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Imams To ‘Reclaim Internet’ From Extremists

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 March 2015, 12:00


I’m really pleased to see that our friends over at Imams Online, one of our partners on the See It, Report It website, have launched a new online magazine to “reclaim the internet” from extremists.

Over 100 imams gathered in London for the launch of Haqiqah – or "the reality" – which has been created by British Muslim scholars as a direct response to the threat of radicalisation from groups such as Islamic State (IS).

Experts writing in the magazine will offer a counter-narrative to the radical rhetoric of IS and other groups. They will provide clear explanations of verses of the Qu’ran that have been used by extremists to urge youngsters from across Europe and the Islamic world to leave their homes to fight.

"We're turning the tide," said Shaukat Warraich, the chief editor of Imams Online.

"Though we still have a way to go, we know that by taking efforts to support and mobilise the huge online Muslim population, we will eventually drown out the violent voices.".

Along with initiatives like #NotInMyName from the Active Change Foundation and Inspire’s #MakingAStand, it’s heartening to see British Muslims coming forwards and leading the online fight against the so-called Islamic State’s recruitment drive.

No-one should estimate how hard this fight will be: there are as many as 70,000 pro-IS Twitter accounts, while the group also uses other social media networks such as the open-source site Diaspora, and has its own magazine.

Social media, not just mosques or places of worship, is the new battleground and we must do everything we can to support the voices of the Muslim community in standing up to the pedlars of hate.

 Posted: 27 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Which side of history will Britain be on slavery?

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Wednesday, 25 March 2015, 11:58


Today is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Events across the world will honour the lives of those who died as a result of slavery or experienced the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade.

While many will see it as an occasion to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice and the plight of the 36 million people across the world who live in modern slavery, the 13,000 people living in slavery in the UK are putting all their HOPE in the Modern Slavery Bill going through parliament.

But while on the world platform Britain is keen to portray itself as a champion of putting slavery to an end, at home the government cannot hold its head high given their track record.

On 17 March, Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of the House of Commons voted out the Lords amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill, which had included important protections for migrant domestic workers – principally the right to change employers, which have allowed them both to negotiate with employers and given them a realistic option to escape abuse.

Furthermore, it is this same government who in June 2011 refused to sign the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and instead introduced a system by which they chained migrant domestic workers to their employers. Last week, the minister responsible for modern slavery and organised crime, Karen Bradley, again rejected the suggestion made by Member of the Opposition that the UK government do the decent thing and finally ratify the ILO convention.

On 16 June 2014, HOPE not hate, Justice 4 Domestic Workers, KALAYAAN and UNITE the Union handed in a petition and postcards with 10,000 signatures asking David Cameron to end slavery for Domestic Migrant Workers in the UK. 16,000 people are now asking for justice to be done and for parliament to bring back HOPE for domestic workers turned modern day slaves in the UK.

Today, the Modern Slavery Bill bounces back to the Lords for consideration of Commons' unforgivable changes. If not today, on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery, then when will this government decide to be on the right side of history and put their deeds where their words are?

Please take to social media and remind Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of both houses that you would not want to be #ChainedToYourBoss and thus help migrant domestic workers in the UK regain their freedom and HOPE.

 Posted: 25 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Day 15 - #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour - Mother's Day in Newcastle

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Monday, 16 March 2015, 09:16


The #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour has come to an end. The final stop - Newcastle, on a sunny, even if fairly chilly, Mother's Day Sunday.

We proudly offered 200 carnations to all the mums who registered to vote. A small gesture of gratitude to all the mothers in the city, and symbolically in the country, who keep us safe and on a sound path of HOPE.

Charlie Hardwick, Emmerdale's Val Pollard, who already landed her support to the campaign, could not stay away and joined us in thanking current mothers for their contribution and inspiring future ones to stand up and make their voice heard for Our Britain.

Thus culminates a journey of democratic engagement that was a logistical nightmare, but a privilege to be part of. And the strap line of the #NoVoteNoVoice mobilisation trip reads:

  • 15 days across England and Wales engaging vulnerable groups and marginalised communities
  • hundreds of individuals who will not be silenced thanks to the decision to take voter registration to the road, to town centers, to campuses, to workplaces, to places of worship, to the door steps
  • more than 3,000 pledges to register and double the number of pledges to make sure Our Voices, Our HOPEs get heard on 7 May
  • the biggest civil society coalition in the history of Voter Registration thanks to Daily Mirror, Unite the Union, HOPE not hate, Operation Disabled Vote, Operation Black Vote, Vote Booster, Bite the Ballot, NUT and NUS joining forces.
But the journey does not end here. HOPE not hate will continue to engage communities up and down the country until the 20th April voter registration deadline and beyond.

