How faith groups are coming together to deal with the welfare crisis


by guest
28th October, 2010 at 12:39 pm    

by Alex Goldberg and Asim Siddiqui

Some of the UK’s largest faith organisations have been having crisis management meetings discussions this week as they begin to explore the full impact of the public spending review is felt.

Religious communities have historically provided social care and education services and in the last few decades have been doing this increasingly in partnership with the welfare state, working with it on cradle to grave provision.

There is a real sense that the impact of the review will lead to an increase on demand for their care services as unemployment and social need rises whilst diminishing public resources for their work are cut.

Social provision provided by faith communities works in the following way: charities take on public service contracts (in the same way as other private bodies) to deliver individual care plans to those entitled to it and other services outsourced by the state.

In turn, these services and the care facilities that deliver them are massively subsidised through private donations worth millions of pounds, not to mention millions of volunteer hours. This partnership between the state and faith services is lauded by politicians across the political divide.

One former Government Minister jested “You faith people do it better and cheaper. I suspect you think you will get your reward in the life to come”. Perhaps.

The crisis will be massive: one large Jewish organisation was claiming at a conference this week that the public spending review would mean 25% cut in funding and replacing that sum overnight by private donations is a difficult task. The Government is offering a large transition fund for all service providers but this will simply buy time for organisations to make what will amount to painful changes in increasingly difficult economic times.

This is not a crisis unique to Britain. Protests on the streets of France are another response to the faltering global situation and the impact can be felt across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

It is therefore timely that the Buncher Foundation in conjunction with the two largest Jewish and Muslim networks in Europe (JDC and CEDAR) are promoting the first ICCD-JDC International Abrahamic Forum on Community Services at Lambeth Palace this week.

Muslim, Jewish and Christian social care service providers from across the country will take part. The conference has been months in the planning but social service directors from the three faiths from across Europe and the Middle East will be meeting to discuss ways in which the economic crisis is impacting on elderly care and youth at risk services.

Part of the conference aims to bring in microfinance specialist and transfer some of the knowledge learnt from programmes in Bangladesh and India to Paris and London. It will also seek to learn how different communities can work together to build capacity.

The conference comes at a time of reflection and all eyes will be on Lord Wei, the Government Adviser on the Big Society will address participants. As the state shrinks, the traditional care providers will be forced to fill the vacuum created but in an increasingly multi-religious and multi-cultural society the challenge is how we can do this together.

No doubt there will be ideas raised this week around creating joint-training programmes, building capacity across communities, sharing know-how and how to work together in localities. This echoes the thoughts of Maimonides, a 13th century philosopher, who is important to Jews and Muslims alike. He said charity starts in your street, then your city etc.

In otherwords, he was saying that civil society should work locally and it is all our responsibility to provide welfare. He believed also that welfare commitments should be shown to those from other faith communities as it promoted peaceful communities.

Had he wanted to brand this idea into a simple three word title, he might have well summed up this idea as ‘The Big Society’!


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : How faith groups are coming together to deal with the welfare crisis http://bit.ly/aIzckQ


  2. Tim Whale

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  5. Leon Green

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  6. Leon Green

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  7. Kristine Pommert

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  8. Hazico_Jo

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  9. Rick

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  1. Sofia — on 29th October, 2010 at 12:38 pm  

    ‘This is not a crisis unique to Britain. Protests on the streets of France are another response to the faltering global situation’
    Erm this is mostly about a raise in pension ages by 2 years. The french don’t need an excuse to strike, it’s in their blood. Anyone who’s lived there more than a month will probably have come across a bloomin strike.

    So who’s going to fund this BS idea then?

  2. Kisan — on 29th October, 2010 at 6:17 pm  

    “This echoes the thoughts of Maimonides, a 13th century philosopher, who is important to Jews and Muslims alike.”

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Maimonides.html
    He was born in Spain shortly before the fanatical Muslim Almohades came to power there.
    To avoid persecution by the Muslim sect — which was wont to offer Jews and Christians the choice of conversion to Islam or death — Maimonides fled with his family, first to Morocco, later to Israel, and finally to Egypt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almohad_Caliphate#Religious_fundamentalism
    The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids’ Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147,[1] far surpassed the Almoravids in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis (non-Muslims) harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, most Jews and Christians emigrated.[2] A few, like the family of Maimonides, eventually fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands,[3] while most of them went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.[4][5]

    Just as under Muslim rule in Spain Jews faced brutal persecution in that fabled era of religious tolerance meanwhile in Yemen the Jews were also facing similar forced conversions and atrocities. Writing to a fellow Jew in Yemen in his Epistle to Yemen Maimonides wrote:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Epistle_to_Yemen/Complete
    After him arose the Madman who emulated his precursor since he paved the way for him. But he added the further objective of procuring rule and submission, and he invented his well known religion.

    Maimonides was an Islamophobe (with good reason) and traced the intolerance of Islam back to its “Prophet”, a Madman who had founded a religion with the “objective of procuring rule and submission”.

    Exactly how this philosopher is as important to Muslims alike as Jews is unclear other than in a propagandist fluffy reworking of issues for ‘Abrahamic’ religions type usage.

    Do they have these Abrahamic type of conventions in Muslim ruled countries also?
    Obviously not in Saudi Arabia which outlaws any other religion than Islam as per Prophet Muhammad’s wishes on cleansing Arabia of any other religion (including the Abrahamic ones)

  3. Don — on 29th October, 2010 at 6:52 pm  

    Religious charities taking charge of welfare. Nothing but good could come of that.

  4. earwicga — on 29th October, 2010 at 8:16 pm  

    Absolutely Don. Peter Tyrrell comes to mind immediately.

  5. Wasim — on 29th October, 2010 at 10:36 pm  

    Kisan
    “He was born in Spain shortly before the fanatical Muslim Almohades came to power there.
    To avoid persecution by the Muslim sect — which was wont to offer Jews and Christians the choice of conversion to Islam or death — Maimonides fled with his family, first to Morocco, later to Israel, and finally to Egypt. ”

    Wow he lived in the 13th century but fled to a country (Israel) that wasnt invented till the 20th century? Amazing guy.

    Why on earth did he flee to Muslim countries (Morocco /Egypt) and not to European Christian ones to partake in the “Jewish-Christian civilization” we keep hearing right-wingers go on about?

  6. John Christopher — on 30th October, 2010 at 1:17 am  

    My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She has paid in full all of her taxes from day one. I am now her one and only full time carer. Our housing benefit was almost halved the start of October. Neither of us had anything to do with bringing this country to the brink. So why the fuck are people like us, the weak, the sick, the lame, the working poor and the not so working poor and the plain unemployed being forced to pay for a bill not of our own making? Why are WE being forced to pick up somebody else bar tab. Why are we being blamed for the stupidity of a couple of corporate piss headz in the Square Mile and Wall Street? From where we stand, cancer is a awful lot better than the average corporate banker. I sincerely hope that one day, they all burn in hell..

  7. Kamal — on 30th October, 2010 at 2:25 am  

    Kisan interesting you defend Maimondes, a racist who said that blacks were nearer animals than humans. Says much about you.

  8. Kamal — on 30th October, 2010 at 2:57 am  

    “The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion refers to Moses Maimonides, a.k.a. Rambam, as “the symbol of the pure and orthodox faith.” His Guide of the Perplexed is considered the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy, but his view of Blacks was Hitlerian:

    The Negroes found in the remote South, and those who resemble them from among them
    that are with us in these climes. The status of those is like that of irrational animals. To my mind they do not have the rank of men, but have among the beings a rank lower than the rank of man but higher than the rank of apes. For they have the external shape and lineaments of a man and a faculty of discernment that is superior to that of the apes.”

  9. Kisan — on 30th October, 2010 at 3:50 am  

    #5, Israel I believe wasn’t invented back in 1947 but goes thousands of years as a geographic area.
    Why he went to Muslim countries rather than Christian may be because of his Arabic skills and his employment options in the Muslim kingdoms which had less fanaticism going on at the time than in Spain and Yemen and also the fact that many of those Christian kingdoms were also very bigoted against Jews. That however didn’t stop the majority of Jews going there instead though.

    #7, Using your “logic” I guess that’d make the authors of this article (and even this website) promoting Maimonides “racists” too as they’re pushing him as a guru in ‘civil society’ ideas.

    Personally I wouldn’t necessarily endorse anything he said on anything else but would concur with his views on Muhammad founding a religion based on “procuring rule and submission”.

  10. Kisan — on 30th October, 2010 at 3:54 am  

    Personally I think if all religious groups had their tax exempt status reduced it’d be better. Government is far better at creating social justice outcomes than religions using charity as tools to enhance their influence and p.r goals.

  11. John Christopher — on 30th October, 2010 at 11:19 am  

    Kisan, I’m tempted to agree with you, me being Catholic but my gut feeling and my present circumstances dictate to me different. What THIS government is now doing is as close to an immoral act as the illegal invasion of Iraq. If we the people don’t respond in kind, then good people like my wife will suffer and that my friend simply cannot be right! The ConDems represent a new kind of evil in this country which require a new kind of moral response to defeat it. A broad based moral response, inclusive of ALL good people whether inside or outside the body of the religion. This can ONLY be a good thing….

  12. Kamal — on 30th October, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

    Kisan
    “Personally I wouldn’t necessarily endorse anything he said on anything else but would concur with his views on Muhammad founding a religion based on “procuring rule and submission”.”

    LOL Says it all really , about the extent of your anti-Muslim obsession and hatred. Dont worry you’ll find many kindred spirits on here. When’s the next EDL march? Are you upset that Katie Price has condemned you?

  13. Kisan — on 30th October, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

    #12, Kamal AKA Marwan (of infamous racist Beggerdeshi taunts) and the following post:

    me (marwan)
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:52 PM
    This is a pointless ruling: Beggardeshis are too poor to afford things like skullcaps or veils and if they do buy them they just end up eating them cos there isnt any food

    Anyway nature will solve this problem in time. Thanks to Global Warming “Bangladesh” will soon be under water and the world will thankfully be rid of this “basket case” nation (cf Henry Kissinger)

    You are a text book definition of a racist bigot so pleeease spare the lectures about racism and the LOLZ etc.

    Please stop the cheap accusations of racism as coming from a Grade A racist bigot they are a bit of a joke.

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