Seema Malhotra MP, the Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, has written to Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, to ask why funding has been withdrawn from the UK’s largest organisation supporting interfaith dialogue and action.
For almost four decades, Inter Faith Network UK (IFN) has been dedicated to increasing understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths and growing public awareness of the distinct religious traditions in the UK. IFN also supports hundreds of member bodies, including Hounslow Friends of Faith.
IFN has been supported by annual grants from the Government of at least £220,000 for the past decade.
But this year, the Government withdrew all funding from IFN with little notice, putting the future of the charity and its member bodies at risk.
Seema Malhotra MP said:
“Our experience in Hounslow has shown the vital contribution of interfaith dialogue and action in modern Britain, with Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist places of worship, as well as many people of other faiths and no faith. It’s important we build understanding and knowledge of one another – it’s what lets us work together and celebrate each other’s festivals and religious occasions.”
“I’ve seen how Hounslow Friends of Faith brings our communities together in dialogue and action that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Every year they organise an Interfaith Walk, so members of the public can visit different places of worship and experience some of the richness and variety of local faith communities.”
“In a time when it’s more vital than ever before to increase connection and understanding between our diverse communities, it’s concerning that the Government has made this funding cut without planning for the continued need to promote interfaith dialogue and action.”