posted by: Joe Mulhall | on: Thursday, 1 October 2015, 17:14
On 10 October the beleaguered remnants of the English Defence League (EDL) are planning another of their ever-shrinking demonstrations, this time in the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury. The YouTube video advertising the event has garnered a mere 300 or so views, a far cry from the tens of thousands that greeted similar videos during the EDL’s heyday.
The demonstration was originally planned for 17 October but was brought forward in solidarity with ‘World Demo Day’, a coordinated event that will see dozens of anti-Muslim hate groups organising demonstrations simultaneously worldwide.
In America, the Centre for New Communities has identified at least 20 organised demonstrations collectively being billed as the ‘Global Rally for Humanity’. Some have argued that these events are a response to ‘Justice or Else Million Man March 20th Anniversary’ event in Washington, D.C. which is being headlined by Louis Farrakhan of the supremacist Nation of Islam. While that may have been the impetus for some the motivation for these rallies, most of the driving force is anti-Muslim sentiments.
The EDL’s promotional material for the Aylesbury demonstration is emblazoned with the logos of the German, French, Polish, American, Canadian and Australian Defence League, each claiming to be holding a simultaneous event.
Some, such as the Australian Defence League, have called for people to demonstrate outside the city halls of each State. Joining this call are affiliated anti-Muslim groups, such as the Sydney-based United Patriots Front.
However, despite what the EDL has claimed, the French and German Defence Leagues have not yet publicly announced any events. Neither has the Polish Defence League, although the fascist National-Radical Camp (ONR) and its allied group ‘Poles Against Immigrants’ has called a demonstration for 10 October.
Coincidentally, ‘World Demo Day’ coincides with ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s planned trip to Holland, where he will attend the launch of a Dutch version of Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, or ‘PEGIDA’ as it’s now better known. This German anti-Muslim campaign group has, like the various Defence Leagues before it, sought to build a European movement of likeminded groups with varying degrees of success.
Attempts to launch a PEGIDA branch in the UK have been unsuccessful: the highpoint was a small rally in Newcastle in February attended by an assortment of British extreme right activists. There are, however, plans to officially relaunch PEGIDA UK in Birmingham on 27 February next year.
It is important not to over emphasise the importance of ‘World Demo Day’. Many, if not most, of the planned events likely to be tiny affairs. Beyond a small EDL gathering and a smattering of events in America, the grand claims made by the numerous Facebook groups of a global day of action are unlikely to be manifested.
That said, the attempt to forge an international day of action once again shows how the ‘Counter-Jihad Movement’ is a transnational movement seeking to organise beyond national borders on an international scale.
Posted: 1 Oct 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 26 September 2015, 08:54
Earlier this summer, HOPE not hate published an exclusive report into the activities of a group of anti-Muslim activists, desperate to use a Muhammad cartoons exhibition as a cover to push some Muslims into violent counter-reaction over insults to their Prophet.
Thanks in part to that exposé, the exhibition was cancelled and chief organiser, Anne Marie-Waters (of Sharia Watch and UKIP) was left to ineffectually vent her spleen, alongside co-conspirator ‘Tommy Robinson’ (ex-EDL leader) and former EDL financier Alan Ayling, after former Britain First founder Jim Dowson revealed the secret meeting at which all three had discussed the possibility of igniting unrest.
Whilst it’s important to expose and oppose those who incite hatred, it’s equally important to work with and between differing communities that could be targeted by extremists – whether they happen to Muslim, anti-Muslim, far-right or any other shade of organised hater – and that’s why we came up with the idea for a tea-drinking campaign.
Not the usual stuff of HOPE not hate anti-fascism? Think again. For years, now, we’ve been working with vulnerable and marginalised communities – white, non-white, religious, non-religious – in target areas up and down the UK isles. Our aim is to act as a facilitator, allowing ordinary people, who might never otherwise meet, to see one another and understand they all shared their local community’s best interest at heart. It’s not enough to shout from the barricades and tell people what to do: you have to mix and meet, listen to concerns, before you can effect change.
‘Our Cup of Tea’ was born as a response to the attempts to incite by those behind the Muhammad cartoons plot, and is being led by the fantastic organiser Julie Siddiqi, who also took a key part in the ‘Walk Together’ response to the 7/7 10th anniversary.
At its heart is the simple cuppa and a simple concept: let’s meet and talk.
Already, we’ve had events where Jewish women have met Muslim women in north-west London, on the eve of the Jewish New Year; there have been ‘hope not hate’ cakes baked by female worshippers at a mosque in Leicester for local police and businesses; £500 raised for refugees during a ‘tea meeting’ organised by The Sheba Project in east London; a vicar and imam working together over a pot of tea; whilst former England rugby league player Ikram Butt enjoyed tea with fellow (non-Muslim) fans at an England cricket match against Australia; and much, much more examples.
Even former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp added his support to the initiative.
The point is: we’re not claiming a cup of tea will solve the world’s problems alone. But not talking will certainly increase the chance of divide and misunderstanding. Whilst the social media revolution has been a fantastic innovation in many ways, don’t you sometimes just miss the chance to talk, face-to-face … to learn something new?
We don’t think we should be scared of one another; of talking. And it’s by talking we’ll forge better understanding – even if we still disagree with one another – and prevent the seeds of fear, and hatred, ever having a chance to take root.
We do not pretend everything is perfect and nor do we believe that is only a question of the ignorant and misguided seeing the light. We recognize that there are many real issues out there and some of the concerns and anxieties between communities, faiths and ideologies are very real and deep. But the only way we are going to change this is by dialogue and interaction. We can’t force people to get along together, likewise we also recognize that all too often good-meaning people rarely come into contact with people from different communities or with those who hold very different ideas. Our Cup of Tea is an attempt to change that.
So while the cartoon exhibition was cancelled we went ahead with this initiative, even in a more limited form. It was a statement of intent about how we plan to operate and engage in the future.
These sorts of community engagements are as much of an anti-racist or anti-fascist act as going on a demonstration or leafleting a community. It is about winning hearts and minds, engaging with ordinary people and it is about changing minds through direct engagement.
So why not take a cup of tea with someone new from your local community this autumn? Builder’s brew or Earl Grey, mint tea or herbal, it doesn’t really matter. Enjoy your cuppa and find new friends out there in your community.
Visit ‘Our Cup of Tea’ on facebook
Posted: 26 Sep 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 15 September 2015, 09:04
HOPE not hate is linking up with Philosophy Football and several other football organisations to raise money and collect necessary goods for refugees and migrants stranded on the continent.
While Philosophy Football focus on raising money through the sale of a new ‘Refugees are our Football Family’ T-shirt, HOPE not hate supporters will be raising money and organising collections locally.
All profits from sales and goods collected will go to Doctors of the World who staff the only medical clinic operating in the Calais Refugee Camp. They also have other clinics in refugee camps across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
“Football is the most universal of sports with an international spread that goes back a century or more,” says Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman. “From the legend that was Puskas to one of today’s most recognisable players Zlatan Ibrahimović refugees have always been part of our football family. The Swiss squad that went to World Cup 2014 included no less than seven players who were refugees from conflicts in the Balkans.”
‘The Football Family’ is an establishment term in football, devoid of almost any meaning or purpose. But as columnist Marina Hyde has pointed out the refugee crisis is a time when it could, should, acquire some much-needed meaning ‘If such a thing can ever be said to exist, then this issue gripping Europe should be among the very closest to its heart.’
And so an initiative, ‘Refugees are our football family’, has been launched by Philosophy Football backed by Hope not Hate, the Football Supporters Federation, Football Action Network, Football Against Racism in Europe, Football Beyond Borders, Kick it Out and the fanzine When Saturday Comes.
Philosophy Football has produced the campaign’s fundraising T-shirt and all profits from sales go to Doctors of the World.
The T-shirt fund will be backed by dozens of HOPE not hate supporters who have volunteered to organise local fundraising and collections of necessary good. With winter fast approaching, the need for warm clothing and blankets will be vital.
More information about these collections and how our supporters can get involved will be posted up in the next 24 hours.
Raising funds will be the principle focus accompanied by a symbolic solidarity. As Winter approaches conditions in the camps will worsen. Fans from every club across Britain and beyond are being asked to send in old club scarves. Woollens are on the list of goods the Refugee charities most need and we can help out with our old scarves taken to the camp by a Wembley to Calais convoy. From one home of football a powerful symbol of the kind of humanitarian hospitality all fans can be proud of.
Refugees are Our Football Family T-shirt available from www.philosophyfootball.com
To get involved in the HOPE not hate collection operation please sign up here:
Posted: 15 Sep 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 7 September 2015, 14:46
How one small body washed up on a Turkish beach seems to have changed everything. Disembarking refugees at Munich railway station being greeted by cheering crowds; 10,000 people in Iceland opening their doors to those who need accommodation; thousands of volunteers organising food drops. Literally millions of people across the continent donating money to help those in need.
Even here in Britain the mood has changed. After ruling out accepting any more refugees, David Cameron has now agreed to take in "thousands" of Syrian refugees (even if none of them are presently in Europe). The Sun has launched an appeal to bring 3,500 Syrian orphans to Britain and a highly skeptical, even hostile, British public is demanding action.
But we all know this unless we organise around this moment of HOPE then this mood will not last. Fatigue will set in, pledges will
be broken and soon the press and politicians will revert back to their
In fact, some are already trying to close and bolt up the window. The leaders of several Eastern European countries have co-signed a letter rejecting any EU-enforced quota system. The Austrian Chancellor today said there had been enough generosity the borders now had to be closed. And yesterday, the Independent reported that the EU was planning a new pan-European border force with the power to arrest and deport economic migrants.
And soon these cracks in our humanitarian kindness will break wider and just as fast as young Aylan Kurdi’s body shocked and moved a continent, so could the angry and resentful voices could return but only angrier than ever.
In Germany alone there has been over 200 attacks on accommodation intended for asylum seekers and refugees. In Hungary, far right activists attacked refugees in Budapest. In Britain, it won’t be long before some sections of the press revert to form and carry highly inflammatory and abuse headlines.
Only next week we are expecting the publication of the new Immigration Bill which, among other things, will force landlords to evict undocumented tenants or face fines or even prison.
So, with the time ticking, we just have a small window of opportunity in which to make long-term changes.
We need to not only ensure that support continues to be given to the refugees currently on the move across Europe but that a long-term strategy is agreed by the European Union that treats people as humans in need rather than a problem that needs to be kept out of our continent at all costs.
We also need to raise awareness and build solidarity to the refugees and migrants already in the UK, many living in absolutely appalling conditions and destitution. All of which will be compounded by the draconian new Immigration Bill.
After consulting with our supporters and receiving feedback from over 1,800 people, we have decided to do three main things:
1) To call for a fairer deal for refugees and migrants, including those living in destitution in the UK;
2) To raise money and collect essential items for those in need across the continent as winter approaches;
3) Oppose the forthcoming Immigration Act, which will instantly criminalise hundreds of thousands of undocumented people in the UK.
We will produce a leaflet and simple fact sheets for distribution to the public. We will build solidarity and joint actions with refugee and migrant groups. We will raise awareness amongst key people in local communities so they can spread the word amongst their own networks.
We have even chosen the 10 October as a date to deliver aid to the Continent and we are currently in discussions with refugee groups, aid agencies, football supporter groups, trade unions and faith networks about working together on this project.
Plans are at a very early stage but the general idea is to have aid collection points across the UK and for them to converge at a central point in Kent before crossing to the continent.
We will ensure that only items that are necessary are collected and our effort will be coordinated with an NGO and refugee organisations. While some will go to Calais, there will also be an option to raise money to support a project further afield, like one of the smaller Greek islands that currently is receiving little outside assistance.
And of course the two elements – the leafleting and the aid effort – will be complementary. As we raise support for the latter, we also raise consciousness about the general condition of refugees.
This campaign – as you can imagine – is evolving and hopefully I’ll be able to report some concrete details within the next few days, but whatever the final plans we will need help. Your help.
We need people who can lead an action or collection in their own area. We will provide you with a 'How to' guide on running a local action and support you along the way.
Are you willing to lead on an event in your area? We already have 41 people around the country offering to lead but it will be great to double that number.
