-up For the first time, top people in the
of readerships in editorial staffs lie, he national press came together to
says, in reassuring ethic minority discuss minority ethnic representation
groups of at least a level of on their editorial staffs. It was an
understanding of their position and in indication of how the issue had grown
demonstrating a commitment to in importance, and the recognition of
faithful reporting of all local issues. that by the most senior people in the
industry. As with the broadcast
A similar warning comes from Marc experience, change required
Reeves, editorial director of Trinity champions, and such a group had
Mirror Southern: ‘We were emerged. The National Newspaper
approached by a local Hindu group Diversity Forum has since met regularly
that wanted to draw attention to a and taken a number of initiatives.
local authority giving minimal support
to Diwali events. We ran the story The proportions of minority ethnic
only to find that the council was in staff began rising on some
fact linking up with many groups to newspapers.
help the celebrations.

Coming up on page 32 - What you need to know about different faith groups.

How others have done it 30
The FT, then with seven per cent,
appointed a diversity manager and
launched an intern scheme. The
Guardian saw its minority staff rise
through five per cent. It increased
the number of college bursaries and
put in place a multi-ethnic training
programme.

How others have done it 31
Essential facts
about faiths

5
41
Know something of the faiths of differences, especially where one
people you are writing about, how the generation has grown up in a
milestones of life are passed in different environment from its
different religions... birth, growing predecessor. Some may call
into adulthood, marriage and death. themselves adherents of a faith but
Find out how people of one faith and practise a largely secular lifestyle
another worship, what they eat, how and observe, for example, only the
they dress and what they celebrate. main holy days.

This material is largely drawn from A Therefore, the features of faiths
Mark of Faith, which is how one multi- shown below should not necessarily
cultural community describes the way be accorded to all their followers
various faiths affect the everyday lives but are given as an indication of
of their people. It was written by the what may be expected of them.
Southwark Multi-Faith Forum and
Communities in Action on behalf of For the full text of A Mark of Faith, go
the local strategic partnership, to the Society of Editors website at
Southwark Alliance, as a contribution www.societyofeditors.org
to the Home Office Community
Cohesion Pathfinder programme.

Be aware that there may be cultural
differences between faiths in
Southwark and faiths in another
locality, just as there is between
people everywhere. Check detail with
the group you are writing about.

This is not the only cautionary note.
Remember that some of this
information relates as much to
culture as it does to faith and may
therefore differ according to the
country in which people have settled
or from which they have originated
or to the time in which they live.

It may also differ from person to
person in any of the following faiths.
Some may observe the traditional
tenets of the faith more strictly than
others. Some may interpret
scriptures more literally; others less
so. There may also be generational

Essential facts about faiths 32
Birth naming ceremony, known as
namakarna, is held. The first outing
for the child is to the temple where
Islam the child receives blessings from the
The first words that a baby born into devotees and the deities.
a Muslim family ought to hear should
be the adhan (call to prayer) Judaism
whispered into the infant’s ear by his
After a child is born, the parents are
or her father. Some Muslim families
honoured in the synagogue (Jewish
hold a big feast to celebrate the birth.
place of worship). Both parents may
The ceremony is called Aqiqah:
be called up to the reading of the
babies also receive their name on this
Torah (Jewish holy book) at the
day. Boys are usually circumcised
Sabbath morning service. A prayer
within four weeks of their birth.
expressing thanks for the well-being
of the mother and baby may also be
Buddhism recited.
There is no special ceremony to mark
the birth of a child in Buddhism, so Baby boys are circumcised on the
people generally follow local customs eighth day of their life by a Mohel
when celebrating the new arrival into (doctor/surgeon); blessings and
the world. prayers feature in the accompanying
ceremony. The baby boy receives his
Christianity Hebrew name on this occasion –
Christians use the practice of baptism, though this can happen in a
also known as christening, to introduce naming/blessing ceremony
the new-born into Christianity. Baptism subsequently held in the synagogue.
is perceived as an act of dedicating the Girl infants receive their Hebrew name
child back to God and of asking for at such a naming ceremony.
God’s blessings. The service is also
used to name the baby in the Sikhism
presence of God, and is often known When a baby is a few days old, the
as a naming ceremony. family take him or her to a gurdwara
(Sikh place of worship) for a blessing
Some parents may choose a service and naming ceremony. Armit
of thanksgiving or dedication for the (baptismal water) is placed on the
child whereby the congregation gives baby’s tongue and some is sprinkled
thanks for the gift of a new life. on the baby’s face and head by the
granthi (person directly concerned
Hinduism with the religious affairs of the
Prayers for the child are performed gurdwara). The remainder is given to
even before the baby is born. the mother to drink.
Prayers are also given at the birth to
welcome the child into the family. A

Essential facts about faiths 33
During the ceremony, the Guru Granth Transition to Adulthood
Sahib (Sikh holy book) is opened at
random. The first letter of the child’s
name begins with the first letter of the
Christianity
first word of the first verse on the left- From the age of seven, a young
hand page; the parents decide the person who had been baptised
name of the child based on this. If the around the time of his or her birth
baby is a boy, Singh is added to the may receive Holy Communion,
name. If the baby is a girl, Kaur is though it varies from denomination to
added to the name. denomination.

Some Christian denominations
practise the rite of Confirmation. The
Church of England confirms generally
around 12-14; the Church of
Scotland and the free (or non-
conformist Churches), such as the
Methodists and United Reformed,
prefer 16 to 18 for Confirmation,
which may be called church
membership. During this rite, baptism
vows are confirmed by the young
people (or adults) themselves. The
bishop, priest or minister lays hands
on the person and asks God to send
the Holy Spirit upon him or her.
Confirmation may be received by
young people when they feel they are
ready to take on a religious
commitment, often at the ages of
either 11 or 14, depending on their
denomination, or may be postponed
until adulthood.

