Is Glasgow City Council discriminating against Muslims?

Glasgow Central Mosque

Education Committees on Scottish Councils have to have three external religious representatives nominated by external religious organisations, Glasgow City Council has an Executive Committee which performs the statutory education duties and for these purposes it has nonelected but voting members nominated by  the Roman Catholic Church and by the Church of Scotland as required by law. But the law also requires a third external religious representative. Despite advertising by the Council there has been a vacancy for this third position for nearly two years since the May 2012 elections.

Previously a Mr Singh, probably a Sikh, had filled this third position but he has not been replaced. There is a good case for a Muslim to fill the current vacancy since Islam is the second most common religion in Glasgow with over 32,000 (5.4%) of the population saying that they have this faith in the 2011 census. Muhammad is also reportedly the most commonly registered new birth name in the city.

ESS is petitioning the Scottish Parliament to end the undemocratic practice of religious denominations nominating members to education committees. But as long as the relevant vacancy exists ESS believes that the law should be properly applied. A lack of vigour by Glasgow City Council in filling this vacancy in Scotland’s largest city suggests that it is failing its obligations under education and equal opportunity laws and that Muslims are the religious group that suffers most discrimination from this failure.

Education decisions by the Glasgow Council on statutory education matters might be open to legal challenge if the authority is not properly constituted and has not been sufficiently active in filling this vacancy.

Those with no religion (31% – nearly a third of the city population) cannot be appointed to this position.

As long as current laws apply Glasgow Council should act more vigorously to fill the vacancy in the education function of its Executive Committee.

Interestingly current laws require a Roman Catholic nominee to be appointed to Aberdeenshire Council education committee where only 4.6% of the population are adherents to this denomination but currently in Glasgow the greater 5.4% of the population that are Muslim have no equivalent representation

Source on birth names

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