HOPE not hate


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Celebrating the Big Iftar

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 29 June 2014, 21:49

Guest blog: Hazel Nolan

The festival of Ramadan starts today. It is a time for fasting, reflection and giving for all Muslims. At HOPE not hate, we believe it should also be a time of coming together; a time to remember what we have in common.

During the recent European and local elections we’ve seen political parties and the media whip anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments. We've seen how issues surrounding Halal meat and extremism in a handful of schools in Birmingham has been used by some to smear all Muslims and the Islamic faith.

Given all this, HOPE not hate believes it is more important than ever to stand together with Britain's muslim communities, and there is no better time to do it than Ramadan. That’s why we want to invite you to join us, and Muslim organisations by celebrating Ramadan through coming together for the Big Iftar - an initiative to open up mosques and other community buildings to non-Muslims and share a meal.

Find a Big Iftar near you: http://thebigiftar.org.uk/events

Now, more than ever we need to stand up for each other. Let’s show the press and the politicians what real British values are: standing up for each other, respecting each other, and that we are all part of one big society!

Attending a Big Iftar event - a meal to break the fast - is one way of doing that.

 Posted: 29 Jun 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Government bans more Al Muhajiroun front groups

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 June 2014, 10:45

Al Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary

Al Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary

The British Government has today announced that it is banning three more Al Muhajiroun front groups - Need4Khilafah, the Shariah Project and the Islamic Dawah Association.

"Terrorist organisations should not be allowed to escape proscription simply by acting under a different name," said Security Minister James Brokenshire.

This follows earlier bans on Islam4UK, al-Ghurabaa, The Saved Sect and, more recently, Muslims Against Crusades.

What difference this will make is questionable. Earlier bans have just resulted in immediate name changes and new organisations led by the same individuals popping up and, as Anjem Choudary has recently admitted, the network and even organisational structure remains the same.

The news of the ban comes as Choudary is in Denmark to launch 'Islam 4 DK'. For many years, Al Muhajiroun has operated under the name Kaldet til Islam, but after its leader Shiraz Tariq (aka Abu Musa) was killed in Syria, and the group came under intense scrutiny for recruiting people to fight abroad, they have decided on a name change and relaunch.

The organisers boast of attracting support from "all sections of the Danish community including Bosnians, Somalians, Turks, Tunisians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Yemenis, Armenians, Lebanese and even Danes."

The Danish leader of Islam 4DK is Abu Soliman.

 Posted: 27 Jun 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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New report: Britain First – Army of the Right

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 19 June 2014, 14:09

Today HOPE not hate launches the first ever comprehensive report into the militant Christian fundamentalist, Loyalist-linked gang, Britain First (BF), one of the fastest-growing movements on Britain’s far-right scene.

Staffed by former BNP members, and soaking up support from the collapsed EDL, Britain First has established a massive social media presence and deliberately courted confrontation with its ‘Christian Patrols’ in London’s East End. Its self-styled “mosque invasions” in London, Bradford, Glasgow and Luton have generated a wave of revulsion and anger among the Muslim community.

On Facebook, meanwhile, its clever use of social media – sending out messages about the Armed Forces and animal rights issues, plus ‘buying in’ followers – has seen it rise to nearly half-a-million ‘likes’, with many users unaware of its deep and worrying links to Loyalism and Protestant extremism in Northern Ireland.

In our report, ‘Britain First – Army on the Right’ we reveal that the real leader behind the most dangerous group on the Far Right in Britain today is not frontman Paul Golding (an ex-BNP councillor and publicity officer) but a more sinister figure: Jim Dowson, a long-time Protestant Christian extremist, involved in anti-abortion extremism and whipping up hatred during violent flag protests in Northern Ireland last year.

Dowson is a money man who ran the BNP’s fundraising operation for several years, making the party (so he boasted) closed to £2m, before spectacularly falling out with Nick Griffin in 2010 – a fallout which was to have violent ramifications.

We also reveal that Britain First takes its inspiration from Loyalist movements of the early 20th century, aping their uniforms and militant training, with nationwide ‘fight clubs’ as BF cadres prepare for violent confrontation with Muslims. Already the group has staged several high-profile stunts outside the homes of Muslim extremists from the al-Muhajiroun network (whom we also exposed in the ground-breaking ‘Gateway to Terror’ report) and clashed with its supporters at demonstrations.

Unchecked, Britain First is an unhinged and violent force that brings discord and disharmony wherever it ventures. It must not be permitted to succeed with its attempts to ignite a backlash against Muslims. HOPE not hate will be unveiling further initiatives this year to assist activists in understanding and dealing with anti-Muslim hatred.

Britain First – Army on the Right

 Posted: 19 Jun 2014 | There are 6 comments | make a comment/view comments

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End Slavery for Domestic Migrant Workers in the UK

posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Monday, 16 June 2014, 14:25

Today, 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.

Thank you so much to all the HOPE not hate supporters who signed the petition. Our work continues until justice is done and No. 10 brings back HOPE for domestic workers turned modern day slaves in the UK.

 Posted: 16 Jun 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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We need to help Rupa

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 13 June 2014, 12:34

Rupa escaped a smart central London apartment when she felt she had no other choice.

Her employers were Indian and Rupa had worked for them for over four years. She accompanied them to London, for what she thought was a short holiday in order to be their nanny.

But it soon became clear that this wasn't a 'holiday' and that she would be in London for longer then a couple of weeks.