Find out how you can get involved at http://www.ourvoiceourhope.co.uk/get-involved/

 Posted: 16 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Day 14 - #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour - Leeds

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Sunday, 15 March 2015, 08:34


The #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour is almost coming to an end.

On one of its final stops, it came to Leeds, more precisely to Headingly, where almost 4,000 students have dropped of the register. This is on top of the estimated 8,000 adults living in the ward who were not on the register even before the changes to voter registration.

HOPE not hate volunteers engaged and registered the most vulnerable and those most likely to be left voiceless - students and members of this diverse community.

Makkah Masjid Mosque, which serves the Muslim communities of Headingley, Hyde Park, Universities and surrounding areas, hosted us for a VR drive after the prayers.

Imam Qari Asim, the first Imam ever, who leads daily prayers in a mosque, to be awarded an MBE, is a great supporter of HOPE not hate and a campaigner for grass roots empowerment and democratic engagement.

All in all a great day, from which I take the words of Holly March, a 19 year old Chemistry student who told me: "I love the diverse community I live in. And if I am not quite sure whom I am going to end up voting for, I had to make sure I register to vote because I know who I do not want to represent me, to talk or act on my behalf".

 Posted: 15 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Day 13 - #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour - Emmerdale

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Saturday, 14 March 2015, 08:16


A huge thank you to the cast of Emmerdale who support the #NoVoteNoVoice campaign, but especially to Fiona Wade, John Bowe, Anthony Quinlan, Charlie Hardwick, Joe Gill and John Middleton.

They met the #NoVoteNoVoice bus today and spoke to us about the need to register and vote to ensure you get heard, to ensure you hold to account the few who represent the many.

They want to send an appeal especially to young people that this election is going to be the biggest test in a generation, so every vote, every voice counts.

So remember, register to vote before 20th April and make sure to vote on 7th May.

And do watch Emmerdale :)

 Posted: 14 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A massive thank you

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 14 March 2015, 05:15


Yesterday I blogged about HOPE not hate needing another £1,826 to reach our £8,000 target we needed to print the 250,000 12pp booklets for women voters in our key constituencies.

I'm really pleased to say that thanks to the superb generosity of our supporters we have not only reached our total but sailed way past it.

In fact, yesterday alone, we raised over £9,000!

That means, in total, we have raised £15,639 – from 872 people.

We can now print our booklets and stuff them into individually addressed envelopes for our target voters.

The scale of the response from our supporters has been heartwarming but also reflects the growing concern about The Real UKIP, with Farage’s most recent intervention about abolishing our laws concerning racial discrimination testament to their underlying extremism.

 Posted: 14 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Last call

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 13 March 2015, 11:39


Last Sunday we launched an appeal to raise £8,000 to print 250,000 copies of a 12-page booklet for women voters in the 15 constituencies most at risk to UKIP.

The great news is we've raised £6,174 - but that still leaves us £1,826 short.

Sorry to ask you for money again but this is our most important appeal of the campaign. By raising the £8,000 we can personally address this booklet to 15,000 voters in each of the 15 seats UKIP could win. It will go to those women voters who are unlikely to support UKIP - in a bid to persuade them to get out and vote - and to those who are attracted to UKIP but who could be won over.

Can you chip in before our midnight deadline?

We are producing this because all the research shows that women are much less likely to vote UKIP than men, so the more women who vote the harder it will be for UKIP to win MPs.

This is the last call for us to reach our target

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/women-can-make-the-difference

A similar booklet we produced in 2010 proved to be our most successful piece of literature against the BNP. With your help we can turn the tide in the very constituencies most at risk to UKIP.

This will be our last fundraising email for a while so please help us raise the £1,826 we need by midnight.

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/women-can-make-the-difference

 Posted: 13 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Day 12 - #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour - Sheffield

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 13 March 2015, 08:37


Just in one ward in Sheffield, Central ward, 4,000 students have vanished of the electoral roll.

This is despite the fact that Sheffield University is the first big UK university to convince the Electoral Services in the local council to use student ID numbers, which are so much easy to have on you than the National Insurance number, when doing Voter Registrations drives. As 1 million young people dropped of the register in December last year, Electoral Registration Officer's were given the discretion to allow the usage of student ID numbers for VR, but very few of the ones we approached even knew they had such power. Now, thanks to HOPE not hate organisers on ground Cardiff, Brent, Southampton, Lancaster, Brighton, Nottingham, Manchester and others have allowed students to find their voice more easily.

So Day 12 on the #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour had to be spent making sure the other students, those studying at Sheffield Hallam, have a voice too.

During two drives, one at the Hubs and another one at the Collegiate Crescent Campus, we registered dozens of students.