Baptist and Pentecostalist
denominations carry out the service of
believer’s baptism of adults. A person
wishing to be baptised in this way
must be at least 16 years old, as it is
believed that only then can a person
truly comprehend the relationship he
or she has with Jesus Christ.

Essential facts about faiths 34
Buddhism and respect their parents. The third is
to listen to their religious teacher.
The different schools of Buddhism
encourage young people to develop
their own unique identity. Most Islam
schools of Buddhism studied in At the onset of puberty, Muslim girls
Britain do not have rituals to will often adopt the wearing of the
commemorate a person’s entrance hijab (headscarf). Once young people
into adulthood. are physically strong enough, they are
also expected to participate in fasting
A large proportion of Buddhists in during the month of Ramadan. There
Britain are converts to the faith – are, however, no formal coming-of-
many of whom adopt the faith as age ceremonies commonly practised
they reach adulthood. Conversion to in the Muslim faith.
Buddhism, known as seeking refuge
in Buddhism, can be done by people Judaism
regardless of their age. It is achieved
Jewish parents are responsible for
when a person completes a refuge
the early-years religious education of
prayer. The refuge prayer varies
the child. Once children have reached
between the different schools and
school age, they may attend religious
among different cultures.
classes, sometimes known as
cheder, which are held after school or
Sikhism on Sunday mornings at their local
It is a very special and important synagogue. Here they learn about
occasion when a Sikh boy is given Jewish history and the customs and
his first turban at the age of seven or traditions of Judaism, as well as
eight. The turban is tied on the boy’s studying Hebrew.
head by a granthi (person directly
concerned with religious affairs of the The coming-of-age ceremony for
gurdwara or place of worship) or an boys, the Bar Mitzvah, takes place at
elderly relative. The event takes place the age of 13. In Liberal Judaism,
at a gurdwara, close to the Guru there is also the equivalent ceremony
Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book), and is for girls at the age of 12, known as
witnessed by friends and family. the Bat Mitzvah. These are important
ceremonies and a time for great
Hinduism celebration, as they mark the stage of
life at which young people are
When Hindu children reach four or
expected to be responsible for their
five years of age, a ceremonial thread
own actions and to fulfil all the duties
is tied around the child’s wrist by the
of Judaism.
priest or a respected elderly person.
The thread represents the three debts
that the children owe. The first debt is
to worship God, the provider of all
their needs. The second is to love

Essential facts about faiths 35
Marriage While they make their oaths, they
walk around the sacred fire, called
Havan, a maximum of seven times.
Islam (Some sections of the community do
The parents of a Muslim couple so a maximum of four times.)
usually play an important role in
arranging marriages through Judaism
recommendations. Family and friends
During a Jewish wedding ceremony,
may also introduce potential couples
the couple stand under a chuppah (a
to one another. However, the couple
special canopy), and at the end of the
must both agree to any union.
service a glass is broken under foot.
There is a formal contract of marriage,
Once the marriage has been agreed,
known as a ketubbah, which is read
the new wife is entitled to a gift from
out during the ceremony.
the husband. The marriage ceremony
includes a formal proposal and a
It is customary for the bride and groom
declaration that the couple accept
not to see each other for a week
each other. Sermons and prayers are
preceding the wedding. Some couples
also read during the celebrations.
fast on the day before the wedding.
Buddhism
Sikhism
Marriage is perceived as one of the
Usually the bride’s father takes the
most important ceremonies of life in
initiative in arranging ceremonial
the Buddhist faith because the
commitments through a mediator.
success of the partnership depends on
the ability of both husband and wife to
The wedding is held at the gurdwara.
give to this world their full creative
The father of the bride gives away the
value as individual human beings.
daughter by making her hold one end
of a scarf, which rests on the groom’s
Hinduism shoulders. The groom holds the other
Parents and friends often play a part end off the scarf. This is followed by
in bringing together potential lavan, the act of moving around the
marriage partners through formal or Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book).
informal introductions, but the final
decision to get married depends on While still holding the scarf, the
the two individuals. couple circle the Guru Granth Sahib
in a clockwise direction, the groom
During a Hindu marriage ceremony, walking ahead of the bride. Four
Mantras (hymns) are recited by a holy hymns are sung during this
person. The husband and wife have ceremony. On completion of each
to take seven oaths, the most hymn, the bride and groom will have
important of which is to be faithful to fully moved around the holy book,
each other. bowed to it and sat down in front of it

Essential facts about faiths 36
to listen to the next hymn. After the Death
final hymn, flowers are showered on
the newly-wedded couple.
Hinduism
Christianity The deceased person is usually
bathed and dressed in traditional
The priest or minister performs the
white Indian clothes. Family members
marriage ceremony for Christian
pray around the body as soon as
couples. The bride and groom
possible after death has occurred.
exchange wedding vows. Bible
readings, which may have a special
At the funeral, most Hindus wear
meaning for the couple, are
white clothing. The Hindu faith states
commonly given.
that the dead must be cremated, as
the burning signifies the release of
A commitment is made, for better for
their spirit. But children under five
worse, for richer for poorer. The
are buried.
essence of marriage is that it is an
outward and visible sign of spiritual
Official mourning lasts 13 days during
grace.
which the scriptures are recited.
Ceremonies to mark the death are
held annually.

Christianity
Christian funerals vary according to
the different denominations of the
Christian faith. However, there are
many similarities that may include
speeches and readings by relatives
and close friends. Prayers are said for
the dead person whose body is either
buried or cremated. The funeral
encompasses the Christian hope of
life beyond death, based on the belief
in Jesus Christ’s resurrection
celebrated at Easter – the core of the
Christian faith.

Family and friends often send
flowers to the funeral, though the
immediate family sometimes request
that mourners instead donate money
to charity. Black and other dark
colours are commonly worn by
mourners at funerals.

Essential facts about faiths 37
Buddhism manner. This is because death is
viewed as a time for praising God, and
It is common for a Buddhist to be
prayers are said to acknowledge that
cremated after death. Close family
death is an act of God.
and friends will often offer special
ceremonial incense, and a eulogy will
The dead person is bathed and
be spoken. A Buddhist religious
dressed in fresh clothes before being
leader may give a funeral address,
cremated. Hymns are sung in
which usually includes an explanation
preparation for cremation. Family read
of the Buddhist view of death and
the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy
rebirth. Some parts of the community
book) in stages. The final pages are
wear white clothing at funerals, as
read after the cremation, when family
this is the colour traditionally linked to
and friends return to the gurdwara.
death by Buddhists.
Hymns are sung about death.
Islam Men and women wear sombre
In most Muslim societies, the body is clothes to the funeral. Ashes are
buried. There is a ritual washing of collected and scattered in running
the body before it is placed in a white water or in the sea; any such place
shroud. Burial is not usually in a that holds sentimental value.
coffin; burials with the body only in a
shroud are typical. At burial, the face The mourning period lasts between
is turned towards Mecca, and two and five weeks. On the first
prayers are said. Relatives and friends anniversary of the person’s death, the
are generally expected not to mourn family gather to pray in the gurdwara.
excessively, as the Islamic faith states The function ends with a meal,
that relatives should be comforted by known as a langar. All functions in
knowing that the deceased has the gurdwaras end in this way.
opportunity to enter jannah
(heaven/paradise). Judaism
Jewish practices relating to death
The dead are buried as quickly as
and mourning serve two purposes: to
possible, preferably before sundown
show respect for the dead and to
on the day of death. Cremation is
comfort the living.
not practised in Islam. A funeral
prayer is said for the recently-
Respect for the dead body is a
deceased person. For several days
matter of paramount importance; the
after death, it is common to recite
body is thoroughly cleaned and
prayers in remembrance.
wrapped in a simple, plain linen
shroud. Orthodox Judaism does not
Sikhism allow cremation but Liberal Judaism
When somebody from the Sikh faith does. For burials, coffins are not
dies, relatives and friends are expected required, but if they are used they
to mourn in a relatively reserved must have holes drilled in them so

Essential facts about faiths 38
that the body comes into contact Worship Practice
with the earth.

The funeral service is short. It
Buddhism
includes the reading of psalms, an The word Buddhism means ‘the way
address in memory of the deceased of enlightenment’. The enlightened
and Kaddish, the memorial prayer. mind is worshipped. Buddhists
believe all people are capable of
Jewish mourning practices are enlightenment. To be enlightened
staged over seven days, 30 days and means to be compassionate, tolerant,
one year. In the first seven days, reasonable, moral and engaged in a
prayers are said in the home each life that benefits humanity and the
evening, with visitors coming by to natural world.
look after the mourning family. On the
anniversary of the death of a loved The type of worship and practice for
one, Jews light a memorial candle Buddhists depends on the school
and say Kaddish. being followed. Many Buddhists will
place flowers or other plants and light
candles and incense before a
Buddha-image or some other symbol
of the presence of the Buddhahood.
People from the Buddhist faith offer a
prayer. The central rite of lay
Buddhism is the offering of food.

Many congregational meetings of
Buddhists take place in people’s
homes. Others take place in
centres/temples if they are nearby.

(Buddhists regard Buddahood as a
state in which one attains true and
indestructible happiness, a condition
of perfect and absolute freedom. This
is characterised by boundless
wisdom, compassion, courage and
life-force.)

Christianity
Christian worship involves praising
God in music and speech, reading
from the scriptures, prayers of various
sorts, a sermon, and various holy
ceremonies such as the Eucharist

Essential facts about faiths 39
(also known as Holy Communion, the regarded as the most essential
Lord’s Supper or Mass). This is a obligatory duty that a Muslim must
ceremony in which bread and wine perform. On Fridays, prayer in
are consecrated and consumed. congregation at a mosque, known as
Depending on the church, the central Jummuah prayer, is considered
meaning of these services may be compulsory for men. Women may
about remembering the Last Supper, also attend prayers at the mosque if
a fellowship meal between believers they choose to do so. Most mosques
or members believing there is a living have separate sections for men and
presence of Jesus Christ in the bread women to pray. However, because of
and wine. limited space, some mosques do not
accommodate women. The
Sunday was made the day of Jummuah prayer is said at noon
Christian worship, as it is the day that where an Imam (person leading the
Christians believe Jesus Christ rose prayer) delivers a Khutbah (sermon),
from the dead. Christians regard which contains guidance for Muslims
worship as something that they not on how to live their lives in
only do for God, but to provide, remembrance of God.
through Jesus Christ’s example and
the presence of the Holy Spirit, help A Muslim’s duties, as described in the
and strength to believers. Five Pillars of Islam, are:
1. Shahadah – the belief in one’s
Church services on a Sunday divide heart and the declaration that
into two general types: Eucharistic “there is no God but God and
services that focus on the act of Holy Muhammad is his prophet.” The
Communion and Services of the name for God in Arabic in the
Word without this ceremony but Qur’an is Allah. Once a person
instead a sermon. The preacher declares the Shahadah in Arabic,
delivering the sermon speaks to a he or she becomes a Muslim
biblical text, making it relevant to 2. Salat – to perform prayers five times
those present. a day between the break of dawn
and night-time, often just before
Different churches, even within the sleeping. Muslims must wash their
same denomination, will use very heads, arms and feet before
different styles of worship. Some will praying. Muslims always face the
be more elaborate with a choir direction of Mecca when praying
singing; others will hand over the 3. Zakat – to donate a proportion of
music to the congregation. Some one’s savings to the poor and
leave much of the action to the needy annually
preacher; others encourage greater 4. Sawm – to fast during the ninth
congregational participation. lunar month of the Arabic calendar
(Ramadan). Muslims believe this to
Islam be the month that Muhammad
Worshipping God through prayer is received the first revelation of the

Essential facts about faiths 40
Qur’an from God important part of worship in which
5. Hajj – to make at least one the deities are worshipped and
pilgrimage to Mecca if Muslims are glorified through prayers
economically and physically able to. accompanied by dancing and
musical instruments.
Judaism
Some Hindu practices incorporate
For those who choose to practise
meditation. Other activities public
Judaism, worship means being a part
rituals and puja, a ceremonial dinner
of the synagogue community and
for a God. During the ceremony,
attending services there on the
worshippers sip water and pray for
Sabbath and on Jewish festivals. In
peace and ask that God makes body,
Orthodox synagogues there are
soul and mind pure, just as the water
prayer services every day of the
is pure. They touch different parts of
week. Liberal synagogues have a
their bodies and pray that God will
liturgy for weekdays but focus on the
keep all their senses in perfect
Sabbath and festivals.
working order.
For both Liberal and Orthodox
traditions, weekday prayers may be Sikhism
recited at home. The key feature of There are no fixed days for worship at
the Sabbath service on Saturday the gurdwara, but the main service of
morning is the reading from the Torah the week is held on either Saturday or
(Jewish holy book). Sunday. The times of the service are
determined by each gurdwara.
The Shabbat, or Sabbath, begins
with the lighting of candles at sunset Usually, all the family attend the
on Friday and ends with sundown on service together. The service begins
Saturday evening. Orthodox Jews with the giani reciting the prayer. A
believe that on the Sabbath they are giani is a scholar of the Punjabi
prohibited to travel by car or public language and literature; Punjabi is the
transport or to carry out a wide range traditional language spoken by Sikhs.
of activities that can be defined in any
manner as ‘work’. Liberal Judaism There is singing of hymns from the
permits Jewish people to interpret the scriptures, which is accompanied by
restrictions on travel and work more tabla (drums) and harmonium, and
flexibly, while not actually hindering sometimes other instruments.
their observance of the Sabbath. Religious or historical poetry may also
be read, as well as speeches from
Hinduism members of the congregation. People
who participate in these activities feel
Worship takes place at home and/or
that this is one way in which they can
at the temple. Most Hindu homes
serve their God and fellow Sikhs.
have small altars where daily worship
takes place. Visiting a temple is an
The giani usually gives a sermon,

Essential facts about faiths 41
which may explain some verses of Diet & Clothing
the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy
book) or provide suggestions about
how Sikhs should conduct
Buddhism
themselves in their daily lives. Most Buddhists believe they have to
be vegetarians. They do not wear
At the end of the service, Karah clothing made from an animal. A lay
Parshad, which is made from Buddhist is not required to wear robes.
semolina, clarified butter, sugar and
water, is served in small amounts to Christianity
the congregation. One has to accept Christians are not required to adhere
it with two hands cupped together to a particular dress code. However,
and eat the sweet straightaway. The they are expected to wear modest
eating of the Karah Parshad together clothing during church services. Some
shows fellowship and equality among Christians choose to make a special
the congregational members. A meal effort with what they wear to church.
is always served after the service,
known as langar. There are no special dietary
requirements among the majority of
Christian denominations. Traditionally
Christians chose not to eat meat on
Friday, though fish could be eaten.
This was to remember the crucifixion
of Jesus Christ on Good Friday.

Orthodox and African Caribbean
Christians generally still observe fasts
strictly. Fasting can form an important
part of other Christians’ life,
particularly during the period of Lent.

Hinduism
Hindu women often wear a long
dress, known as a sari, while some
Hindu men frequently wear a scarf,
known as angarkha.

Hindus are under strict instructions
not to harm living things, and so most
of them will be strict vegetarians.
Some may not eat eggs or fish.
Hindus will not eat anything that
contains beef products because the

Essential facts about faiths 42
cow is a sacred representation of the Pork is haram (forbidden) for
bounty of the Gods. Muslims. In addition, Muslims will only
eat halal meat or chicken. This is
The orthodox Hindu diet also excludes meat that has come from an animal
alcohol, as well as stimulating food slaughtered without the use of
such as onions and garlic. electric stunning. Some Muslims will
eat kosher meat as prepared by
A red powder mark at the parting of Jewish people.
hair on the forehead of Hindu women
indicates that the woman is married. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam and is
This red powder mark is different from not used as an ingredient in cooking.
a bindi, which is what usually appears
as a red dot on the forehead and is Judaism
also worn by some Hindu women.
Orthodox Jewish men are required to
The bindi is now perceived more as a
cover their heads in the synagogue,
fashion accessory than having any
while at prayer elsewhere and when
religious or cultural meaning.
visiting cemeteries. Most wear a skull-
cap known as a kippah, yarmulke or
Jewellery usually has religious or
kappl. Some Orthodox men wear a
cultural significance, like a woman’s
kippah throughout the day. In Liberal
bangles that are removed only on
Judaism, both men and women are
her husband’s death. Some Hindus
encouraged to wear a kippah.
wear a multi-coloured thread tied on
to the wrist during religious
Jewish religious law deems certain
ceremonies or sometimes tied on
foods kosher, meaning ‘fit’ or
the wrist on a regular basis.
‘appropriate’. Certain foodstuffs
such as pork, rabbit and shellfish are
Islam not kosher. There are rules about
Muslim men and women are required how animals must be slaughtered.
by the Qur’an to dress modestly. Meat and dairy products must be
Therefore all Muslims should wear kept separate.
loose clothes that do not show off
their bodies. Muslim women may Sikhism
choose to wear a scarf over their
Sikh men and boys are often seen in
head and upper torso. This scarf is
turbans, which come in many colours
known as the hijab. Some women
and are worn in various styles. A
may also choose to cover their faces
turban is not merely a headscarf – it
with a veil referred to as the nikkab.
is directly connected with the Sikh
Most Muslim men believe they are not
way of life. It also shows that the man
permitted by their faith to wear pure
is proud to be a Sikh. Sikhs should
silk or gold. Some Muslims believe
be in possession of five symbols,
smoking to be forbidden by their faith.
which all start with the letter ‘k’:
1. Kes - the hair on the head and

Essential facts about faiths 43
face, which must remain uncut. Festivals
The hair on the head must remain
covered
2. Kanga – a small comb for keeping
Hinduism
the hair clean and tidy Spiritual life is not sombre; it should be
3. Kirpan – a sword made from steel a continuous celebration. Hinduism is
which is usually 8 to 10 inches long full of colour and festivities.
4. Kara – a steel bracelet to remind Throughout the Hindu year, there are
the wearer of his unity with God festivals and sacred holidays, each of
and the Sikh brotherhood which has its own character to be
5. Kach – a pair of shorts worn as observed in a particular way and
underwear. mood. In Hinduism, religious festivals
are vital to the spiritual development of
the people and are considered to be
"the mother of devotion."
Diwali is regarded as the most
important religious festival in the Hindu
faith. Known also as the ‘Festival of
Lights’, it celebrates the new year. As
the calendar used by Hindus is based
on the lunar system, the date of the
festival is not fixed. Therefore, the date
for Diwali can fall between late
October and mid-November.

Christianity
Easter is the culmination of the Lent
and Holy Week period. Lent lasts for
40 days. For practising Christians,
Lent is seen as a preparation time for
Easter. Lent may involve abstaining
from particular foods, or by giving to
charity, or by practising more prayer.
Holy Week has three important days
leading up to Easter Sunday: Maundy
Thursday, Good Friday and Holy
Saturday. Maundy Thursday marks
the last supper, which Jesus Christ
celebrated with his disciples and at
which he gave important teaching
and examples to them. Good Friday
commemorates the day of Jesus
Christ’s death by crucifixion. Holy
Saturday (observed more by some

Essential facts about faiths 44
churches than others) recalls the day approximately two weeks from the
when Christ was lying in the tomb preceding year.
before the Resurrection on the first
Easter Sunday. Eid al-Adha is the festival for those
who do not perform the Hajj
Easter is a major festival day and a (pilgrimage) to celebrate the day after
joyful day for all Christian churches, the Arafat. (Arafat is a reference to
which may have very different styles the site where the Hajj is concluded.)
in marking the occasion. Easter Eid al-Fitr is a festival after a month
eggs are used to symbolise new life. of fasting known as Ramadan. It
Eggs are an ancient Christian and celebrates obedience to Allah and his
Jewish symbol. command to fast in the holy month
of Ramadan.
Christians celebrate Christmas, an
important festival in their faith as it Judaism
marks incarnation and birth of Jesus
Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday
Christ. It follows a month of
starting on the 25th night of the
preparation known as Advent. Some
Jewish month of Kislev. Hanukkah,
Christians, particularly from Africa and
which means ‘dedication’, is also
the Caribbean, and Protestants in
known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. The
Scotland and Ireland, place more
holiday goes back almost 2,400
emphasis on the prayers that take
years. Hanukkah, is a special time for
place at midnight on 31 December.
children. Gifts and Hanukkah money
Because they mark the beginning of
are exchanged. Some families give a
the new year, the former tend to
small present on each of the eight
focus on thoughts of families in their
nights of the festival.
countries of origin.

Pentecost, also known as Whitsun, is Sikhism
the third important festival of the Sikhs call their festivals gurpurbs. The
Christian Year. It is often described as celebration of any festival starts with
the birthday of the Church, marking the Akhand Path. This is the
the incident, 40 days after Easter, continuous reading of the entire Guru
when the Holy Spirit descended upon Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book) in
the assembled Christian believers, relays of one or two hours by
enabling them to go out and spread competent readers. It takes 48 hours
the Gospel to all nations. to complete the reading, which starts
two days before the gurpurb.
Islam
The word for ‘festival’ in Arabic is Eid. Buddhism
The two festivals for Muslims are Eid- New Year’s Day marks the first day,
ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. Muslims use the first month, the beginning of the
the lunar calendar so the dates for year and the start of spring.
each Eid move forward by

Essential facts about faiths 45
New Year may be considered the
most important religious festival of the
Buddhist faith. On 31 December at
midnight, Buddhists chant the
Gongyo, which means assiduous
practice. This signifies starting afresh
and focuses us on what Buddhists
want to achieve. It also celebrates
what has been done in the last year.

Coming up on page 47 - Useful contacts.

Essential facts about faiths 46
Finding out more

6
58
Useful contacts for help and Runnymede Trust
information about every element of The Trust acts as a bridge-builder
community cohesion: between various minority ethnic
communities and policymakers. Its
OFFICIAL AND ADVISORY BODIES website carries downloads of
publications about community
Home Office cohesion and racial issues.
The Cohesion and Faiths Unit 020 7377 9222
provides ministers and officials with www.runnymedetrust.org
advice on cohesion and religious email: runnymede@trt.demon.co.uk
issues and aims to raise awareness
so that government departments
better understand the impact of MEDIA CODES AND GUIDANCE
policies on faith communities. It also
seeks to promote dialogue between Society of Editors
faith communities.
The Society of Editors campaigns for
020 7035 0403 media freedom, self-regulation, the
www.homeoffice.gov.uk public’s right to know and the
email: maintenance of standards in
CommunityCohesion@homeoffice.gsi. journalism.
gov.uk
01223 304080
www.societyofeditors.org
Inner Cities Religious Council
email: info@societyofeditors.org
This is located in the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister and focuses Media Trust
on involving faith communities in
The Media Trust works in partnership
urban regeneration.
with the media industry to help the
020 7944 4400 voluntary sector build effective
www.odpm.gov.uk communications.
email: icrc@odpm.gsi.gov.uk
020 7874 7603
www.mediatrust.org
Commission for Racial Equality
email: info@mediatrust.org
The CRE is a publicly-funded, non-
governmental body set up under the Press Complaints Commission
Race Relations Act 1976 to tackle (PCC)
racial discrimination and promote
All newspapers and magazines
racial equality. It provides information
voluntarily submit to the PCC’s
and advice, and works to raise
jurisdiction. Its code is written into
awareness of race issues
newspaper journalists’ contracts.
020 7939 0000
020 7583 1248
www.cre.gov.uk
www.pcc.org.uk
email: www.cre.gov.uk
email: complaints@pcc.org.uk

Finding out more 47
Office for Communications (Ofcom) Mediawise
Ofcom regulates all broadcasting in A charity concerned with ethical
the UK. Broadcasters are required by journalism. Provides advice and its
law to follow its codes. own guidelines.
020 7981 3040 0117 941 5889
www.ofcom.org.uk www.mediawise.org.uk
email: contact@ofcom.org.uk email: info@mediawise.org.uk

BBC.
Its Producer Guidelines are a source ASYLUM AND REFUGEES
of advice to broadcasters on dealing
with sensitive issues. European Council on Refugees
and Exiles
www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/producer
_guides 020 7377 7556
www.ecre.org
The BBC also has website pages
devoted to religion. They offer a guide Information Centre about Asylum
to beliefs and practices and also to and Refugees
its standpoint on ethical issues such 020 7848 2103
as abortion, same-sex marriage and www.icar.org.uk
euthanasia
www.bbc.co.uk/religion National Asylum Support Service
020 7633 0304
National Union of Journalists www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk
The NUJ represents thousands of
journalists in the UK. It encourages its Refugee Action
members to work according to its 0161 233 1956 / 020 7654 7714
code of conduct. www.refugee-action.org.uk
020 7278 7916
www.nuj.org.uk Refugee Council
email: info@nuj.org.uk 020 7820 3057
www.refugeecouncil.org.uk
Chartered Institute of Journalists
The CIOJ campaigns for press UN High Commissioner for
freedom and acts as a trade union for Refugees
its members in journalism and public 020 7932 1020
relations. www.unhr.ch
020 7252 1187
www.ioj.co.uk
email: memberservices@ioj.co.uk

Finding out more 48
FAITH GROUPS email: info@ctbi.org.uk

National Spiritual Assembly Churches Together in England
(Baha’i) 020 7529 8141
020 7584 2566 www.churches-together.org.uk
www.bahai.org.uk email: office@cte.org.uk
email: nsa@bahai.org.uk
Action of Churches Together in
Buddhist Society Scotland
020 7834 5858 01786 823588
www.buddhistsociety.org www.acts-scotland.org
email: info@thebuddhistsociety.org.uk email: ecumenical@acts-scotland.org

Network of Buddhist Organisations CYTUN/Churches Together in
(UK) Wales
0845 345 8978 029 2046 4204
www.nbo.org.uk www.cytun.org.uk
email: secretary@nbo.org.uk email: post@cytun.org.uk

Church of England African-Caribbean Evangelical
020 78981000 Alliance
www.cofe.anglican.org 020 7735 7373
www.aceauk.org
Roman Catholic Church email: acea@eauk.org
www.catholic-church.org.uk
Council of African and Afro-
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Caribbean Churches (UK)
England and Wales 020 7274 5589
020 7630 8220
www.catholic-church.org.uk Hindu Council UK
email: ccs@cbcew.org.uk 020 8566 5658
www.hinducounciluk.org
Free Churches Group email: info@hinducounciluk.org
020 7529 8141
www.churches-together.org.uk National Council of Hindu Temples
email: freechurch@cte.org.uk 01923 350093
email: bimal.krsna.bcs@pamho.net
Churches Together in Britain and
Ireland Jain Centre
This is the ecumenical umbrella body www.jaincentre.com
for the main Trinitarian churches in
England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland Board of Deputies of British Jews
020 7654 7254 020 7543 5400
www.ctbi.org.uk www.bod.org.uk
Finding out more 49
email: info@bod.org.uk INTER-FAITH ORGANISATIONS

Muslim Council of Britain Scottish Inter Faith Council
0208 432 0585 0141 429 4012
www.mcb.org.uk www.interfaithscotland.org
email: admin@mcb.org.uk email: sifc@interfaithscotland.org

Network of Sikh Organisations Inter Faith Council for Wales
020 8544 8037 029 2075 0990
www.nsouk.co.uk email: aschwartz@clara.co.uk
email: nso@sikhism.wanadoo.co.uk
Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum
Zoroastrian Trust Funds for Europe 028 9038 4328
020 7328 6018 interfaithni@stran.ac.uk
www.ztfe.com
email: secretary@ztfe.com Council of Christians and Jews
020 7820 0090
www.ccj.org.uk
OTHER MINORITY GROUPS email: cjrelations@ccj.org.uk

Gypsy Council for Education, International Interfaith Centre
Culture, Welfare and Civil Rights
01865 202745
01708 868986 www.interfaith-center.org
www.thegypsycouncil.org email: interfaith@interfaith-center.org
email:
thegypsycouncil@btinternet.com Maimonides Foundation
(Jewish-Muslim)
Irish Traveller Movement in Britain
020 7518 8282
info@irishtraveller.org.uk www.maimonides-foundation.org
email: info@irishtraveller.org.uk email: info@maimonides-foundation.org

Friends, Families and Travellers Religions for Peace UK
01273 234 777 01962 774221
www.gypsy-traveller.org hopeis@btinternet.com
email: fft@communitybase.org
Three Faiths Forum
Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform
020 7485 2538
Coalition
www.threefaithsforum.org.uk
020 7625 2255 email: Sidney@Sternberg-
www.travellerslaw.org.uk foundation.co.uk
email: romanistan@yahoo.com
United Religions Initiative
O17687 77671
www.uri.org.uk
Finding out more 50
email: info@uri.org.uk

World Congress of Faiths
01932 855400
www.worldfaiths.org
email: enquiries@worldfaiths.org

In addition, there are about 200
regional and local inter-faith groups,
all working to promote good inter-
faith relations. For a full list, see the
website of the Inter-Faith Network for
the UK at www.interfaith.org.uk

OTHERS

Information about the food
requirements of different faiths can be
found on this website:
www.faithandfood.com

The same creator set up Tolerance
Ltd to promote inter-faith
relationships. Its website seeks to
improve the understanding of religion
in a secular society.
www.adamandeveit.net

Finding out more 51
Acknowledgments
We have received responses and
help from a great many organisations
but acknowledge especially the
contribution from the following:

Press Complaints Commission
Ofcom
Southwark Alliance
Southwark Multi-Faith Forum
BBC
ITV
ITN
Leicester Mercury
Bradford Telegraph & Argus
Evening Mail, Birmingham
Trinity Mirror
Coventry Evening Telegraph
Lancashire Evening Post
Oldham Evening Chronicle
The Guardian
The Observer
Newspaper Society
National Union of Journalists
Mediawise
University of Sheffield
Gypsy Council
Irish Traveller Movement in Britain
Friends, Families and Travellers
Derbyshire Police

Acknowledgments 52
Index
A Mark of Faith, 32 Buddhist Society, 49
Action of Churches Together in Burnley Express, 27
Scotland, 49
adulthood, 34–5 Campaign for Racial Equality
African people, 7, 15, 19 (CRE), 25, 29
African-Caribbean, 15 Caribbean people, 7, 15
African-Caribbean Evangelical Carlton Television, 14, 28
Alliance, 49 Carter, Nick, 14, 28
Afro-Caribbean, 15 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
Amir Khan, 24 England and Wales, 49
Arab people, 15 Channel 4, 14, 28–9
Asian Eye, 26 Channel 5, 14
Asian people, 15, 24 Chartered Institute of Journalists, 48
asylum seekers, 16–19, 25 children, 23
Christianity, 7, 19, 33, 34, 37,
Baha’is, 7, 49 39–40, 42, 44–5
Bangladeshi community, 27 Christmas, 45
baptism, 33 Church of England, 34, 49
Baptists, 34 Church of Scotland, 34
Bar/Bat Mitzvah, 35 Churches Together in Britain and
Barker, Charles, 25 Ireland, 49
BBC, 14, 28, 29, 48 Churches Together in England, 49
BBC Producer Guidelines, 20 Churches Together in Wales, 49
Beatty, Kevin, 24, 30 circumcision, 33
Bell, Sir David, 30 clandestine entrant, 16, 19
Birmingham, 7 clothing, 35, 37–8, 42–4
birth, 33–4 Cohesion and Faiths Unit, 47
black, 15 coloured, 15
black people, 15, 24 Commission for Racial Equality
Board of Deputies of British (CRE), 17, 47
Jews, 50 Community Cohesion Pathfinder
Bolton Evening News, 24 programme, 32
Borrell, Roger, 14 Community NewsWire, 25
Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 26, 29 confirmation, 34
British National Party, 27 Council of African and Afro-
British Pakistani, 15 Caribbean Churches (UK), 49
BSkyB, 14 Council of Christians and Jews, 50
Buddhism, 7, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39, 42, Coventry, 25
45–6 Coventry Evening Telegraph, 25, 27

