Office of the Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbi at Benedict XVI Lecture: minorities need to ‘integrate, not assimilate’

Last night the Chief Rabbi participated in the annual Benedict XVI lecture, which this year assumed the format of a panel discussion between faith leaders and took as its theme ‘Living as a Creative Minority in the UK.’

Considering how their respective faiths live as ‘Creative Minorities’, the Chief Rabbi, Cardinal Vincent Nichols – who hosted the lecture in his home – and the leading Islamic scholar Maulana Sayed Ali Raza Rizvi touched upon issues as broad as the “intolerant secularism” that rages against religion, the need for a universal subscription to British values and how these very values should also encapsulate an “openness to the spiritual and the transcendental.”

An individual’s pride in both his religious and national heritage can and should be maintained, the Chief Rabbi explained, although it is important to strike a balance. Herein lies the need to “integrate, but not assimilate” he said.

“Societies have a responsibility to guarantee freedom of religious expression for minorities and in turn, minorities have a responsibility to be loyal citizens, integrated into society.”

He expressed pride in the Jewish community for having, on the whole, integrated successfully into wider society while maintaining pride in their religious identity.

Listen to the Chief Rabbi’s full contribution below: