What is a religion?

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

 The Equality Act 2006 contains definitions of religion and belief, which will be interpreted by the courts with reference to relevant case law, including cases relating to the European Convention on Human Rights.

In order to be protected under the Equality Act 2006, a religion or belief must be recognised as being cogent, serious, cohesive and compatible with human dignity. The concept includes religions that are widely recognised in Britain (although it isn’t limited only to these), such as:

  • Baha’i faith
  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Jainism
  • Judaism
  • Rastafarianism
  • Sikhism
  • Zoroastrianism

Denominations or sects within a religion will also be considered as religions, or religious beliefs, such as Catholicism and Protestantism, which are divisions of Christianity.

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