Armed Forces: Religions and Faiths

House of Lords written question – answered on 23rd February 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Shadow Minister (Community Cohesion), Communities and Local Government

To ask Her Majesty's Government what religions and faiths are recognised by the British Armed Forces.

Photo of Baroness Taylor of Bolton Baroness Taylor of Bolton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (International Defence and Security), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (International Defence and Security) (also in Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The Armed Forces encourage people from all faiths to practise their religious observances as far as operational and health and safety considerations allow. While religion and belief is treated as a private matter, the services place a great deal of importance on the spiritual development of their personnel. Commissioned Armed Forces chaplains are drawn from the main Christian denominations practised in the UK. The first MoD civilian chaplains to the Armed Forces from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faith communities were appointed in October 2005. The services have had an honorary officiating chaplain from the Jewish faith under long-standing arrangements, and action is underway to recruit a Jewish civilian chaplain.

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