Her passport was taken from her by her employers as they boarded the plane from India and she never saw it again.

In the UK, Rupa was permanently on call, day and night. She slept on the floor next to the baby’s cot and never had a breaks or a day off. She didn’t have a key to the house and never went out except with her employers. She was paid just £26 a week and was regularly abused by the baby’s mother.

She eventually ran away because she could take it no longer.

She sought help, but there was little anyone could do. New visa rules, introduced in 2012, tied her to her employer. As a result she could not find alternative work and going to the police would have likely led to her being arrested and deported.

Defeated, Rupa finally decided to go back to her employers.

If Rupa’s story appalls you then join us in calling on the Government to give these vulnerable workers some protection.

Sign the letter here


 Posted: 13 Jun 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Appalling Spectator cover

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 13 June 2014, 08:14

This week's Spectator magazine carries a cover image of a young schoolboy holding a large copy of the Qur'an under one arm and an even larger curved sword in his other hand.

The cartoon is supposed to reflect several pieces inside, from Douglas Murray and others, about Muslim extremism within schools and mosques (the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ plot/hoax). It comes after an Ofsted report concluded that five Birmingham schools were not doing enough to protect their children against extremism and poor governance (in the same issue of the magazine, Spectator contributor and former Conservative MP, Matthew Parris, calls evidence for a plot “flimsy”).

However, the cartoon is quite something else.

It is stigmatises all Muslims, and Muslim children, with violence. It implies that their faith itself (with the image of the Qu’ran and sword) is to blame. This is unadulterated hatred – and we wouldn’t put up with it against any other religion.

The issue in Birmingham is about attempts by religiously conservative governors and parents to instil stricter Islamic teaching and values in schools. The fact that these were state-funded, not faith, schools is the relevant issue.

However, there is no evidence whatsoever that these religious conservatives have any links to terrorist organisations or have encouraged support for violent extremism. The Spectator cover deliberately conflates the two issues and, even worse, by including the Qur’an, implicates an entire religion.

As Matthew Parris writes in the same issue of The Spectator: “The truth may be that all that has been happening in parts in Birmingham where British Muslims form the great majority, and where teachers and pupils are mostly from the same community, is that state schools have absorbed the cultural flavour of the locality they serve.”

The Spectator cover does nothing to further this debate. By its crude symbolism, it is nothing more than an attack on the entire Muslim religion. It conflates illiberal religious conservatism with terrorism and, as a result, risks whipping up further anti-Muslim prejudice.

This is not the kind of ‘British values’ I want in my name.

Just as the New Statesman rightly had to apologise for a cover showing the Star of David standing on a Union Jack, with the words: "A kosher conspiracy?”, so the Spectator should be taken to task and apologise for its ‘Taught to hate’ cover.

 Posted: 13 Jun 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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D-Day saluted

posted by: HOPE not hate | on: Friday, 6 June 2014, 12:44

D-Day sand sculptures honour the fallen

D-Day sand sculptures honour the fallen

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day that the invasion, known as Operation Overlord, of Nazi-occupied France began, opening a long-awaited second front against fascism in Europe.

In the first five days of the invasion along the coast of Normandy on five beaches code-named Sword, Gold, Omaha, Juno and Utah, and backed by massive airborne forces, no fewer than 326,000 troops, 54,000 vehicles and 104,000 tons of supplies were landed.

On D-Day itself, 156,000 Allied troops, overwhemingly Americans, British and Canadian stormed the beaches, some – as at Omaha – sustaining greater levels of casualities than others.

At the end of 6 June 1944, 4,413 Allied troops had been killed. In the extended Battle of Normandy that followed the invasion, 209,000 were killed, wounded or missing. More than 20,000 French civilians were also killed in Allied bombing raids and by German artillery.

The heroic sacrifices made by the brave soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied forces – drawn from numerous countries, many of them occupied by Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS hordes – should never be forgotten.

Their courageous actions and those of the French Resistance which aided them, which spelled the beginning of the end for Hitler’s barbarous Nazi regime and its entire apparatus of terror, already in full retreat in face of the advancing Red Army on the Eastern Front, form, like the epic struggle at Stalingrad, an essential part of the annals of anti-fascism.

We salute those veterans of the landings gathered today in Normandy to commemorate D-Day and those unable to attend through age and infirmity.

HOPE not hate

 Posted: 6 Jun 2014 | There are 6 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Do anti-UKIP attacks work? Well, maybe

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 2 June 2014, 20:31

A lot has been written in the media over the last few weeks claiming that the campaign against UKIP ahead of the European Elections failed and that the strategy of exposing their racism was ineffective. However, new research shows that this approach might have been more successful than some commentators have thought.

While UKIP obviously came first in the European Elections, the attitude of the general public towards them has soured.

According to YouGov President Peter Kellner, far more people have a negative attitude towards UKIP than five years ago. A majority of people, 53%, view UKIP negatively compared to 39% in 2009.

This would seem to suggest that the anti-UKIP message got through to people.

In his latest weekly email, Kellner dispels some of the commonly held views about UKIP and the significance of their recent European election success. Despite the rise of the share of the vote, Kellner actually says that fewer people are as hostile to the EU as they were five years ago and significantly fewer people believe that "most British politicians are personally corrupt" than in 2009.

Of course there is no room for complacency as UKIP did energise their supporters to vote, but as the main political parties ponder how to respond they should remember that the overwhelming majority of Britons did not vote for them but also strongly reject their message.

 Posted: 2 Jun 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments