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Scottish Inter Faith Council logoThis Information has been prepared by the Scottish Inter Faith Council to provide basic information on some of the 'faith communities' who live and worship in Scotland.  Those included on this page are either full members of the Scottish Inter Faith Council or have observer status.

The multi-religious nature of Scottish society is now widely accepted and promoted by various individuals, groups, organisations and institutions.  The need to be respectful of, and understand this diversity is also acknowledged by the Scottish Parliament and is recognised to be fundamental to the harmony of society whether in a global, national or local context.

It is important that individuals and organisations, particularly those professionally associated with public life in Scotland, have some knowledge of the different faith traditions operating in Scotland, and it is hoped that they, and the general public, will find this information helpful.

These pages have been designed to include general information on the basic beliefs, customs and practices, places of worship, main festivals, food and diet and community concerns of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Baha'is, Brahma Kumaris and Pagans. This is not a complete picture of the religious communities in Scotland as there is diversity within the religions mentioned and there are also religions not included in these pages.

Inter faith initiatives in Scotland

Since the historic World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago at the end of the 19th Century  there has been growing awareness that we inhabit a world of many faiths.  This awareness has gradually resulted in the growth of inter faith initiatives and bi-lateral religious dialogue groups throughout the United Kingdom.  In Scotland such groups have been operating since the 1970s. 

Scotland is also home to The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art.  Opened in Glasgow in 1993, this unique museum aims to promote mutual understanding and respect between people of different faiths and of none.

It is clear that world events abroad influence relationships at home and so the ethos of inter faith, which includes developing understanding, respect and dialogue between religions, is critical in the creation of a peaceful and inclusive Scotland. 

The Scottish Inter Faith Council

The Scottish Inter Faith Council was officially launched in 1999 by Patricia Ferguson, the then Deputy Presiding   Officer  of  the new Scottish  Parliament. As well as promoting better understanding between faith communities the SIFC can function as a vehicle of communication  between  the  Scottish   Executive and the various communities living in Scotland.  Collectively  it  represents  a  major  cross   section   of   the   faith   communities in Scotland and  its   representative   members   are committed to the process of developing inter faith structures at both local and national levels.  The Scottish Inter Faith Council encourages and supports initiatives aimed at increasing mutual understanding and respect between the members of all religious communities.

It is dedicated in its work to break down  and  diffuse  barriers  of  discrimination and prejudice and promote tolerance and acceptance within society.

The 2011 Census on religious affiliation gives the following statistics for members of religious faiths in Scotland:

Faith CommunitiesMembers
Church of Scotland 1,717,871
Roman Catholic 841,053
Other Christian 291,275
Buddhist 12,795
Hindu 16,327
Jewish 5,887
Muslim 76,737
Sikh 9,055
Other religion 136,049

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Scottish Inter Faith Council at the following address:

The St Francis Centre
405 Cumberland Street
G5 0SE
Tel: 0141 429 4012       

Calendar of Religious Fesivals


The Chaplaincy Centre

3A St Mary's Place
St Andrews
KY16 9UY
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2866/2492

Related links

External links