Muslims cash in on Scots equality fund

Wed, 11 Mar 2009

Islamic organisations receive more public funding for ‘equality’ than all other religious groups put together in Scotland, it has been revealed.

Almost 60 per cent of all grants given out by the Equality Unit has gone to just five Muslim groups.

The groups were awarded £1.5 million of public money, dwarfing the £137,500 given to Christian charities and the £110,000 given to Jewish organisations.

Muslims make up less than one per cent of Scotland’s population but two thirds identify themselves as Christians.

Organisations promoting equality between religions such as the Inter Faith Council and the Edinburgh Inter Faith Association received £586,160 and £219,800 respectively.

One of the Muslim organisations benefitting from the £1.5 million funding includes the Scottish Islamic Foundation, which is run by a prospective SNP candidate for Glasgow Central.

Critics are concerned about the imbalance of funding and fear it will antagonise other religious groups.

A Labour backbencher George Foulkes said: “I’ve had representatives raise this and they are deeply concerned at the imbalance in the grant allocation.”

He warns: “They say not only is it unfair but it’s dangerous.”

Murdo Fraser, the Tory deputy leader stated there was nothing wrong with giving grants to different religious groups but underlined that it had to be “proportionate”.

Mr Fraser said: “It would be legitimate to ask why the Government is so focussed on giving such large sums to Muslim groups at the expense of other faiths”.

A representative for the Muslim Council of Scotland accused Mr Foulkes of stirring up trouble between faiths.

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond pointed out that the figures do not include funding from other areas which contribute to charities such as faith schools and aid organisations.

This content requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download Adobe Flash Player here.