The July 7 bombings have shown us that from now on schools have a tougher job than ever. Their task of promoting tolerance and understanding has become even more central. In its call for a national strategy for RE this week, the Religious Education Council argues that schools - which are often ethical but secular places - need to recognise the strength of religious feeling among many in the Muslim community if we want to combat alienation and disaffection. Let Farim, age 15, who is quoted in the national RE framework, reinforce the council's message: "I think religion is the essence of a person's life, so it's good to know about everyone's religion.
I... rely on it as a backbone to my life." Surely this is a view which breathes life into the culture of respect so hyped by politicians.