If you are willing to organise then please do sign up here
We have a small window to push for genuine and long-term help for refugees before the climate sours. Let's use it
Posted: 7 Sep 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 15:05
Anne Marie Waters, the organiser of the Muhammad cartoon exhibition which was due to be held in London in September, has announced that the event has been cancelled. Citing security concerns, she claims that she was left with no choice but to call off the event. “Britain is a frightened nation,” she said “and our freedom is not going away, it has gone.”
Waters initially made the decision to cancel at the weekend but it was only this morning that she has offered an explanation. Writing on her Sharia Watch website, as well as for Breitbart, she said:
“Over the last few weeks, I have had several conversations with both Scotland Yard and counter-terror detectives. My conclusion? That the risk of running this exhibition is simply too high. When setting out to do something like this, one has to be prepared for the possibility of threats, or even violence, but it’s easy to underestimate the impact such things will have on the people around you.
“There’s a very real possibility that people could be hurt or killed – before, during, and after the event. This, together with the fact that our venue had indicated it wanted to pull out citing security and insurance concerns, and given the fear that people were feeling generally, the only responsible thing to do was to pull back and try to learn some lessons. I have not learned lessons as much as I have had my suspicions confirmed. There are two major messages to take on board from this episode: 1) Britain is a frightened nation, and 2) our freedom is not going away, it has gone.”
Firstly, it is questionable whether she actually had a venue at all. Certainly when HOPE not hate published its report into the cartoon affair a few weeks ago she did not have a venue, which was evident from the almost frantic emails she sent people asking for help in finding one.
Her decision to publicly announce the cartoon exhibition, which was to be attended by Dutch far right politician Geert Wilders, without having actually secured a venue had led some of her counter-jihadist friends to question whether she was capable of putting the event at all.
Her blog then goes on to defend her decision to invite Paul Weston to speak.
“Some of the attacks aimed at us (from those who ought to support us) were allegedly made because of Paul Weston’s planned presence at the event. Weston is the leader of the Liberty GB political party. He has made some speeches about the future of white people, and according to those who set the rules, this is a step too far. The demographic-that-cannot-be-named was named, and this was more than enough to cancel Weston’s speaking rights thenceforth (though of course if it hadn’t been Weston, it would’ve been Wilders).”
Paul Weston is a self-declared “racist” who, like many other counter-jihadists, believes that Islam is set to take over Europe within 30 years because of immigration and their higher birth rates.
But while some counter-jihadists depict this as a cultural or religious battle, Weston sees this as a racial issue. In a speech entitled ‘Preventing White Genocide’, he explains how the future of the white British race is under threat from Islam and its pending disappearance is a “racial crime”.
Weston says the solution is simple: “Islam has to be removed from Europe, from Britain, from England; and this is now the position that Liberty GB is taking.”
In other articles Weston has gone further. In a series of articles he wrote back in 2007 and posted up on the infamous Gates of Vienna blog, he expanded on his apocalyptic vision of the future and articulated the civil war theory. He believed that the growing Muslim population would mean that by 2025 there would be just two white European young men to every one Muslim. Given Muslims’ supposed predisposition to war and imposing their faith (Sharia law, etc) on the West, conflict would ensue.
Like other counter-jihadists, Weston dismissed attempts to contain Islam in the hope that moderate Muslims would reclaim their religion. He said that Western liberalism and appeasement only added to the ‘problem’. With mass deportation not a viable option, all that was left was for white European men to fight back.
“The wholesale and unprecedented racial and cultural transformation of a continent with a history of violent warfare will simply not happen without confrontation.
“We will simply have to. Not for domination, but for survival.”
Waters, who invited Weston to speak at the cartoon event, refuses to condemn him. She is at best an apologist for his racist views, at worst she agrees with them.
She certainly does agree with a lot of Weston’s solutions to the Islam problem. Speaking at a counter-jihad rally outside Downing Street in April she said: “For a start the immigration will have to stop, the immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely,” she told the protest. “That’s just the way it is. A lot of people need to be deported. Many mosques need to be closed down. It really does has to get tough.”
Waters ends her blog by declaring the need for “a global coalition for free speech”.
