Birmingham's head of education has called for the number of faith schools in the city to be reduced.
The controversial comments by Coun Les Lawrence come at a time of heightened sensitivity over religion in the wake of the Islamic terrorist attacks in London.
Coun Lawrence ( Con Northfield), Birmingham's elected Cabinet Member for Education, said faith schools were "not the best way of developing social cohesion".
He maintained the city should actively discourage more from being created and seek to "rationalise" those that already exist.
Birmingham currently has 96 faith schools, which discriminate on religious grounds. The majority are Catholic, two are Islamic and one Jewish.
Coun Lawrence said: " Separating pupils on the basis of religion for education purposes in my view is not the best way of developing social cohesion.
"What I am saying is we do not open any more. We do not encourage any more and where the opportunity arises to rationalise school provision, we reduce the number of faith schools."
Rather than dividing youngsters on religious grounds, greater focus should be placed on helping them "understand and relate and enjoy each other's culture and lifestyles".
Both the Labour and Conservative parties shied away from controversy by expressing their support for faith schools during the General Election.
The current Government has allowed Christian groups such as Midland businessman Bob Edmiston - founder of evangelical charity Christian Vision - to set up city academies with a Christian ethos.
Tahir Alam, education spokesman for the Muslim Council for Britain, claimed far from fostering division, Islamic schools encouraged greater social cohesion.
"People who go to faith schools achieve better and are more morally and socially responsible and therefore better citizens," he said.
"Our education system needs to be diverse so it can reflect the aspirations of the community and parents within education."
Jessica Foster, spokeswoman for the Birmingham Diocese of the Church of England, said: "Parents of other faiths have actively sought a place in a church school knowing it to be a place where religious faith is honoured and supported."
Peter Jennings, of the Archdiocese of Birmingham added: "Catholic schools offer a good education and a sound basis for citizenship in a multi-faith, multicultural city like Birmingham."