Correcting misinformation spread by the anti-Dalai Lama Protesters

2007: UK Government Parliamentary Questions Concerning Cultish Behaviour in the New Kadampa Tradition

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In the early 2000s, a number of questions were raised in the UK House of Commons, questions which concerned allegations of “cultish behaviour” in the New Kadampa Tradition. These questions and their responses are recorded here.

PQs 147208,147209
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has had discussions with the Community Development Foundation on the appropriateness of religious groups receiving grants from the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund where allegations of cultish behaviour have been made against them; And what representations her Department has received on cultish behaviour in the(a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) New Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International.

Mr. Dhanda: The Department has received correspondence from a member of the public regarding the alleged cultish behaviour of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, New Kadampa Tradition and Soka Gakkai International. No other representation has been received by the Department. Communities and Local Government has commissioned the Community Development Foundation to administer the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund. Officials made the Community Development Foundation aware of the existence of the allegations. The Department  considered whether these allegations had any relevance when set against the Fund’s stringent criteria and guidelines. The decision was made that the criteria were satisfied and the award of funding was made.

PQ 152364
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance he has issued to schools on dealings with  organizations which have been the subject of allegations of cultish behaviour, with particular regards to (a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) New Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International; and if he will make a statement.

Kevin Brennan: The Department has issued no such guidance. Religious education syllabuses for maintained schools without a religious designation are drawn up by an agreed syllabus conference which  advises the local education authority. The non-statutory framework for Religious education was published in October 2004 and provides that pupils should be taught about Christianity, at least one other principle religion and a religious community with a significant local presence. It is up to schools and local authorities to decide upon resources and teaching methods and this would include checking the credentials of any organization they chose to work with. (In fact, no such legislation exists; vetting procedures apply only to individuals and not organizations and there is no statutory requirement for Local Authorities to check organization’s credentials)

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PQ 152368
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on the offering of grants to organizations against which there have been allegations of cultish behaviour to support their activities in schools. with particular regards to (a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) the New Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International; and if he will make a statement.
Jim Knight: The Department has offered no grants to: (a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) new Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International.  All Government Departments follow stringent procedures, seek appropriate references and use independent assessors to examine the constitutions and financial records/accounts of all organizations before they make any recommendations for funding.(While ‘the Department’ had offered no such grants, other Government Departments had done so, despite receiving warnings about the allegations and despite  the fact that the groups concerned were the nations wealthiest Buddhist organizations and certainly did not need to rely on charitable handouts, funds which were intended for the UKs more impoverished Buddhist organizations)

PQ 156701
Mr. Leech:To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations the Government has received on the activities of(a) The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) The New Kadampa Tradition and (c) Soka Gakkai International; and when such representations were received.

Mr Dhanda: Communities and Local Government has received correspondence from a member of the public regarding the alleged cultish behaviour of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, the New Kadampa Tradition and Soka Gakkai International, and the recommendation of funding to these organizations under Round 2 of the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund. This representation was  received on 1 May 2007. As far as we are aware, no other representation has been received.

PQ 157746
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 16 July 2007, Official Report, column 75W, on the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund, what investigations took place into the allegations made against the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, the New Kadampa Tradition and Soka Gakkai International before her Department took the final decision to grant funds to the three organzations from the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund.

Mr. Dhanda: I refer to the earlier answer (that being that Government itself made no investigations)

PQ 157747
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations her Department has received on cultish behaviour in the (a) Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, (b) New Kadampa Tradition and  (c) Soka Gakkai International.

Mr. Dhanda: I refer the hon. Member to the earlier answer.

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