You are viewing blog items for June 2015.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 30 June 2015, 16:37
The anti-Semitic demonstration planned by neo-Nazis this coming weekend has been banned from Golders Green. It will instead take place in Whitehall for just one hour this Saturday.
This is an amazing victory – and we’d like to thank you all for your fantastic solidarity and support in saying NO! to antisemism. Thanks are also due to the Metropolitan Police for the work it has put into protecting our community.
Over the past few weeks we at HOPE not hate have had the privilege of working with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the London Jewish Forum under the banner of Golders Green Together, focusing on the positive energy and unity that is alive in the borough.
Over 50 political and community leaders joined us at the launch of Golders Green Together just under a month ago. Jews stood alongside Muslims, Hindus with Sikhs, and Christians with Buddhists, together with those of no religion. Fifty-eight (58) MPs also signed an Early Day Motion calling on the Home Secretary to take action and local MP Mike Freer used Prime Minister’s Question Time to raise the issue. We must thank them all, too.
We are grateful as well for everyone who helped us leaflet the area, for the schools who invited us in, the local shopkeepers who displayed our posters, and indeed everyone who helped spread the word about Golders Green Together. It has been an amazing show of unity – we’ve won! But this isn’t the end.
There’s still our Thunderclap to sign, which goes out at 5pm on Thursday evening – please do support it!
“I’m supporting #GoldersGreenTogether because I’m saying no to #antisemitism and yes to #unity on 4th July” – thndr.it/1dKzhSX
And on Friday morning we’ll celebrate by continuing with our plans to decorate Golders Green in gold and green. If you want to take part, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Posted: 30 Jun 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 30 June 2015, 11:28
Ten years ago, terrorists tried to divide us. Today HOPE not hate is joining a broad coalition of people, from all faiths and backgrounds, in calling for us all to come together and show that they failed.
Please join us and walk the last stop of your journey on 7 July, and show your support by sharing a photo using #WalkTogether.
7 July 2005 was just another Thursday morning and Londoners were on their way to work. But at ten to nine, terrorists detonated four bombs at Kings Cross, Aldgate, Edgware Road and Tavistock Square. 52 people lost their lives and over 770 were injured.
The victims were all of us: young and old, black and white, different faiths and none.
The tenth anniversary is a day to remember those whose lives were lost or changed forever. It's also an important moment for London and for Britain - a chance to stand up for the country we all want to share.
On that terrible day 10 years ago, London was shocked but it didn't grind to a halt. That evening, with public transport shut down, thousands of people walked home. But we were not divided - we walked together.
On Tuesday 7 July, we are asking people to walk together once again - to get off the bus, train or tube one stop early and walk, in a quiet moment of unity and remembrance of those who lost their lives.
Let's walk together
#Walktogether is a new initiative supported by Faiths Forum for London, Hope Not Hate, Islamic Society of Britain, Faith Matters, Trust for London, The Big Iftar, British Humanist Association, St John Ambulance, New Horizons in British Islam, City Sikhs, Inspire, JW3 Jewish Community Centre London, Armed Forces Muslim Forum and British Future.
The decade that has followed has been an anxious one for Britain. But none of us wants fear and hate to win.
The power of #WalkTogether will come from people all over Britain taking part. You can walk at any time of day, wherever you are, with friends and colleagues or on your own. Please show your support by sharing a picture of your walk using the #WalkTogether hashtag.
If you are interested in walking with other likeminded people then sign up here and we will put you in touch
I will email you again later this week with some more specific ideas of what you can do. In the meantime, put the date in your diary and make a commitment to yourself to make a stand for HOPE.
Join us and #WalkTogether
Posted: 30 Jun 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 27 June 2015, 15:27
Today should be a day to celebrate: Pride, the annual celebration of the LGBT community, is taking place in London. Thousands will be marching. Meanwhile, in the USA the Supreme Court has legalised marriage equality, leading the White House to bathe its building in the rainbow colours last night.
Just as the rainbow flag of hope rises, so too is pressure growing to remove the Confederate flag from official buildings and number plates in states such as South Carolina, following the murderous spree of white supremacist Dylan Roof. Roof had appeared many times holding the flag, which harks back to the days of division and slavery. A ‘Take It Down’ movement has rapidly spread across social media.
These are reasons to celebrate.