Index 53
CRE see Campaign for Racial GMTV, 14
Equality, Commission for Racial Gospels, 20
Equality Granada, 14
Crucifixion, 20, 42, 44 Greater London Authority, 9
Cultural Diversity Network, 14, 28 Guardian, 30, 31
CYTUN/Churches Together in Guild of Editors, 10
Wales, 49 gurpurbs, 45
Gypsies, 15, 17–18, 19, 21–2
Daily Telegraph, 30 Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform
death, 37–9 Coalition, 50
Detroit Free Press, 27 Gypsy Council for Education,
diet, 42–3; see also food Culture, Welfare and Civil Rights,
Dinn, Jamsheed, 27 50
Diversity in the Newsroom, 28, 29
Diwali, 30, 44 Hajj, 45
Dyke, Greg, 28 half-caste, 15
Hanukkah, 45
Easter, 45 Hindu Council UK, 49
economic migrant, 15 Hinduism, 7, 30, 33, 35, 36, 37, 41,
Editors’ Code of Practice, see 42–3, 44
Press Complaints Commission code HIV, 21
Eid-al-Adha, 45 Home Office, 32, 47
Eid-al-Fitr, 45 Horrocks, Paul, 29
ELR, see Exceptional Leave to humanitarian status, 16
Remain
Employability Forum, 10 illegal asylum seeker, 17, 18
entrant, clandestine, 16 illegal entrant, 16
entrant, illegal, 16 illegal immigrant, 16, 18–19, 21
ethnic, 15 ILR, see Indefinite Leave to Remain
European Council on Refugees immigrant, 16
and Exiles, 48 Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), 16
Evening Mail (Birmingham), 14, 24, Independent, 30
26, 27, 30 India/Indian, 7, 15
Exceptional Leave to Remain Information Centre about Asylum
(ELR), 16 and Refugees, 9, 48
Inner Cities Religious Council, 47
faith, see religions Inter Faith Council for Wales, 50
fatwa, 19 International Interfaith Centre, 50
festivals, 24, 44–6 Irish Travellers, 15, 17–18, 19
Financial Times, 30, 31 Irish Traveller Movement in
food, 21, 23, 24, 51; see also diet Britain, 50
Free Churches Group, 49 Islam, 19, 33, 35, 36, 38, 40–1, 43,
Friends, Families and Travellers, 50 45; see also Muslims
fundamentalists, 19 Islam Awareness Week, 27

Index 54
ITN, 14, 28 Forum, 30
ITV News, 29 National Spiritual Assembly
ITV, 9, 14, 29 (Baha’i), 49
National Union of Journalists, 48
Jain Centre, 49 negro/negroes, 15
Jains, 7 Network of Buddhist Organisations
Jamsheed Dinn, 27 (UK), 49
Jews, 7, 11, 19 Network of Sikh Organisations, 50
jihad, 19 non-white, 15
Jones, Clive, 9, 14, 29 Northern Ireland Inter Faith
Journal (Newcastle), 26–7 Forum, 50
Judaism, 33, 35, 36, 38–9, 41, 43, 45
Office for Communications
Khan, Amir, 24 (Ofcom), 9, 11, 48
Koran, 19 Oldham Evening Chronicle, 24,
25, 27
Lancashire Evening Post, 27 Osama bin Laden, 19
law, 10
Leeds, 28 Pakistani, 15
Leicester, 7 Pakistani British, 15
Leicester Mercury, 14, 26, 28, 30 PCC, see Press Complaints
Living Together, 26–7 Commission
London, 7 Pentecostalists, 34
Poole, Dr Elizabeth, 9
Maimonides Foundation, 50 Press Association, 25
Manchester, 7 Press Complaints Commission
marriage, 21, 24, 36–7 (PCC), 11, 22, 47
Media Trust, 8, 25, 47 Press Complaints Commission
Mediawise, 48 code, 8–9, 11–12, 17, 20
Methodists, 34 Preston Muslim Media Committee,
migrant, economic, 15 27
mixed race, 15
Mohammedan, 19 Qur’an, 19, 20
Moslem, 19
mulatto, 15 Race in Media awards, 29
Muslim, 7, 9, 11, 19, 26, 27, 33 Race Relations Act 1976, 10, 47
Muslim Council of Britain, 50 Race Relations Amendment Act
Musselman, 19 2000, 10
racist groups, 25, 27
namakarna, 33 Ramadan, 24, 35, 45
National Asylum Support Service, 48 Reeves, Marc, 26, 30
National Council of Hindu Refugee Action, 48
Temples, 49 Refugee Convention 1951, 17, 18
National Health Service, 15, 21 Refugee Council, 48
National Newspaper Diversity refugees, 10, 16, 17

Index 55
religions, 7–9, 11–12, 20, 23, 32–46 Zoroastrian Trust Funds for
Religions for Peace UK, 50 Europe, 50
Roma refugees, 21 Zoroastrians, 7
Roma/Romany Gypsies, 15
Roman Catholic Church, 49
Runnymede Trust, 47

Sabbath, 20, 41
Scottish Inter Faith Council, 50
Shabbat, see Sabbath
Sharon, Ariel, 11
Sikhism, 33–4, 35, 36, 38, 41–2,
43–4, 45
Sikhs, 7
Society of Editors, 10, 28, 29, 32, 47
Southwark Alliance, 32
statistics, 21
stereotyping, 20
Stoke Sentinel, 25
Sun, 30

taboos, 23
television, 9, 14
terrorism, 11, 21
Three Faiths Forum, 50
The Times, 30
Tolerance Ltd, 51
Travellers, 15, 17–18, 19
Trinity Mirror, 26

UN High Commission for
Refugees, 48
United Nations Refugee
Convention 1951, 16
United Reformed Church, 34
United Religions Initiative, 51

weddings, 21, 24, 36–7
Williams, Jim, 24, 25
women, 21, 23
World Congress of Faiths, 51
worship, 39–41
Yorkshire Evening Post (Leeds), 25
Yorkshire Television, 28

Index 56