“It needs to have a voice at the UN (and take on the OIC), as well as the EU (also busy with hate speech and “tolerance”), and in as many countries as possible. It cannot be a talking shop put together to discuss shouting fire in a crowded theatre, but a tireless campaign to actively defend, by legislation and other means, the right of people to criticise, analyse, reject, satirise, and mock any single set of beliefs which is capable of affecting society as a whole, especially its freedoms.
“This movement must actively confront the lies and deception that so pose a threat to our liberty.”
Given the debacle over the handling of the cartoon exhibition I’m doubting there will be too many takers for her new venture. Except for Paul Weston that is.
Posted: 18 Aug 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 5 August 2015, 10:27
The release of a HOPE not hate report into plans for a Muhammad cartoon exhibition this September has led to members of the counter-jihadist movement falling out with each other.
First out of the blocks was Danish anti-Muslim activist Anders Gravers, who told the Danish newspaper Globalt that he owned the rights to the cartoons displayed by the counter-jihadist doyen, Pam Geller, in Texas this May, but had nothing to do with the new London exhibition.
He said that he was looking to hold a cartoon exhibition himself over here, but if current UK organiser (and Sharia Watch boss/UKIP member) Ann Marie Waters found a venue first then he would not stand in her way.
Given that he has so far failed to organise such an event in Denmark, we think the chances of Gravers finding a venue in London are zilch.
The anti-Muslim and fake veterans outfit, Britain First (BF), was quick to distance itself from any attempts to stir up trouble with a cartoon exhibition, re-releasing a statement it first made in early July.
In response to a Russia Today piece on the cartoon exhibition, which linked BF founder Jim Dowson to the plot, party leader Paul Golding issued a strong denial.
“Major efforts behind the scenes have been made to rope Britain First into the mad plot to ferment civil strife on the streets of Britain, using Mohammed cartoon contests.
“We are not against depictions of the false prophet Mohammed, but to use them cynically to spark off serious communal chaos and bloodshed is a despicable strategy and Britain First has nothing to do with it.”
Dowson, who first reported on attempts to incite civil strife by way of the cartoons, wrote a blog claiming the exhibition organisers were part of an international Zionist conspiracy which was designed to help Israel attack Iran.
Anne Marie Waters, the cartoon exhibition organiser, broke her silence in a blog on her own Sharia Watch website and co-posted on the UKIP-linked Breitbart site.
After a couple of days of total denial to the media, she now admitted that she had attended a meeting with Jim Dowson and – most amazingly – a discussion about civil war might (she admitted) have occurred.
In a blog entitled: 'Hard Left Campaigners Lied About Islam Vs West 'Civil War' Claim', in which she completely denies our allegation that she was involved in a conversation about using a cartoon exhibition to incite a violent reaction, she writes:
"That meeting did take place – to talk about building a website (which I believe the writer does for a living). If there was any talk of ‘civil war’, then it will have been by way of conversation, not some cartoon-like plot. In any case, aren’t people allowed to speculate on the potential for discord, especially given the current state of “multiculturalism” in Britain?"
In between abusing everyone connected to HOPE not hate as being part of the “hard left”, she conveniently failed to tell her readers that she ignored a request for an interview with HOPE not hate on these matters, which we sent to her by email on 7 July.
Waters also denied speaking at an anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL) rally: while this was technically correct, she failed to admit that she had spoken at a rally in Dudley organised by All Football Fans/Firms March Against Islamisation, an EDL splinter group led by Kevin Bryant – who just happens to be in the EDL (as does his Polish partner Tee, who is also known to Waters).
Last Thursday, Jim Dowson, the former Britain First leader who made the original allegation against both Waters, Stephen Lennon and key counter-jihadist Alan Ayling, released another blog. In a startling Q&A on the Knights Templar website (subsequently removed but can be found here), he went into more detail about what happened at the meeting with the trio. Invited along to discuss plans to set up a new anti-Islam organisation, which Waters described as "EDL with membership", the discussion moved onto running a cartoon competition.
"As the meeting progressed I was interested in how they would attract a following given that the ‘right-wing’ anti Islam ‘market’ was rather crowded and Britain First had almost a monopoly on the scene," said Dowson.
