Portsmouth has wealth of religious and belief diversity. Portsmouth residents have developed some very strong faith communities which remain active participants in the wider community.
Religion or belief is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, and includes any religion and any religious or philosophical belief. ‘Religion’ means any religion and includes a lack of religion. A religion, to come under the definition of ‘religion’ for the purposes of Equality Law, does not need to be well known, but it must have a clear structure and belief system.
‘Belief’ means any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Examples of philosophical belief beliefs include Humanism and Atheism. A belief does not need to include faith or worship of a God or Gods, but must affect how a person lives their live or perceives the world.
It is a criminal offence if a person is attacked or abused physically or verbally because of their religion or belief, or because of their lack of religion or belief. If you or a member of your family experiences any such unlawful conduct, you should report it to the police. The police now have a dedicated website called ‘True Vision’ where people can report hate crime.
Alternatively, you can contact our Hate Crime Service, which provides anonymous support to victims of, among other types, religiously motivated crime.
Inter faith co-operation
The traditions of all major faiths contain teachings commending the fundamental values of equality and respect, which are very important to community cohesion. There are now a large number of inter-faith and multi-faith local bodies in the UK. These bodies play a key role in bringing people of different faiths together to:
- increase trust, mutual understanding and respect
- help defuse inter-community tensions; build community cohesion; provide advice and information on religious issues
- foster co-operation on local issues
- work jointly on social and educational projects
The Inter Faith Network for the UK links representative bodies of the faith communities, national, regional and local inter faith organisations, and educational and academic bodies with a focus on inter faith and multi faith issues. It works with its member bodies to contribute to community cohesion through deepening inter faith understanding and cooperation at all levels.
Portsmouth has strong and active faith communities that contribute to the promotion of shared values and cultural diversity of the city. We continue to work with these communities and promote good relations and respect between them as well as with other communities in the city.