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Action to tackle sectarianism vital
Further wide-ranging action to tackle the root causes of sectarianism, through community initiatives and education, will be brought forward over the five-year parliamentary term - backed by investment of £3 million a year over the next three years, Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham said yesterday.
Ms Cunningham was speaking at a visit to Glasgow's Primary People Council which featured a Sense Over Sectarianism schools project bringing together St Thomas's, Haghill Park and Carntyne Primary Schools to ensure the lives of the next generation of young Scots are not blighted by bigotry and prejudice.
The Minister made clear the Scottish Government would be taking a fresh approach to tackling sectarianism and bigotry that puts supporting communities at its heart, building on the new laws giving the police and prosecutors greater tools to tackle sectarian hatred in football and on the internet.
Ms Cunningham said:
"Sectarianism has no place in a modern Scotland and we need to do everything we can to eradicate it once and for all.
"A lot of the recent debate has focused on the new legislation we are seeking to bring in to give the police and prosecutors the additional tools they have asked for to tackle religious hatred - while these laws are a key step, they are only a single step.
"Clearly, sectarianism is not confined to any one area of society, or one part of Scotland. That is why we will be looking to bring forward further wide-ranging action over the five year term.
"We need to develop a fresh approach to tackle sectarianism in different ways across society, from community projects meeting local needs and matching local circumstances, through to education projects and other initiatives which address the root causes of sectarianism.
"This will be backed by substantial investment which was agreed as part of the recent Spending Review to tackle religious hatred in all its forms.
"There is already some fantastic work taking place in communities across the country to tackle sectarianism, and organisations like Sense Over Sectarianism, who support communities in the Glasgow area to address this complex issue, have set a good example for us all. Projects like the ones I have seen today working in primary schools to educate the next generation of young Scots.
"We want to now build on that success working closely with a range of organisations in the months ahead and over the medium and longer term. As a first step I am delighted to announce a pilot project which will allow the Scottish Community Development Centre and Voluntary Action Fund to work with communities across Scotland to develop approaches that will more effectively tackle the sectarianism those communities are experiencing.
"Sectarianism is never acceptable, never excusable. It has ruined the lives of too many people and too many communities for long enough. Working with communities and partners across the country, we are determined to take wide-ranging action society to eradicate it once and for all."