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UK peer calls for space for religious debates

Free Malaysia Today 30 December 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A member of Britain’s House of Lords has highlighted the importance of free space for debates on religion.

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, who is the director of the Commonwealth Initiative on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, said this free space, where people of different faiths could express themselves, explore ideas and educate one another, was integral for the development of mankind.

“We in the UK want to avoid a situation such as that from the reports we hear about North Korea, where everything is controlled, where you’re not allowed to read anything, to listen to anything, or to discuss anything,” she told FMT in an interview at the Islamic Renaissance Front’s office here.

Full article

View interview on video

Article 18 report launched

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 22 October 2017

Listen here

The Tablet, 25 October 2017

Conservative Peer and co-chair of the FoRB Committee, Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, told the BBC’s Sunday Programme that the UK government has been slow to grasp the role of religion as both a driver of conflict and as a driver in peace building.

“We have been behind the curve because as has been said we as a secularise Western European country are actually an exception to the rest of the world which is intensely religious. As a result, we in the civil service and the foreign office don’t always know enough about religion and its role in the world”, she told the programme on 22 October.

Click here to read the full article.

Christian Today, 25 October 2017

A fear of religion among foreign office staff hampers the UK’s fight for freedom of belief, politicians warned today.

Almost 85 per cent of the world’s population are linked to a faith and more than 80 per cent live in countries with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of hostilities towards certain beliefs, a report by the all-party group on international freedom of religion found.

But speaking at the launch on Wednesday in the Speaker’s House in parliament, Baroness Berridge, a Conservative peer, warned ministers and aides who write policy were too nervous and badly trained to grabble with faith.

‘I think it goes beyond officials,’ she told Christian Today. ‘I think there is a general fear among people who make policy of not understanding religion, of seeing it as only a driver of conflict and not seeing its role in development or its role in peace building. There is a lot of ignorance around about faith and I think there is a reluctant to get involved.’

Click here to read the full article

Atrocities in Myanmar

The New York Times, 29 September 2017

To the Editor:

As members of parliaments and members of the Steering Group of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, we condemn the violence faced by civilian populations in Rakhine State, Myanmar. We call on all parties responsible for the atrocities to cease and desist…
Click here to read the full letter.

More to a mosque than meets the eye

The Daily Star, Bangladesh, 9 May 2017
Shahidul Alam, one of Bangladesh’s leading artistic voices, held a bold yet sincere exhibition yesterday on the outskirts of Dhaka that attempted to break new grounds — literally and figuratively. The daylong photography exhibit — “Embracing the Other” — was held along the outer walls of the Bait Ur Rouf mosque in Fayedabad near Abdullahpur. Distinguished guests at the exhibition included Munir M Murali, resident diplomatic representative at Aga Khan Development Network in Bangladesh; Baroness Berridge, a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords …
Click here to read the full article.

Wise Women Making An Impact

The Voice, 9 April 2017
The annual Wise Women ceremony focused attention on those doing great things. Special guests at this year’s event included Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Paulette Simpson, director at The Voice and Muyiwa, head of Premier Gospel. Co-organiser Pastor Marjorie Esomowei said: “I always get a great feeling at the Wise Women Awards. It never fails to achieve its aims, which is to focus attention on women doing great things in the church and society.”
Click here to read the full article.

Religion can play a role in peacebuilding and social cohesion

Politics Home, 13 March 2017
To mark Commonwealth Day, Baroness Berridge highlights how the commonwealth provides a platform for dialogue on the role of religion in promoting peaceful societies. Click here to read the full article.

UK international relations debate focuses on Commonwealth benefits

The Commonwealth, 1 February 2017
“Post Brexit must mean enhanced Commonwealth engagement” the British politician Baroness Berridge urged during a parliamentary debate. Click here to read the full article.

British Minister Calls Donald Trump “Lord Trump”, Prompts Laughter

Huffpost Politics UK, 16 November 2016
Tory peer Baroness Berridge said that “many” in Britain had been “concerned” about Trump’s campaign rhetoric on immigration. She urged the minister to ensure that “any change” in US immigration policy “will apply to British citizens regardless of their religion”.
Click here to read the full article.

Questions raised over treatment of Christian asylum seekers

Christian Concern, 10 June 2016
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion and Belief believes that some asylum seekers in the UK are being unfairly questioned on their new-found faith, leading to genuine believers being rejected. The group has produced a report on the issue, believing that too often, officials are testing on knowledge of the Bible, rather than understanding the asylum seeker’s belief.

Baroness Berridge, who headed the parliamentary group’s inquiry, said: “The problem with those questions is that if you are not genuine you can learn the answers, and if you are genuine, you may not know the answers. When the system did move on to ask about the lived reality of people’s faith, we then found that caseworkers, who are making decisions which can be life or death for people, were not properly supported and trained properly.”

Click here to read the full article.

We must champion the freedom to change one’s beliefs about religion

Conservative Home, 7 February 2015
“One of the most profound changes I have seen in Britain since I became chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief is the surge in news stories that deal with religiously motivated oppression or violence, both here and across the world.” Click here to read the full article.

Religious freedom should be at the heart of this Government’s foreign policy

Conservative Home, 30 June 2013
“One of the cornerstones of conservatism is the deeply rooted belief that every human being should be free to live according to their convictions and fulfil their potentials without any hindrance from the state. If, as Conservatives, we take a high view of freedom, surely the most basic freedom – and therefore the most fundamental – is the freedom of one’s thoughts and conscience.” Click here to read the full article.

Don’t lose Generation 2012

Conservative Home, 19 July 2012
“Rather than writing them off with a label that just suggests a dark horizon, let’s find out what the 18 to 24s think needs to be done to sort out their future, and so ensure a better future for Britain.” Click here to read the full article.

“Oh, the wonder of our new second chamber-to-be!”

Conservative Home, 7 July 2012
The Lords Reform Bill; “Oh, the wonder of our new second chamber-to-be! Just imagine: Senator Blair, with an electoral mandate for a full 15 years!”  Click here to read the full article.

Cathedral invests in start-up businesses

Christian Today, 30 May 2012
Baroness Berridge unveils Portsmouth Cathedral’s plans in a House of Lords debate led by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. Click here to read more.

“No evidence” of secret courts

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 4 April 2012
Baroness Berridge, Conservative member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, spoke to the Today programme about proposals put forward by the government in its Security and Justice Green paper, to allow more court hearings and inquests to be held in secret, arguing they are unfair and unnecessary.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Other media appearences in relation to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Justice and Security Green Paper:

LBC Radio, The Whole Show, 4th April
Baroness Berridge joined Julia Hartley-Brewer to talk discuss ‘Is Secret Justice Unfair’. To download the podcast click here.

For more information on the Justice and Security Green Paper click here.

Baroness quizzed during visit to Casterton Business & Enterprise College

Rutland & Stamford Mercury, 20 March 2012
Baroness Berridge visits pupils from Casterton Business and Enterprise College and Rutland County College. Click here to read more.

Peer visits MV16 to talk politics

Melton Times, 19 March 2012
Baroness Berridge visits Melton Vale Post 16 Centre to encourage students to engage more with the political and parliamentary process. Click here to read more.

Rutland headteachers visit Houses of Parliament

Rutland Times, 10 February 2012
Headteachers from Rutland invited to London by Baroness Berridge to discuss local educational issues. Click here to read more.
Read the related News & Events entry here.

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge joins prayers at churches

Rutland Times, 30 January 2012
Baroness Berridge attends the ‘Churches Together in Oakham’ Prayer Breakfast. Click here to read more.
Read the related News & Events entry here.

Speakers Head to Cricklade Festival

Swindon Advertiser, 3 January 2012
Baroness Berridge is to be among the speakers at Cricklade Festival in March. Click here to read more.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College honours its prize-winning pupils

Rutland & Stamford Mercury, 30 November 2011
Baroness Berridge attended the prize giving as guest speaker. Click here to read more.

Church Times: “We cannot arrest or imprison our way out of this situation”

Church Times, 18 November 2011
Baroness Berridge is interviewed for the Church Times. Click here to read the full article.

Baroness Berridge: Would the Prime Minster please silence Tim Montgomerie?

6 November 2011
Baroness Berridge comments on the value of an External Relations Unit at Conservative Home. Read her comments here.

Baroness Takes Part in YouTube Bible Reading

Monday 29 August 2011
The Baroness has taken part in a challenge by the King James Bible Trust, aiming to create a complete reading of the bible on their website to mark its 400th anniversary.

The Prince of Wales has even recorded a reading.

Read more about Baroness Berridge taking part in the bible reading…

Scottish Dancing Performance for Baroness

Friday 27 May 2011, Rutland and Stamford Mercury

A Scottish dancing group from Langham Primary School performed for Baroness Berridge.

Scottish Dancing at Langham Primary School

The Baroness visited the school as part of a tour of schools and was treated to the performance by the group, which is an after school club. It was accompanied by bagpipes.

Baroness Berridge said: “It was a privilege to see the enthusiasm and determination on the pupils’ faces as they performed. It was a credit to the teachers that in such a short time the pupils had developed to such a high level of expertise. It really was remarkable.”