Religion in Britain
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Religion in Britain Religion in Britain

                       Реферат по лингвострановедению

                             Religion in Britain

                                              Выполнил: студентка IV курса

                                              Пискарева Т.В.
                                              Проверил:  к.п.н., Кулагина



Introduction                                                 3
The Church of England                                   4-10
The Other Christian Churches                                 10-13
Other Religions                                              13-18
Conclusion                                              19
Literature                                                   20


      Barely 16 per cent of the adult population of Britain belongs  to  one
of the Christian churches, and this proportion  continues  to  decline.  Yet
the regional variation is revealing. In England only  12  per  cent  of  the
adult population are members of a  church.  The  further  one  travels  from
London, however, the greater the  attendance:  in  Wales  22  per  cent,  in
Scotland 36 per cent and in Northern Ireland no fewer than 75 per cent.
      Today there is complete freedom of practice, regardless of religion or
sect. However, until the mid-nineteenth century, those who  did  not  belong
to the Church of England, the official 'established' or state  church,  were
barred from some public  offices.  The  established  church  still  plays  a
powerful role in national life, in spite of the relatively  few  people  who
are active members of it.

                            The Church of England

      There are two established or state churches in Britain: the Church  of
England, or Anglican Church  as  it  is  also  called,  and  the  Church  of
Scotland, or 'Kirk'. In 1533 the English king, Henry VIII, broke  away  from
Rome and declared himself head of the Church  in  England.  His  reason  was
political: the Pope's refusal to allow him to  divorce  his  wife,  who  had
failed to produce a son. Apart from this administrative  break,  the  Church
at first remained more Catholic than Protestant. However,  during  the  next
two centuries when religion was a  vital  political  issue  in  Europe,  the
Church of England became more Protestant in belief as well as  organization.

