The National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF), a group of over 200 churches representing African and Caribbean Christians in the UK, have welcomed the Government's report on racial and ethnic disparities in the UK but say it caused "deep hurt" among its members.
The report, published last week by The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, proposed 24 recommendations to improve race relations. However, it sparked outrage among some in the black community as it said the UK is no longer a country where "the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities" and concluded that there was no evidence of "institutional racism".
In a statement, the NCLF said that since the publication of the report there have been "widespread expressions of dissatisfaction" and "deep hurt" among its members, especially regarding the claim that institutional or systemic racism in the UK no longer exists.
"This runs counter to their lived experiences and the success of some has been achieved in spite of, not in the absence of, institutional or systemic racism.
"The Christian faith promotes justice based on God's call to love our neighbour as ourselves, and those in authority to administer fairness for everyone. Racism, along with other intersectional factors, lead to disparities and inequities in employment, education, health, housing and much more.
"While significant progress has been made in our multicultural society, much more needs to be done before the UK can justly regard ourselves as a beacon of racial justice in the world," the statement reads.
Although there are many concerns, Bishop Joe Aldred, an NCLF trustee, told Premier the report is good step forward.
"There are things in there that we believe will contribute to the ongoing challenge of trying to ensure that everyone in this country, irrespective of their ethnicity, can feel that Britain is a place that they can prosper," he said.
The Commission has released a statement defending the report and saying that criticism has, in some cases "tipped into misrepresentation".
You can read the full statement here.