Scotland’s faith leaders urge action to loosen the grip of poverty

Today (Sunday) leaders of Scotland’s faith communities have united to call for action to ‘loosen the grip of poverty’.

More than one in five people in Scotland are living in poverty and this figure is rising. As Challenge Poverty Week closes, religious representatives from across Scotland have come together to call for more action to tackle the rising tide of poverty.

Issuing a joint statement and standing together in solidarity, Scotland’s faith leaders said:

‘It is not right that so many people are trapped in poverty. We have a moral responsibility to change this. Challenge Poverty Week is a chance to raise our voices and highlight what we can do as a society to loosen the grip of poverty’.

Businesses, schools, football clubs, NGOs, academics, grassroots activists, and local authorities were among more than 250 organisations raising their voice as part of 400 events during the week.  Many organisations have launched new initiatives like breakfast clubs, employability hubs and concessionary travel, or have signed up pay the real Living Wage.

The Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said:

“I am very aware that across Scotland, many families and individuals are continually living lives of struggle and stress as they find it impossible to reconcile the needs of their children and loved one with the limited resources that they can gather in. These are people who struggle to find work and those who are working but receive too little income to cover costs, all this in one of the worlds’ richest countries.

“We need a more equal society where no one needs to go to bed hungry or to wake fearful of what the day will bring.”

The 15 signatories to the joint statement included the Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Church, Mario Conti; Imam at Glasgow Central Mosque, Maulana Habib Ur Rehman; Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rev Colin Sinclair; Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Revd Mark Strange; Chair of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, Shabir Beg; Interfaith representative for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, Alan Kay and Hindu Priest, Acharya Ji Mishra.

Ravinder Nijjar, Scottish Sikh Women’s Association added:

“On the 550th Anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev ji we remember his legacy of Langar, that is, feeding the poor and the hungry. Over 500 years ago he carried out one selfless act. As a young man, the Guru was given twenty rupees by his father to buy goods and sell at a profit. On seeing holy men who were hungry, the young Guru used the money to feed and clothe them. This investment according to Guru Nanak Dev Ji was ‘true’ profit or business – ‘Sacha Saudha’. Using money to feed and clothe the hungry yields the highest profit.”

Full list of 15 signatories to the declaration:

  • Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, Mario Conti
  • Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman, Glasgow Central Mosque
  • Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the Church of Scotland
  • Shabir Beg, Chair of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
  • The Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Acharya Ji Mishra, Hindu Priest, Glasgow Mandir
  • David Pickering, Moderator of the United Reform Church
  • Alan Kay, Interfaith representative for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
  • Rev Mark Slaney, Chair of District, Methodist Church in Scotland
  • Principal clerk of the Church of Scotland, Rev Dr George Whyte
  • Isadora Laura Quay, Member of the Baha’i Council for Scotland
  • Sister Isabel Smyth, Associate Secretary for Interfaith Relations for the Scottish Catholic Bishops Conference
  • Ravinder Nijjar, Representative of Scottish Sikh Women’s Association
  • Madhu Jain, Assistant Secretary of Hindu Mandir Glasgow
  • Ameed Versace, Strategic Engagements Officer of Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society