Minority Religions and Extremism in Schools and on Campus

Faith permeates all educational establishments. Often this is manifest through the diversity of beliefs held by students, faculty and governors. In such cases, immigrant and other new religions can present a number of distinctive challenges. At the same time, recent government policy has resulted in a growth in schools with a faith ethos – a move that critics argue will result in religious identity being valued at the cost of social cohesion.

In a democratic society, places of learning are typically expected to encourage students to question conventional wisdoms and to offer alternative perspectives on a wide range of subjects. But educational institutions are also expected to have a duty of care and the responsibility of protecting students from hate speech and so-called radicalising or extremist influences – and, in line with Prevent directives, to divert students from being drawn towards terrorist activities. This has resulted in concerns that free speech and open debate are being stifled, with some staff vocally resisting what they consider to be a ‘policing’ of students.

Can we, as a society, agree on ‘the right balance’ between freedoms and security, or does faith need to be singled out for special monitoring and management within the educational milieu? If so, which faiths, and for what reasons?

As is the practice at Inform Seminars, these and other related issues will be discussed from a wide variety of perspectives.


Tickets, which include sandwich lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea, booked before 17 October are £38 (£18 for students/unwaged). Tickets booked after 17 October will be £48 (£28 students/unwaged). Register and pay online or post cheque and booking form to: Inform, Houghton St., London, WC2A 2AE


Related Articles

Prof. Eileen Barker: Cults, Sects or New Religious Movements? An Exploration of Alternative Spiritualities

For the past four decades my research has frequently found me living in various parts of the world with minority religions who believe and do things that would seem, at least prima facie, to be both incredible and incomprehensible. I have also found myself drawn into taking an active, and often uncomfortable role in the so-called ‘cult scene’. Although it is impossible to generalise about the thousands of religious movements that currently exist, in this talk I shall discuss some of the characteristics that new new religions tend to display and how these are likely to change within a relatively short period. I shall also describe how, when stepping out of the ivory tower, one can find oneself in a Monty Python situation, discovering the familiar in the unfamiliar and the unfamiliar in the familiar.

The Schweitzer Institute Conference, 2016

On 24th September 2016, in association with the Scientific & Medical Network, the Albert Schweitzer Institute (UK) will be hosting a conference at Cambridge University. This is the first of a series of annual conferences which will be held at different universities each year to raise awareness of Dr Schweitzer’s life and thought.

Clash of Beliefs: Culture, Spirituality and Health

Presented by Dr Natalie Tobert this comprehensive course Culture, Spirituality and Health: Clash of Beliefs offers seminars that explore new spiritual and cultural frameworks for understanding unusual experiences. It explores what it means to be human in today’s world.  The case studies provided in the training explore radical challenges to our common consensus.