HOPE not hate


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Remove the England captaincy from John Terry

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 21 December 2011, 21:10

Racism in football is back in the news this week with the eight match ban handed down to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrick Evra and, today, the news that John Terry is facing criminal prosecution for allegedly racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

The Football Association is just as much in the dock as its reputation and credibility is scrutinised at home and abroad. The stakes were raised last month when the FA spoke out at the apparent indifference towards racism in football by FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, after he claimed that racial abuse on the field could be dealt with by a handshake after the game.

The FA appear to have handled the Suarez case in accordance with the rules and appear only to have come to their judgement after much deliberation. It is sad that Suarez’s Liverpool team-mates and manager rallied round him without even slightest concern of his guilt. Wearing T-shirts in support of him undermines efforts to stamp out racism within the game. Let us just hope that at some stage in the future these same Liverpool players, who appear so quick to jump to Suarez’s defence, are not left annoyed with players of a rival team who rally round someone who has abused one of their own.

The John Terry incident raises even more serious questions. Obviously he is innocent until proven guilty, but it seems totally inappropriate for him to remain England captain whilst criminal charges hang over him. He was stripped of the captaincy after a Sunday newspaper exposed an extra-material affair so it would only seem correct that he is once again forced to stand down as captain while charges of using racist language exist.

English football has done much to rid itself of racism over the last fifteen years and we can rightly boast to have the most pro-active national football association on this issue anywhere in Europe. The FA should act decisively over John Terry’s captaincy rather than be forced to act later under pressure. How can we seem to lecture other countries and FIFA if they fail to deal with this issue swiftly? If John Terry is found not guilty then he can regain the captaincy at some future date. If he has the interests of the game, and indeed the national team, at heart then he will also want to step aside as soon as possible.

 Posted: 21 Dec 2011 | There are 9 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Beyond the BNP responses

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 12 December 2011, 10:28

I managed to get a few days away last week so I was delighted to come back to hundreds of replies to the Beyond the BNP essay I sent out last week. The essay, and the responses, will form the basis of our work next year so it is obviously really important we get it right. I would just like to say thank you to everyone who read the essay and spared the time to send me their thoughts.

I'm still working my way through them but I've selected a few which caught my eye:

“The plans look terrific. A much broader spread of issues and approaches. I haven't read the full Fear & Hope report(yet!)so the following thoughts may not be relevant, but...

I would like to see Hope Not Hate moving to being a more "community wide" organisation that fights prejudice/bigotry/fascism from WHEREVER it stems. I think HNH has been largely seen as being an antiBNP/EDL organisation, rather than an organisation that fights prejudice/bigotry/fascism in all its forms in an attempt to build a progressive, modern society. HNH should be (and be SEEN to be)critical of more than just what I might lazily call "white working class" bigotry. Focus on ALL the people who try to divide us, be they BNP/EDL or Anjem Choudary and his ilk.

Good luck and thanks for all you do.”

Kevin, Burgess Hill

“It is good to move beyond the BNP but as well as campaigning against the 'Haters' we might also be able to promote the 'Hopers'. i.e. promote the good work say, the local mosque' is doing in one area, possibly organising social meetings where different groups can get together and share views.”

Mark, North London

“I think that it is brilliant that HOPE not hate is moving into a more pro-actively positive approach to the campaign to combat fear and lack of knowledge in our communities.

There is no doubt that many, ordinary, fairly decent people are encouraged to fear the impact of immigration on their housing, jobs and schools. activities which work towards an 'us' rather than 'them' view will help dissipate this fear, I think. We tend to fear the unknown, whatever or whoever that is.”

Margaret, Richmond, North Yorkshire

“I'm fine with your plans and proud of you for what you've achieved but I wonder if HNH should confine itself to racial hatred. Hate crimes against the disabled are becoming a big worry for me. See, for example, Ian Birrell's piece in Sunday's Observer. I'm a director of a registered social housing provider and we have had incidents of hate crime against a couple of our disabled residents. If HNH got their teeth into this issue it would be marvellous.”

Elizabeth, Chelmsford

 Posted: 12 Dec 2011 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Extremists rounded up

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 3 December 2011, 19:06

Over 20 supporters of the Islamist extremist group, United Ummah, were arrested by police yesterday after a demonstration outside the US Embassy against the recent drone attack in Pakistan which killed 24 soldiers.

United Ummah is the latest incarnation of Al Muharjiroun, a group which over the last few years has also been called Islam 4UK and more recently Muslim Against Crusades. All have been banned by the Home Office. While United Ummah is not a proscribed organisation it is clearly Al Muharjiroun in another guise.

Al Muharjiroun promotes terrorism and has acted as a conveyor belt for terrorist organisations. It is strongly anti-semitic and anti-Christian and has appalling attitudes towards women, Muslims who do not support its fundamentalist agenda and homosexuals.

I just wish that the British authorities would take an equally robust position against the English Defence League. While EDL supporters might not have been involved in same types of terrorist attacks like those who have been involved in Al Muharjiroun, they do pose a more serious threat to local communities up and down the country and have been involved in appalling racism and violence.

 Posted: 3 Dec 2011 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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The shame of honour attacks

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 3 December 2011, 18:27

Banaz Mahmod was killed by relatives in 2006

Banaz Mahmod was killed by relatives in 2006

The report into the level of so-called "honour" attacks in Britain (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16014368) is truly shocking and cannot be ignored. Woman have been shunned, beaten and even killed because they have not conformed to the wishes of their families or their communities. The 2,823 incidents recorded last year is probably only the tip of the iceberg as several police forces could not provide data for the research.

There will be some who say that highlighting this problem plays into the hands of racists but ignoring the issue is letting down the women who are the victims of these attacks.

It is imperative for anyone who believes in equality and tolerance that we speak out against honour attacks and encourage stronger legislation and awareness amongst police forces, health services and communities of all backgrounds. The campaign against honour attacks is being led by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (http://ikwro.org.uk/ ) and they have our full support.

 Posted: 3 Dec 2011 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments