Religion and belief

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Religion generally refers to the wide range of recognised and widely practised faiths that are in existence across the globe today. Belief refers to philosophical beliefs such as humanism. It also covers lack of belief, such as atheism.

The Equality Act does not list recognised beliefs but generally a belief should affect the individual’s life choices or the way they live. People with no faith are also protected by the Act.

Hackney Council is committed to promoting equality among people of all religions groups and including those with no stated religious beliefs and valuing the contribution made by all citizens. For more information on religion and belief in Hackney, see the Hackney profile.

Examples of religious discrimination

The following statistics from the 2010 Citizenship Survey provide an illustration of religious discrimination:

  • 96% of Britons said that violence against people on the basis of their religion is always wrong, 2% felt that it is often wrong, 1% that it is sometimes right and sometimes wrong, with fewer than half a percent stating that it is always or often right
  • British people tend to believe there is less religious prejudice than in the past. In 2011 44% of people believed that there was more religious prejudice than five years before; in 2009 this was 52%. In 2010, 33% of people from ethnic minorities thought there was more religious prejudice than five years earlier; in 2009 this was 44%
  • 14% of Muslims were likely to report that racial or religious harassment was a very or fairly big problem in their local area, although this has fallen from 20% in 2007-08. Religious harassment was seen as a problem by 11% of Hindus and Sikhs, and by 7% of people with no religion, 5% of Christians and 4% of Buddhists
  • Sikhs are the religious group most likely to say they feel a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood. In 2010, 85% of Sikhs said they felt a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, compared with 80% of Christians, 79% of Muslims, 78% of Hindus, 70% of Buddhists and people of no religion
  • Sikhs also had the strongest sense of belonging to Britain (93%), followed by Christians and Hindus (89%), Muslims (88%), people of no religion (87%), and Buddhists (80%)
  • in Hackney, 39% of Muslims, 47% of Sikhs and 49% of people of the Jewish faith are working, compared with 57% of Christians, 63% of people from other religions and 78% of people with no religion, according to the 2011 Census

Further information and support


Specific religions

The Orthodox/Charedi Jewish faith

Page updated on: 4 July 2019