Middle East: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 30th April 2018.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using faith-based leaders as facilitators to promote peace and reconciliation amongst the ethnic and religious communities in Syria and Iraq.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

We recognise that faith-based leaders can play a helpful role in promoting peace and reconciliation amongst the diverse ethnic and religious communities of Syria and Iraq. We regularly engage with faith leaders and faith-based Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in the UK and the MENA region to discuss the situation of religious communities.

In Syria through our Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, we are supporting projects to promote community cohesion and dialogue between different ethnic and religious groups. However the ongoing violent conflict and displacement of Syrians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds throughout Syria, the region and beyond makes this work particularly challenging.

In Iraq, we are supporting Prime Minister Abadi and the Government of Iraq in its efforts to deliver the reforms and reconciliation needed to rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and unite all Iraqis against extremism.

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