      Ever since 1534 the monarch has been Supreme Governor of the Church of
England. No one may take the throne who is not a member  of  the  Church  of
England. For any Protestant this would be unlikely to be  a  problem,  since
the Church of England already includes a wide variety of Protestant  belief.
However, if the monarch or the next in line to the throne decided  to  marry
a Roman Catholic or a divorcee, this might cause  a  constitutional  crisis.
It has always been understood that  if  such  a  marriage  went  ahead,  the
monarch or heir would have to give up their claim  to  the  throne,  and  to
being Supreme Governor of the Church. In 1936  Edward  VIII,  who  had  only
just succeeded to the throne, abdicated in order to marry a divorcee.  Today
it is more likely that the monarch or heir would marry the person he or  she
loved, and would renounce the title of Supreme Governor of  the  Church.  It
might pose a constitutional crisis, but is less likely to  be  one  for  the
Church. The senior Anglican cleric, the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  crowns
the monarch but  if  the  monarch  renounced  Supreme  Governorship  of  the
Church, this ceremony might be abandoned or radically changed.
      As  Head  of  the  Church  of  England,  the  monarch   appoints   the
archbishops, bishops and deans of the Church, on the recommendation  of  the
Prime Minister, who might well not be an Anglican. The Prime Minister  makes
a recommendation from two nominee  candidates,  put  forward  by  a  special
Crown Appointments Commission (composed of bishops, clergy and  lay  members
of the Church). All Anglican clergy must take an oath of allegiance  to  the
Crown, a difficult proposition for any priest who is a republican at  heart.
Thus Church and Crown in England are closely entwined, with mutual bonds  of
      The most senior spiritual leaders of the Church  of  England  are  the
Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  who  is  'Primate  of  All  England',  and  the
Archbishop of York, who is 'Primate of England'. They are head  of  the  two
ecclesiastical provinces of England, Canterbury  and  York.  Both  provinces
are divided into dioceses, each under a bishop.  Canterbury  is  the  larger
province, containing 30 dioceses, while York contains only  14.  The  choice
of Canterbury and York is historical. Canterbury is the  site  of  where  St
Augustine reestablished the Christian church in England at the  end  of  the
sixth century. The see of York was founded in the early seventh  century  by
an envoy of St  Augustine  to  this  capital  of  Northumbria.  (The  Celtic
churches which survived in Ireland and Scotland were  well  established  two
centuries earlier.)
      The senior bishops are those of London,  Durham  and  Winchester,  but
there is no guarantee of promotion according  to  seniority.  George  Carey,
for example, the present (103rd) Archbishop, was previously Bishop  of  Bath
and Wells, no longer considered a senior bishopric. Because  of  the  growth
in  population,  some  bishops  are  assisted  by  deputies  assigned  to  a
geographical part of  the  diocese.  These  are  'suffragan'  bishops.  Each
diocese is composed of parishes, the basic unit of  the  Church's  ministry.
Each parish has a vicar, or sometimes a team of vicars, if it includes  more
than one church.
      The Archbishop of Canterbury is head of the Anglican 'Communion'. This
Communion is composed of the various independent churches which  have  grown
out of the Church of England in various parts of the world. In fact  England
accounts for only two of  the  28  provinces  of  the  Anglican  Church.  In
theory, about 40 per cent of the English might say they were members of  the
Church of England. Far fewer  ever  actually  attend  church  and  only  one
million regularly attend, a drop of over 13 per cent since 1988. It is  also
a small proportion of  the  70  million  active  Anglicans  worldwide.  More
Nigerians, for example, than English are regular attenders of  the  Anglican
Church. Within the worldwide Anglican Communion are some famous people,  for
example Desmond Tutu,  head  of  South  Africa's  Truth  and  Reconciliation
Commission and once Archbishop of Cape Town. It is said  that  most  of  the
'ruling establishment' of Washington belong to  the  Episcopal  Church,  the
Anglican Church of the United States. The  Scottish  Episcopal  Church,  the
Church in Wales and the Church  of  Ireland  are  members  of  the  Anglican
Communion but are not 'established' churches and  have  memberships  of  not
more than about 100,000 each.
      Once in every 10 years the Archbishop of Canterbury  invites  all  the
bishops of the Anglican Communion to a conference at Lambeth  in  London  to
exchange views and debate issues of concern. Rather  like  the  Commonwealth
Conference, the Lambeth Conference provides an opportunity  for  the  sister
churches from every continent to meet and  share  their  different  concerns
and perspectives.
      The Church of England is frequently considered to be a 'broad'  church
because it includes a wide variety of  belief  and  practice.  Traditionally
there have been two poles in membership, the  Evangelicals  and  the  Anglo-
Catholics. The Evangelicals, who have  become  proportionately  stronger  in
recent years, give greater emphasis to basing all faith and practice on  the
Bible.  There  are  over  one  million  British  evangelicals  of  different
Protestant  churches  belonging  to  an  umbrella  group,  the   Evangelical
Alliance. The Anglo-Catholics give greater weight to  Church  tradition  and
Catholic practices, and do not feel the same level of disagreement  as  many
Evangelicals concerning the teaching and practices  of  the  Roman  Catholic
Church. There is an  uneasy  relationship  between  the  two  wings  of  the
Church, which sometimes breaks into open hostility.
      Yet most Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics are united in  their  deeper
dislike of the liberal theologians within the Church of England. These  have
challenged the literal validity of several beliefs of the Church,  and  have
argued that reinterpretation must constantly take place, partly as a  result
of  recent  biblical  scholarship,  but  also  because  they  maintain  that
theological understanding changes as society  itself  changes  and  develops
over the years. In that sense, one can divide the Church  of  England  in  a
different way, into conservatives and modernists. It is  estimated  that  80
per cent of the Church of England are of  evangelical  persuasion,  and  the
balance is divided almost equally between Anglo-Catholics and liberals.
      However, a large number of  church-goers  either  feel  no  particular
loyalty to any of these  traditions,  or  feel  more  comfortable  somewhere
between these poles. Since most bishops are theologians,  the  liberals  are
more strongly represented among the bishops than  sheer  numbers  in  church
membership justifies.
      The Church of England is above all things a church of  compromise.  It
is, in the words of one journalist, 'a Church where there has  traditionally
been space on the pew for heretics and unbelievers, doubters and  sceptics'.
It takes a long  view  and  distrusts  zealous  theological  or  ideological
certainty. It prefers to live  with  disagreements  of  belief  rather  than
apply authoritarian decisions. It fudges issues where it can,  to  keep  its
broad body of believers together. Most of its members  are  happy  with  the
arrangement. In that sense the Church of England is  profoundly  typical  of
the English  character.  It  distrusts  the  rigid  logic  of  a  particular
tradition of theology and prefers the illogical but practical atmosphere  of
'live and let live' within a broader church climate. Consequently  there  is
always a concern to ensure that all wings  of  the  Church  are  represented
among the bishops, and that those appointed as archbishops shall be  neither
too controversial in their theology, nor too  committed  to  one  particular
wing of the Church as to be unacceptable to others.
      The Church is  governed  by  its  bishops.  In  that  sense  it  is  a
hierarchical organization. Nevertheless its regulating and legislative  body
is the General Synod, made up of three 'Houses', the House  of  Bishops  (53
diocesan and suffragan bishops), the House of  Clergy  (259  representatives
of the clergy) and the House of Laity (258 representatives  of  lay  members
of the Church). The General Synod meets twice  yearly  with  two  functions:
(1) to consider matters concerning the Church of England, and  to  take  any
necessary steps for its effective operation; (2)  to  consider  and  express
its opinion on any matters of religious or  public  interest.  In  order  to
reach agreement on any issue, General Synod  requires  a  majority  in  each
House, in the words of one religious  commentator,  'a  clumsy  and  largely
ineffective cross between a parliament and a  democracy.  It  is  a  typical
Anglican compromise.'
      This  has  been  particularly  true  in  the  two  areas  of  greatest
controversy within the Church since the mid-1980s: the ordination  of  women
and of homosexuals  (and  the  acceptance  of  homosexuals  already  in  the
priesthood).  In  both  cases  the  modernists  are   ranged   against   the
conservatives. After  a  long  and  often  contentious  debate,  the  Church
finally accepted the ordination  of  women  in  1992,  and  the  first  were
ordained in 1994, long after the practice had been adopted  in  other  parts
of the Anglican Communion. Some 200 clergy, fewer than  expected,  chose  to
leave the Church of England rather than  accept  women  priests.  They  were
almost all Anglo-Catholic.  While  great  passion  was  aroused  among  some
clergy and lay people on this issue, the large majority of church-goers  did
not feel strongly enough, either way, to force a decision.  It  is  unlikely
that any woman will become a bishop for some years.  Having  accepted  women
priests, a fresh controversy arose over the question of homosexuality  with,
if anything, even greater vehemence. This  time  the  contest  is  primarily
between modernists and evangelicals, but the essence of the  debate  is  the
same: biblical and traditional values versus contemporary social  ones.  The
director general of the Evangelical Alliance claims that 'a vast  number  of
churches stand by 2,000 years of biblical   analysis  which  concludes  that
homosexual sex is outside the will  and  purpose  of  God'.  The  modernists
argue that it is ludicrous to pick  one  out  of  many  culturally  specific
prohibitions in the Old Testament, and that a  judgmental  posture  excludes
Christians who quite sincerely  have  a  different  sexual  orientation  and
perspective from heterosexuals. Modernists say the church should listen  and
learn from them. It is a controversy likely to persist well into the twenty-
first century.
      The Church of England was traditionally  identified  with  the  ruling
establishment and with authority, but it has  been  distancing  itself  over
the past 25 years or so,  and  may  eventually  disengage  from  the  state.
'Disestablishment', as this is known, becomes a topic  for  discussion  each
time the Church and state clash over some issue. Since 1979 the  Church  has
been ready to criticize aspects of official social policy.
      Nevertheless,   the   Church   of   England   remains   overwhelmingly
conventional and middle class in its social composition, having been  mainly
middle and upper class in character since the  Industrial  Revolution.  Most
working-class people in England and Wales who are religious  belong  to  the
nonconformist or 'Free' Churches, while  others  have  joined  the  Catholic
Church in the past 140 years.
      Because of its position, the Anglican Church  has  inherited  a  great
legacy of ancient cathedrals and parish churches. It is caught  between  the
value of these magnificent buildings as places of worship, and the  enormous
cost of their upkeep. The state provides about 10 per cent of  the  cost  of
maintaining the fabric of historic churches.

                        The other Christian churches

      The Free or nonconformist churches  are  distinguished  by  having  no
bishops, or 'episcopacy', and they all admit both women  and  men  to  their
ministry. The main ones today are: the Methodist Union (400,000  full  adult
members); the Baptists (150,000); the United Reformed Church  (110,000)  and
the Salvation Army (50,000). These all tend towards  strong  evangelicalism.
In the case of the Methodists and Baptists, there are also smaller  splinter
groups. In addition there are a considerable number of smaller  sects.  Most
of these churches are, like the Anglicans, in numerical decline.
      In Scotland the Church, or  Kirk,  vehemently  rejected  the  idea  of
bishops, following a more Calvinist Protestant tradition. Its  churches  are
plain. There is no altar, only a table, and the emphasis is on  the  pulpit,
where the Gospel is preached. The Kirk is more democratic than the  Anglican
Church. Although each kirk is assigned a minister, it also  elects  its  own
'elders'. The minister and one of these elders represent  the  kirk  at  the
regional presbytery. Each of the 46  presbyteries  of  Scotland  elects  two
commissioners to represent  it  at  the  principal  governing  body  of  the
Church, the General Assembly.  Each  year  the  commissioners  meet  in  the
General Assembly, and elect a Moderator to chair the  General  Assembly  for
that year. Unlike the Church of England, the Church of Scotland  is  subject
neither to the Crown nor to Parliament, and takes pride in its  independence
from state authority, for which it fought in the sixteenth  and  seventeenth
centuries. In keeping with its democratic nature, it admits  women  as  well
as men to the ministry.
      Among all these Protestant churches, but particularly among the larger
English ones, there has been  a  recent  important  development  called  the
'house church' movement. This began in the 1970s and  has  a  membership  of
roughly 90,000, although attendance  is  far  higher.  This  movement  is  a
network of autonomous 'churches' of usually not more  than  100  members  in
each. These churches meet, usually in groups of 15 or 20, in members’  homes
for worship and prayer meetings. Most of those joining such  groups  are  in
the 20-40 year-old age range and belong to the professional  middle  classes
- solicitors, doctors and so forth - who have felt frustrated with the  more
ponderous style of the larger churches. They  try  to  recapture  what  they
imagine was the vitality of the early church. But it is  doubtful  how  long
these house churches will last. If  they  are  anything  like  some  of  the
revivalist sects of the nineteenth century, they in  their  turn  will  lose
their vitality, and discontented members may return to  the  churches  which
their  predecessors  left,  or  drift  away  from   the   Christian   church
      The Protestant churches of Britain undoubtedly owe part of the revival
taking place in some evangelical  churches  to  the  vitality  of  the  West
Indian churches. West Indian immigrants in the  1950s  and  1960s  were  not
welcomed into  Anglican  churches,  and  many  decided  to  form  their  own
churches. Their music and informal joyfulness of worship spread  quickly  in
evangelical circles. As Philip Mohabir, a West Indian, describes:

      Congregations that would have been cold, dull and  boring,  would  now
sing to guitar music, clap their hands, and  even  play  tambourines.  Those
were things that only West Indian churches did... . Now people  would  raise
their hands in the air and clap and even dance. English, white,  evangelical
Christians dancing and clapping their hands, praising God.  That  in  itself
is a miracle we West Indian Christians never thought would happen.

      The Roman Catholic Church only returned to Britain in 1850. During the
preceding 300 years the few Catholic families, which refused to  accept  the
new Church, were popularly viewed as less than wholeheartedly  English.  The
English Protestant prejudice that to be Catholic is to be not  quite  wholly
English only really disappeared in the 1960s.
      The Roman Catholic Church grew rapidly after 1850, particularly  among
the industrial working class. By the mid-1980s  it  had  about  5.7  million
members, of whom 1.4 million were regular attenders. By the  mid-1990s  this
had fallen to 1.1  million  attenders,  a  decline  of  over  17  per  cent.
Alongside growing secularism in society, many have left the Catholic  Church
because of its authoritarian conservatism,  particularly  in  the  field  of
sexual mores. It is estimated that attendance will barely exceed 600,000  by
the year 2005. The Catholic Church in  England  is  composed  of  four  main
strands: immigrants from Ireland; working-class  people  in  deprived  areas
among whom Catholic effort was concentrated in  the  nineteenth  century;  a
few upper-class families; and finally middle-class converts, for  example  a
bishop of London and two government ministers  who  all  left  the  Anglican
church and became Catholics over the Anglican ordination of women  in  1992.
The senior English cleric is the Archbishop of Westminster.
      All the formal churches are in numerical decline. Each time there is a
census of church attendance and membership,  the  numbers  in  almost  every
church have fallen. In 1970 there were an estimated 8.6  million  practising
Christians. By 1994 the figure had fallen to 6.5 million. At Christmas,  the
major festival, perhaps 5 million  will  attend  church,  but  on  a  normal
Sunday it is barely half this  figure.  One  must  conclude  that  numerical
decline will probably continue in an age when people feel no  apparent  need
for organized religion. But the decline  may  not  be  as  dramatic  as  the
figures suggest. Many church-goers have ceased to be regular simply  because
they often go away at weekends. Within the Church the  debate  is  bound  to
continue between the modernists who wish to reinterpret  religion  according
to the values of the age they live in, and conservatives who believe  it  is
precisely the supernatural elements, which attract  people  in  the  age  of
      On the national stage the Church has made its greatest mark in  recent
years in the area of social justice. In 1985 the Church of England  produced
a report, Faith in the City: A Call for Action by Church and  Nation,  which
examined inner-city deprivation and decline, and recommended  measures  both
by church and state to reverse the  trends.  The  Roman  Catholic  and  Free
Churches showed similar concern  at  increased  social  deprivation  in  the
1980s. Today the Church is no  longer  seen  as  an  integral  part  of  the
establishment but as possibly its most formidable critic.

      Besides these 'orthodox' churches which accept  the  doctrine  of  the
Trinity, there are others which have their own  specific  beliefs,  and  are
consequently viewed as outside orthodoxy. The Mormon Church which is  strong
in the United States, has doubled its membership to  about  200,000  in  the
past 20 years. Other non-Trinitarian churches have also grown,  part  of  an
alternative form of spirituality which has been attractive  to  many  people
since the 1960s.

                               Other religions

      Apart from Christianity, there are at least five other religions  with
a substantial number of adherents in Britain. These are usually composed  of
either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.
      The oldest is the Jewish community, which now numbers barely  300,000,
of whom fewer than half ever attend synagogue and  only  80,000  are  actual
synagogue members. Today the Jewish  community  in  Britain  is  ageing  and
shrinking, on account of assimilation and a relatively low birth  rate,  and
is in rapid decline. A survey in 1996 revealed that 44 per  cent  of  Jewish
men under the age of 40 are married to  or  are  living  with  a  non-Jewish
      Between 20 and 25 per cent of Jewish women  in  this  age  range  also
marry outside the community. Even  so,  it  is  the  second  largest  Jewish
community in Western Europe. Two-thirds of the  community  live  in  London,
with another 9,000 or so in Manchester and Leeds respectively,  and  another
6,000 in Brighton.
      Jews returned to England  in  the  seventeenth  century,  after  their
previous expulsion in the thirteenth century. At first those  who  returned,
were Sephardic, that is, originally from Spain and Portugal, but during  the
last years of the  nineteenth  century  and  first  half  of  the  twentieth
century a more substantial number of Ashkenazi (Germanic and East  European)
Jews, fleeing persecution, arrived. Ashkenazis form 70 per cent  of  British
      As a result of these two separate origins, and  as  a  result  of  the
growth of Progressive Judaism (the Reform and Liberal  branches),  the  Jews
are  divided  into  different   religious   groups.   The   largest   group,
approximately 120,000, are Orthodox and belong  to  the  United  Synagogues.
They look to the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain for  spiritual  leadership.  A
much smaller number  of  Sephardic  Orthodox  still  recognize  a  different
leader, the Haham. The two Progressive groups, the Reform and Liberal  Jews,
which roughly equate with the broad church and modernists  of  the  Anglican
Church, have no acknowledged single leader, but they do  have  a  number  of
rabbis who command a following among those  who  admire  their  wisdom.  The
Progressives account for 17 per cent of the entire  community.  Thirty-seven
per cent of Jews claim no religious affiliation at all.
      There  is  also  a  Board  of  Deputies  of  British  Jews,  the   lay
representation of Anglo-Jewry  since  1760,  to  which  250  synagogues  and
organizations in Britain elect  representatives.  It  speaks  on  behalf  of
British Jewry on a wide variety  of  matters,  but  its  degree  of  genuine
representation is qualified in two ways: fewer than half of  Britain's  Jews
belong to the  electing  synagogues  and  organizations;  and  none  of  the
community's more eminent members belongs to the Board. In fact many  leading
members of the community are often uneasy with the position the Board  takes
on issues.
      As in the Christian church, the fundamentalist part of Jewry seems  to
grow compared with other groups, especially  among  the  young,  and  causes
similar discomfort for those who do not  share  its  certainties  and  legal
observances. The most obvious  concentrations  of  orthodox  Jews,  who  are
distinguishable by their dress, are in the north London suburbs  of  Golders
Green and Stamford Hill.

      There are also more recently  established  religious  groups:  Hindus,
Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims. The most  important  of  these,  not  only  on
account of its size, is the Muslim community. There are 1.5 million  Muslims
and over 1,000 mosques and prayer centres, of which the most  important  (in
all Western Europe) is the London Central Mosque  at  Regent's  Park.  There
are probably 900,000 Muslims who regularly attend these  mosques.  Most  are
of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, but there are also an increasing  number
of  British  converts.  Apart  from  London,  there  are   sizeable   Muslim
communities  in  Liverpool,  Manchester,  Leicester,  Birmingham,  Bradford,
Cardiff, Edinburgh and  Glasgow.  Islam  gives  coherence  and  a  sense  of
community to people of different  ethnic  origins.  It  also  gives  Britain
informal lines of communication with several Muslim countries.
      During the past  quarter  century,  since  large  numbers  of  Muslims
arrived in Britain, there has been  a  tension  between  those  Muslims  who
sought an accommodation between  Islam  and  Western  secular  society,  one
might call them modernists, and those who have wanted to uphold  traditional
Islamic values even when  these  directly  conflicted  with  secular  social
values. The tension has been made worse by the racism Asian Muslims feel  in
British society. Until 1989 it might be said that  those  Muslims  who  were
relatively successful economically and socially were the prevailing  example
of how Muslims could live successfully in the West. However,  in  1988  many
Muslims were deeply offended by the publication  of  Salman  Rushdie's  book
The Satanic Verses, which they considered to be blasphemous.
      Many Muslims were offended by the reaction they saw from the  rest  of
society and from government. The blasphemy law, mainly  on  account  of  its
age, only  applied  to  Christianity,  so  they  were  unable  to  prosecute
Rushdie. But perhaps what they found  most  offensive  was  the  patronising
attitude of non-Muslim liberals, who  lectured  them  on  the  values  of  a
democratic society in a way which was  dismissive  of  Muslim  identity  and
feeling. Muslims found themselves in conflict with those who had  previously
been perceived  as  their  friends,  those  of  the  secular  left  who  had
championed immigrant rights and most strongly opposed racism.
      After the Rushdie affair other  external  factors  also  stimulated  a
Muslim revival, including the Gulf War (1991)  and  also  the  suffering  of
Bosnian Muslims (1994-6).
      Within the British Muslim community as a whole, which like Jewish  and
Christian communities, is  divided  into  different  sects  and  traditions,
modernists lost  influence  to  traditionalist  leaders.  Mosque  attendance
increased and religious  observance  became  an  outward  symbol  of  Muslim
assertion. In  1985  only  about  20  per  cent  of  Muslims  were  actually
religiously observant. By 1995 that figure had risen to about 50 per cent.
      Yet the Islam of young British Muslims is different from that of their
parents. It is less grounded in the culture  of  the  countries  from  which
their parents  came.  Young  Muslims  come  from  several  different  ethnic
origins but they all share their religion  and  their  British  culture  and
      This is leading to a 'Britain-specific' form of Islam. As a result, in
the words of one religious affairs journalist, 'For every child  who  drifts
into the moral relativism of contemporary Western  values,  another  returns
home with a belief in a revitalised form of Islam.  Many  parents  find  the
second just as difficult to come to terms with as the first.'
      British Islam is sufficiently vibrant that a Muslim paper, Q-News, now
appears regularly. One of its editors is  a  woman,  Fozia  Bora,  itself  a
statement on the relatively liberal culture of British Islam. Indeed, a  new
sense of self-confidence emerged out of the initial  feeling  of  alienation
over The Satanic Verses. It is partly  self-assertion  against  anti-Islamic
prejudice, but it  is  also  the  comfort  felt  in  a  relatively  tolerant
environment. Fozia Bora believes that 'Britain is a good  place  be  Muslim.
There is a tradition of religious and intellectual freedom.' In the  opinion
of Dr Zaki Badawi, one of Britain's foremost Muslims, 'Britain is  the  best
place in the world to be a Muslim – most Muslim  states  are  tyrannies  and
things are harder elsewhere in Europe.'
      Anti-Islamic feeling, however, remains a factor in racial tensions  in
Britain. In the words of the Runnymede Trust,  which  concerns  itself  with
race relations, 'Islamophobic discourse, sometimes  blatant  but  frequently
subtle and coded, is part of the fabric of everyday life in modern  Britain,
in much the same way that  anti-Semitic  discourse  was  taken  for  granted
earlier this century.'
      There are other areas of Muslim frustration. Some want  Muslim  family
law to be recognised within British law, a measure which would allow  Muslim
communities in Britain to follow an entirely separate lifestyle governed  by
their own laws. Others want state-supported Muslim schools, where  children,
particularly girls,  may  receive  a  specifically  Muslim  education  in  a
stricter moral atmosphere than exists in secular state  schools.  The  state
already provides such funding for  Anglican,  Catholic  and  Jewish  schools
within the state system. It was only in 1997 that the  first  Muslim  school
obtained financial support from the state.
      Smaller communities include about 450,000 Sikhs who  mainly  originate
in  the  Indian  Punjab.  They  live  mainly  in  London,   Manchester   and
Birmingham. There are over 200 gurdwaras or temples in  Britain.  There  are
about 320,000 Hindus living mainly  in  Leicester,  London  and  Manchester.
There are about 150  mandirs  in  which  Hindus  worship,  the  largest,  in
Neasden, north-west London, is also the largest outside India.


      From this report we can see that there are two  established  or  state
churches in Britain: the Church of England, or  Anglican  Church  as  it  is
also called, and the Church of Scotland, or 'Kirk'.
      Besides these 'orthodox' churches which accept  the  doctrine  of  the
Trinity, there are others which have their own  specific  beliefs,  and  are
consequently viewed as outside orthodoxy.
      Apart from Christianity, there are at least five other religions  with
a substantial number of adherents in Britain. These are usually composed  of
either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.
      Outsiders sometimes see possible tensions  between  one  religion  and
another. They are less aware of  the  often  greater  tensions  within  each
religion or sect between  conservatives  and  liberals.  In  many  religious
groups there is a conservative wing which has little time for,  or  interest
in,  other  religions  and  which  disapproves  of  its  own   liberal   co-
religionists. By contrast, these liberals usually welcome dialogue and  warm
relations between religions, and enjoy the rich pluralism of  a  multi-faith
society. But  regardless  of  viewpoint,  most  people  in  Britain  whether
religious or not, consider the matter of faith to be a private and  personal


   1. Павлоцкий, В.М. Знакомимся с Британией. – Спб: Базис, 2000 – 415с.
   2. Левашова, В.А. Britain Today: Life and Institutions. – М.: ИНФРА-М,
      2001. – 216 с.
   3. Литвинов, С.В. Великобритания. Экзаменационные темы и тесты: Пособие
      для старшеклассников и абитуриентов. – М.: АРКТИ, 2001. – 144с.
   4. David McDowall. Britain in close-up. An in-depth study of contemporary
      Britain. – Edinburgh: Longman, 2001 – 208pp.

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