Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Haringey: Christian a no-no, Muslim a go-go

The news that a PC storm trooper from Haringey council threatened to cut off funding from a children's group because they wanted the word "Christian" in their title and tended to sing songs about Jesus has been widely reported.

The council intervened after the group contacted officials to say they had decided to change its name from the Polish Drop-in Centre to the Polish and Eastern European Christian Family Centre.

Officials immediately protested about the decision to include the word "Christian" in its title and said the name-change could jeopardise the £7,000 it receives from the council.

Following further investigations, they also ordered Gosia Shannon, the centre's organiser, to stop singing songs about Jesus with the children and accused her of making "negative" comments about gay people.

The Labour-run council's concerns were spelt out in a letter sent to a local community leader by Debbie Biss, the head of Haringey's Noel Park Children's Centre, which funded the family centre.

She voiced unease about the decision to use the word "Christian" in the family centre's title and warned that this would affect "your ability to retain the funding we provide… and to raise funding for your activities in general."

So the council busybody not only threatened to cut off council funding, but implied that she could intervene to prevent the group from raising funds elsewhere! Anybody else find that a tad worrying?

Miss Biss went on to criticise the way children were encouraged to sing about Jesus.

"We expect all our services to be inclusive and without religious content, so I was concerned to learn that Gosia leads the singing of a song about loving Jesus in every session," she said. "I asked Gosia to leave this song out in future but she has refused to do so."

Oh, really. You expect all YOUR services to be inclusive, eh? And without religious content, too? Would that include the Haringey Muslim Network & Safety Forum - which cost Haringey Race Equality Council £67,000 to set up so they could counteract "Islamophpbia". Not very inclusive and choc-a-bloc full of religious content.

One rule for us, one for them.


Guardian apostate said...

It always surprises me how few comments there are on your site. I just wanted to let you know that as far as I'm concerned it's a daily 'must read'. Keep up the good work, as they say.

Stan said...

Thanks for that, guardian apostate. Apologies for the sparse blogging over the last couple of days - I've been laid low by a flu like bug.

Anonymous said...

wow thats harsh