Monday, November 20, 2006


New Generation Network is the name of a new think tank and discussion initiative which is being launched later today by the admirable Sunny Hundal [pictured] of Pickled Politics, an acclaimed webzine which focuses on British and international politics, media and society from a broad, mainly South Asian perspective. NGN's initial 'manifesto' is calling for an improved debate on race and faith - which at the moment is dominated by extreme sectional interests, the government's demonising of minority communities, and a self-selecting "great and good" approach to public consultation. The NGN founding statement raises important issues from an independent perspective, and I was pleased to sign it myself - Ekklesia is certainly supportive of this venture, but it is one forged by individuals rather than organisations and 'representatives'. Indeed the question of who really 'represents' whom in the fields of religion and race is one of the necessarily awkward questions it is raising. The 'manifesto' will be published on The Guardian’s Comment is Free pages today and is noted in a short news story. That will also serve as a starting point for a week of debates on CIF around the future of race and faith in the UK. The NGN will be on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme at 7:20am, Five Live at 8:35am (they are doing a big programme on Islam), and Asian Network at 11:15am. Possibly also Channel 4 TV. Ekklesia will be issuing a supporting press release, which will also be on our news brief and in the Daily Email Bulletin. Sunny Hundal's hard-hitting Guardian article is entitled: This system of self-appointed leaders can hurt those it should be protecting. "It is in all our interests to challenge those who wrongly claim to be speaking for Britain's minority communities."

Update: The full NGN statement on race and faith can now be read here. See also on Ekklesia, We need a better race and faith debate, says New Generation Network 20/11/06.

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