Among them was Louise, a 20 year old Psychology student, who told me "This is my last year of university. After this I am going to look for a job to make a career out of. But I am worried there are not enough jobs out there, and I am particularly concerned about equality in the workplace. I would have eventually remembered to register to vote, but having seen the bus I told myself better sooner rather than later".

Tim also registered on the day. The issue of jobs is important for him too, "but not because I might not find one, but because it might not pay enough to pay off my debt, my student loan. I made my mind about whom to vote for, but I just did not have the time to register. I am happy so many registered today, I mean, who will say no when a VR bus come to you?"

 Posted: 13 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Days 11/ 12 - Harry Leslie Smith urges young people to take stand for our HOPEs and dreams

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Thursday, 12 March 2015, 20:04


Days 11 and 12 on the #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour were spent in Manchester. The city that will forever remain in my memory as the place where I heard one of the most inspirational talks in my life. Here I had the honour to listen to and talk to WWII veteran and campaigner Harry Leslie Smith who urged young people at the University of Manchester to seize their destiny and register to vote.

Harry, on top of being a child labourer at the age of seven and having lived on the brink of starvation for 10 years, found himself on the front line in the most defining moment in British and European history. He is one of the most passionate campaigners for social equality and the preservation of the NHS.

Below is an extract from his impassioned plea to the young people of this country:

"I am not going to lecture you about the war dead from my generation who sacrificed their lives for democracy and freedom. I know every generation has a responsibility to their ancestors, their contemporaries and their decedents.

I know you have that same gumption and that same thirst for social justice as my generation did.

I only came here to tell you a simple truth, if you don’t register to vote your society will die along with your HOPEs and dreams for a decent life for yourselves and for your offspring.

My generation was much like yours today because we were cynical about politicians and distrusted elections as they only seemed to maintain our misery.

[But] many from my generation resolved to vote in that 1945 General Election because we wanted to create a more equal Britain.

So when I voted for the first time I, like most everyone else of my generation, I voted for the future. I voted for justice, I voted for democracy, I voted for the right of everyone to a decent standard of living and the creation of the NHS.

I am not saying that voting will cure all of our problems whether they are economic or social. But... it would be a great misfortune for your future, and Britain’s future to not participate in something that will make a difference for good or ill to your lives.

Regardless of your political beliefs your personal beliefs or convictions you must register to vote. Then you must go on Election Day and vote with your head, your heart for a new tomorrow.

Some have called my generation the greatest but I think your generation will be the greatest because you will finish the job my generation started. I wish all of you a long and happy life, seize your destiny by voting and being engaged with your society.

Please remember for everyone's sake No Vote, No Voice!"

And many of the students who came to the talk and other students we met at Manchester SU acted on his call to register to vote and get their voice heard. Given that 56,000 voters have dropped of the register in Greater Manchester, many of them students, this is just the start.

Among them Stephanie O'Brien who told me: "I made sure all my friends and family registered to vote and will go out and vote on 7 may because you cannot moan from the sidelines that no one listens to us, if we ourselves are not willing to keep them in check. Like Harry said - "if power is held by the few, the many will suffer a lifetime of misery."

 Posted: 12 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Day 10 - #NoVoteNoVoice VR bus tour - Liverpool

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Wednesday, 11 March 2015, 07:54


I thought quite a bit about what I should write in today's blog.

For a while I set my mind on writing about the Voter Registration drive at The Casa, the bar on HOPE Street in Liverpool that is steeped in the history of the trade union movement, in the struggle for equality and justice. And the great women and men I met there, who over a pint of beer and ham sandwiches, reminder me that the people united will never be defeated.

But I decided to focus on the story of a homeless person who approached us as we were about to set off on another day on board the #NoVoteNoVoice bus. He had been trying for a while to find out if he can vote, given that he has no fix address. He had no idea how to register to vote, the fact that he needed to get a correspondence address and also ask the Electoral Services in his local council for a form called a ‘Declaration of local connection’.

The joy on his face, when we told him that he too has a right to vote like everyone else and how he can go about making sure his voice gets heard, will stay will me for a very long time.

So, today I would like to share with you all why I think it is important to register and vote:

  • Fewer people on the electoral register, means further cuts to local services.
  • Use Your Power, have your Voice Heard and send politicians a clear message - They Work for You and for Our Britain!
  • If YOU don’t vote, others will make the decisions for YOU or you will be ignored all together.
  • 8 million people in the UK with the right to vote are already unregistered. Don't be one of the voiceless.
  • Voting gives you an opportunity to BE PART of the decision-making that will affect your life and the future of those you love -- instead of watching powerless from the sidelines.
  • Remember - It is Your youth club, Your pavement, Your park, Your school, Your NHS, Your Member of Parliament, Your Voice, Your Power.

You can make a difference!

 Posted: 11 Mar 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments