Dear friends,

This morning Shabana Mahmood and I have written to the Bishop of Birmingham on the subject of a inter-faith panel on education in Birmingham.
You can see the text of the letter below:


Your Grace


Inter-faith Panel on Education in Birmingham


Further to conversations on Friday with yourself and Mark Rogers, we write to ask whether the Birmingham Inter-faith panel might consider creating a special task-group to advise the city's education leaders, at all levels, on how excellence in standards and strength of faith can be coupled better in our state schools.


We believe that faith can play a crucial role in educating the children in our city for whom faith is an essential element of their lives. The divisive nature of the debate around the so-called Trojan Horse allegations risks damage to this view, damage which must not be allowed to go un-checked.


In particular, thousands of Muslim parents feel under seige. Values and practices associated with their faith are being incorrectly defined, in our view, as extremist.


This cannot be right.


The Birmingham Inter-faith panel is a unique group with a unique capability to offer advice and crucially set about the task with a spirit of unity that is desperately needed.


We stand ready to offer whatever support we can to such crucial work.


Yours, in hope and solidarity.


Liam Byrne MP
Shabana Mahmood MP