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Faith Communities — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:59 am on 29th May 2012.

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Photo of Lord Dholakia Lord Dholakia Liberal Democrat 11:59 am, 29th May 2012

My Lords, I thank the Chief Rabbi, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, for this important debate. The Commonwealth represents many faiths; as head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty the Queen has united many nations towards a community of communities built on justice, peace and democracy. History will record Britain's transition from a colonial empire to a society based on equality and diversity as a major contribution made by Her Majesty the Queen. In her reign, we have enjoyed the longest period of stability in the United Kingdom. Equality and diversity are at the core of everything we do; despite this, we worry about our national identity. As Amartya Sen said:

"Identities are robustly plural; the importance of one need not obliterate the importance of others".

We celebrate the rights and responsibilities that come with British citizenship-the rights of all people to live in peace, to get an education and to get a job and raise a family. We now need to move towards a common citizenship. The aim must be social inclusion, tolerance, equality and a diverse society where human rights flourish. What we can all do is strengthen our resolve to be loyal to the Queen and the country.