”It was then the issue of cartoons was brought up. Anne Marie Waters outlined her idea of a Mohammed Cartoon competition. It was also muted (sic) by the others that the displaying of cartoons should occur in towns and cities with large muslim communities both here in Britain and possibly in Europe. Robinson and Ayling both contributed to this discussion. However, it seemed to me that Ms Waters was very much the driving force in this enterprise. As the conversation progressed it became apparent that this idea was, as far as I was concerned, extremely dangerous and ill conceived. I was becoming aware of the true intent of the whole operation and was seriously concerned at what I was hearing.
"It became very obvious that the intent was to use the pretense [sic] of ‘freedom of speech’ to ferment a backlash from the Muslim community. This was not an opinion formulated by me but rather a conclusion based on statements from all three participants. I pointed out that such a ‘stunt’ would definitely ignite the fires of a civil war and this had the potential to result in the deaths of thousands of innocent people."
Intriguingly, Dowson said that he had an "observer" in the room and a video was made and handed over to his lawyer the following morning.
Predictably, the counter-jihadists reacted with fury to Dowson’s interview, with Lennon most forcefully going on the attack. He began bombarding the former Britain First leader with phone calls and text messages, many of which accused him of being a “dirty snake” and a “coward”.
Lennon went on to state, via Twitter, that there was nothing he said to Dowson at the meeting that he would not say publicly.
Writing under another name, it appears that Dowson reached out to Lennon and attempted to draw a line under the affair but this was instantly rejected by the former EDL leader.
Publicly though, Dowson is not backing down. Yesterday, he posted a message on Facebook: “Who works a sting the best – a bee or the cops? Both use little flowers but thankfully here in Ulster we have good ears and eyes and can hear the buzz from 20 paces. Better luck next time boys.” He accompanied the post with a picture of a bee.
With Dowson and Lennon accusing the other of working for the police, the infighting within the counter-jihad movement looks set to rumble on. Meanwhile, we stand behind the main tenets of our report: namely, that those now so loudly proclaiming that “all” they want is a private exhibition did indeed discuss civil strife as part of their plans.
Posted: 5 Aug 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:12
Today HOPE not hate published a report into plans to host a cartoon exhibition, featuring the Prophet Muhammad, in London on 18 September.
Our report, based on sources close to those involved and on published material, reveals that while some people are supporting the exhibition out of a strong belief for free speech, others are hoping for a violent reaction from British Muslims in order to prove the incompatibility of Islam in the West.
The report reveals that just three weeks before the exhibition was publicly announced, exhibition organisers Anne Marie Waters (of Sharia Watch), Alan Ayling (original financier of the EDL) and Stephen Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’ ex-EDL leader) met former Britain First founder Jim Dowson to discuss collaborating on a new counter-jihadist project. Counter-Jihadists believe that Islam is aggressive and expansionist, and make little or no distinctions between moderate or hardline followers of the religion.
The conversation quickly changed and, led by Alan Ayling, the three talked about using the Muhammad cartoons to provoke serious civil strife in this country. One element of this plan relied on sending anti-Muslim demonstrators into heavily Muslim areas, waving placards with offensive cartoons.
So horrified by what he had heard, Dowson later denounced these plans on his Knights Templar blog:
“The belief is that Muslims will be so angry that they will start fighting the police in an effort to get at the demonstrators, but that with trouble breaking out in so many places at once the police will be unable to contain it.”
“The plot relies on this fact to envisage that this will mean that the resulting violence will spin out of control, leading to a wave of murderous attacks not just on the ‘useful idiot’ demonstrators but also on the outnumbered police force, pubs and non- Muslims in general.
“Those behind this insanely dangerous idea believe (probably correctly) that heavily armed Muslim drugs gangs will be drawn into the clashes and that Jihadist sleeper cells will also seize the opportunity to come out as militant leaders of their community as part of a massive recruitment and radicalisation drive.
“...What starts with a cartoon of Mohammad having sex with a goat (for this is the sort of image waiting to go out) will end with the coffins of little children fried alive in their own homes by the petrol bombs that are the weapon of choice of communal violence.”
Dowson’s blog gives us an insight into the mindset of those backing the cartoon exhibition and should give everyone great cause for concern. As a consequence, our opposition to the cartoon exhibition is not an attempt to curtail free speech but to prevent a clear incitement to violence.
Let us be clear: criticism of Islam is perfectly acceptable, as it should be of all religions. We should be able to criticise, denounce, mock and satirise. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is an important part of any democracy and is an integral part of our cultural history.
But with that freedom comes responsibility for our actions, for harm: it has its limits. We oppose this cartoon exhibition on the grounds of incitement.
But let us also be clear: if the exhibition goes ahead then we will encourage everyone to ignore it and show their opposition in a more constructive, positive and unifying way.
The counter-jihadists do not believe it is possible for Muslims and non-Muslims to get along peacefully. So if the exhibition goes ahead, let’s prove to them how wrong they can be.
Posted: 27 Jul 2015 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 09:13
Can anyone out there please identify this man for us please. He has a strong Scottish accent but may now live in the London/Home Counties area.
If you know him, or anything about him, them please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
All information will be treated in the upmost confidence
Posted: 15 Jul 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 11 July 2015, 12:18
It is 20 years today since more than 8,000 men and boys were massacred inside a UN safe haven, Srebrenica, by Bosnian Serb paramilitaries.
The massacre at Srebrenica in 1995 should be etched into our collective memory as a ‘never again’ moment. It is (officially) a genocide.
Yet this stain on Europe is being repeated over and over by those who wish to bring war, not peace. They seek division, not unity, and twist the words and ideals of our common society into something forged with far darker intent.
This face of evil comes in many guises: in the casual words of a radio DJ; the smiling rhetoric of a populist politician; in conspiracy theories about 9/11 or “Zionists”; in the racism of a flag, or the snarl behind a supremacist banner; and in the zealotry of religiously-inspired intolerance or extremism.
Each will claim to have the answer. Each will tell you to follow them. Each will say “the other” is the problem.
When will we learn?
This is a question I often find myself asking: when will we learn the lessons of Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia, Bosnia, Congo, Syria, the Holocaust?
With terrorism both near and far, and wars and climate change looming on the horizon, it is easy to lose faith. But there are signs of hope, too, amid the fear and gloom.
From the White House’s historic rainbow colouring, to those of all faiths & none standing firm against neo-Nazi intimidation on London streets. From brave human rights defenders who suffer threats of imprisonment and torture, to those who help exhausted or tortured migrants – there are always people willing to extend the hand of friendship towards others, and those who will act on principle not merely personal gain.
It is heartening to know that we are not alone.
Hope is something that sometimes must be hard won. We can’t just “magic” it up. It takes courage, determination, and a willingness to endure hard knocks, while all around there will be those saying ‘take the easy route’ – pull up the drawbridge, turn on others, or (worse) seek to inflame tensions further (blaming ‘the cockroaches’, as Hutu radio DJs said of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994).
‘Evil’ is not the monster ‘out there’. It is our own fear which, when coaxed by circumstance and those who ‘claim’ to have an answer, can turn our society into something dark and ugly. For how can we bring about a world we all claim to want – where we know and respect one another, where our children are safe, where we all ‘fit’ – if we turn with savagery on those who exhibit difference or herald change?
That to me is the lesson of Srebrenica – and of Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, Syria and other all the other tragedies which litter history.
Those of us who have seen war and its effects (and there are several on our team who have done so) know that only fools – and psychopaths – will herald the banners of hate. The rest of us should stand firm, unified, against the many masks of hate.
Remembering Srebrenica: www.srebrenica.org.uk
Posted: 11 Jul 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Tuesday, 7 July 2015, 18:50
Today we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, a day in which we remember the victims and celebrate the survivors. It's also an important moment for London and for Britain - a chance to stand TOGETHER for the country we all want to share, in peace and unity.
A week ago we asked you to join us and #WalkTogether so we can show that we will not forget, We Are The Many and We Choose HOPE.
So thank you to the HOPE not hate supporters and some of our Trade Union Friends, from UNISON and TSSA, who joined other likeminded people and decided to #WalkTogether from the UNISON headquarters to Kings Cross, where we observed a minutes silence.
We stand united.
Posted: 7 Jul 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments