Evangelicals Join Veil Controversy

The Evangelical Alliance, representing more than a million evangelicals in the UK, has welcomed the current debate on the veil and the cross, and has launched a major new report entitled 'Faith and Nation'.

In the report the Alliance calls on Christians and Muslims to continue to work together to tackle extremism, in the light of the government's 'Preventing Extremism Together' initiative.

The issue has been the centre of a heated debate over the past few weeks, following the suspension a Muslim teaching assistant who refused to remove her veil during class despite complaints from children that they could not understand her through the veil.

The debate has become so central in the British media that even Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken out on the issue, last week saying that the veil could be seen as a "mark of separation".

In addition, the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has added to the debate, saying on Monday that he personally has no problem with Muslim women wearing a veil, although he does admit that there are certain questions over practicality.

The Evangelical Alliance, this week, has now also added to the debate, although it has emphasised that their call is made in a spirit of 'assertive love'.

|QUOTE|The Alliance states its belief that Christians have a moral and biblical responsibility to stand by Muslims when they are unfairly treated. However, the body was also sure to urge Muslims across the UK and the world to stand up for religious freedom internationally.

Launching the landmark report 'Faith and Nation', Joel Edwards, the General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, called on Christians to study what Muslims believe, and develop relationships with moderate Muslims.

"Our calling is not to put down Mohammed; it is to lift up Christ", Rev Edwards declared.

The report was launched on Monday 23 October. Submissions were taken from every major Christian denomination as well as selected representatives of other faiths in compiling the report.

'Faith and Nation' gives 100 recommendations on areas as diverse as religious liberty, the environment, and constitutional matters.