This is a fascinating new textbook providing an overview of the religious diversity of the UK.At a time when issues of religious diversity are ever present in the media and in public debate in the UK, student and general interest in this topic is at a new high.Paul Weller's new textbook provides an overview of the religious diversity of the UK. Informed by examples from the author's own research and professional practice, and referring to other key sources, it takes a "critical incident" and "case-study" based approach to some of the major debates arising from that diversity. These include demographic, socio-economic and other issues from the Census; places of worship; hatred, respect and freedom of expression; governance and civil society; education; and discrimination and equal opportunities.It facilitates engagement with topics of recent and often heated debate, such as "The Satanic Verses", "Jerry Springer the Opera", and "Behzti" controversies; wearing the veil; religious representation in public life;faith schools and student religious societies in higher education; religious rights; gay rights; and the impact of 7/7 on multi-culturalism in the UK.With helpful features for students - such as study activities associated with the materials in each chapter; tasks and questions for discussion; a timeline of key events and developments; and bibliographical resources for further learning - this new companion to this fascinating area will be required reading.
I am Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, UK, where I am also Faculty Head of Research and Commercial Development in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences.
I am a Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford and a founder and Trustee of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby (see http://www.multifaithcentre.org)
I have previously (in the 1970s-1980s) worked as a Baptist Minister in local church congregations, and also for the Greater Manchester Ecumenical Council (in the early to mid-1980s) with a brief for matters of racial justice and inter-faith relations. From 1998-1999 I was Resources Officer for then then new Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom, following which ,in 1990, I took up an appointment as Senior Lecturer and Head of the new Religious Resource and Research Centre at the (then) Derbyshire College of Higher Education which in 2003 became the University of Derby. While at the University of Derby, in addition to my present roles I have been Head of Religious Studies, Principal Lecturer in Religious Studies, Reader in Religious Studies, Head of Division of Social Science; and Head of Division of Humanities and Social Sciences.
I am currently (2010-2010) heading up a major three year research project on Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice, 2000-2010" (see http://www.derby.ac.uk/religion-and-society) working with colleagues from the Universities of Derby, Oxford and Manchester.
My next (edited) book (in which there are also two essays by myself, as well as an introduction and conclusion co-authored with my fellow editor) is due out in March 2012, and will be published by Continuum. It is entitled European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives On and From the Gülen Movement. It is co-edited with Ihsan Yilmaz from Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey (see: http://www.continuumbooks.com/books/detail.aspx?BookId=157777&SubjectId=1043)