Thoughts from Guests

Thank you for thinking of our Philosophy group and inviting us along to witness the debate last Tuesday. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would like to offer up my take on the matter, with regard to what was said that evening. The problems we have in this country regarding sexual abuse in organised faith are far greater than I could have imagined prior to the debate. I was grateful that Mohammed came along and spoke so bravely of his personal experience of abuse, and that the panel was representative of our multi-faith society and did not point at one particular faith. This issue needs to be tackled head on and cannot be overlooked. The topic seems to be side-stepped by our politicians and kept in the dark and as I have expressed – I knew not the extent to which abuse was taking place before hearing more on the issues on Tuesday. I am pleased that this panel has come together to push forward the issues, and I felt it was a real shame that the bishops from the Church of England couldn’t make it. I have no doubt that what this country needs is fundamental reconsideration of how we regulate faith, particularly within closed and more private communities. The need for an external body seemed to be unanimously agreed upon by those present. Thank you again for inviting us and I wish you and the panel the very best in continuing to push this issue forward into our main political agenda.

Henry Bowen


It was a very revealing evening leaving all with more questions than answers. If as was suggested the same criteria of law were applied to religious groups as to the secular institutions such as schools, where would it leave the confessional priests and the psychotherapists who had these abuses confided to them? Anyone confessing to them about what they had done would be certain to go to gaol. So do we understand from all this that it falls to the children themselves who have to tell the truth and give evidence to expose the child abusers and thereby get them convicted?
It seems as if it’s still a knotty problem but it was very good to hear the lady from Bangladesh stand up and say how awful it was to be subservient and I am sure all appreciate the free speech we have here. Well done for organising a ground-breaking evening.

Joyce Jenkins


It seems to me that before we can realistically tackle to solve some of these knotty issues – ALL faith communities have to sign up to one over-arching rule: ‘Humans rights come before religious rights’. Without establishing this very basic fundamental – no equation will yield a result that would meet our collective expectations. So as I stated at the event – can we prepare a motion that seeks to get every major faith (and faith leader) in this country to sign up to a declaration: ‘Humans rights come before religious rights’. By making this demand public it will soon become apparent which faiths/communities are paying only lip service, compared with those who actually wish to protect the vulnerable in society.

Kapil Dudakia


It was a very powerful meeting. I was initially very concerned that an audience member tried to silence the imam. He wanted to air an issue that obviously was burning within him. Luckily the truth prevailed . It was a pleasure to be part of it.



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