Yet as I write this, today is also a day for trepidation and mourning. We are still coming to terms with the massacre of nearly 40 (mostly British) tourists in a hotel in Tunisia, claimed by ISIS, whilst a man was decapitated by his ISIS-supporting employee, who then tried (and failed) to set off a series of devastating explosions in a factory in France. Meanwhile, the so-called Islamic State (or Daesh as it should be known) has also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack killing 27 and wounding hundreds, on a Shia mosque in Kuwait City, an attack on fellow Muslims that these fanatics consider to be heretics.
These are reasons for outrage.
There are difficult questions to ask, and difficult challenges ahead for our communities. Some will focus on security, others on the supposed culpability of Muslim communities, others still will insist there is something “wrong” with the very religion of Islam.
I know that while these questions are being asked, there are millions upon millions of Muslims who do not share ISIS’s views – that Ramadan is ‘the month of war’ – and who are instead celebrating Ramadan right now as the month of peace and reflection, of spiritual purity. From initiatives here such as The Big Iftar or Dine@Mine, to iftars (fast-breaking) events focusing on the homeless and non-Muslim neighbours, there are many, many Muslims reaching out to their neighbours.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions, nor seek answers, on difficult areas (remembering that that pendulum swings both ways: we all have questions to answer).
However, there are also other fanatics eagerly waiting in the wings for each atrocity. Beady-eyed zealots with their own perverted views, who thrive on and indeed need their brothers-in-arms in groups such as al-Muhajiroun and ISIS in order to justify their world view. Without the oxygen of publicity which the internet (and media) provides, it’s doubtful we’d have heard much from them in past eras.
Britain First is marching today in Luton, seeking to ignite racial and religious civil war under the banner of ‘the crusader’. A judge has imposed an interim injunction, banning them from entering any more mosques without written permission. They have been told by everyone – all the churches, mosques, police, council, local businesses – that they are not welcome. After meeting with local Christian leaders and promising to listen, what did they do? They travelled to the heavily-Muslim area of Bury Park and began insulting locals, filming themselves as ‘victims’ when people took exception. These are not the actions of any Christian I recognise.
Behind these thugs and their message of hate lies a whole movement, the self-defined ‘Counter Jihadists’, who are only too eager to we exploit further atrocities in order to inflame communal tensions.
It is only two days since a fanatic attached to an antisemitic and anti-Muslim neo-Nazi group was found guilty of attempted murder. His victim, whose hand he nearly severed with a machete, was a young Asian doctor. The attacker, Zack Davies, had mistaken him for a Muslim. He was filmed grinning for the cameras as he was taken in to court for his sentencing.
The same sick mindset which inspired Davies lies behind those neo-Nazis seeking to march in Golders Green next Friday, on the Jewish Shabat (sabbath). We’ve united behind the community, and many Jewish groups, to show we won’t be intimidated, by forming Golders Green Together. And it’s that message of unity I want to leave with you now, as we face the awful reality of ISIS’s actions.
It is in unity that we find strength, in unity we find hope, and in unity we can stand firm as the darkness approaches. Let us stand together – and stand firm – against the many faces of hate.
p.s. I’d like to leave you with the moving rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ by President Obama, in memory of his friend, the church leader and state senator Clementa Pinckney, murdered by Dylan Roof www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-33289324
p.p.s. There’s a Thunderclap which Golders Green Together is running: I urge you to support it.
Posted: 27 Jun 2015 | There are 15 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 25 June 2015, 15:39
- Part of antisemitic National Action group
- Increased risk of violence as traditional far right crumbles
Zack Davies, 26, was today found guilty of attempted murder, after attacking Sikh dentist Dr Sarandev Bhambra with a hammer and machete during a violent and unprovoked racist assault.
Davies had attacked Dr Bhambra in a supermarket in Mold, north Wales, on 14 January purely because of his skin colour. Yelling 'white supremacy!' and 'this is revenge!’, he attempted to sever his victim's left hand.
A disturbed young man, HOPE not hate can reveal that Davies was associated with an extreme neo-Nazi organisation called National Action (NA).
National Action has courted media and social media audiences with its extreme antisemitic beliefs and stunts.
Davies, who had been active as a racist/far-right troll for five years, told Mold Crown Court that his inspiration was the (so-called) Islamic State executioner, “Jihad John”. He also claimed that National Action “admired” ISIS. (Many National Action members and supporters have called their mission a “White Jihad”.)
Last year members of the group targeted Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger with more than 2,000 antisemitic hate messages over Twitter, for which one person, Garron Helm, was later imprisoned.
Supporters also videoed themselves defacing a Jewish memorial in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill park this month (June), whilst National Action was the main instigator of a so-called ‘White Man March’ in Newcastle in March.
Nick Lowles, HOPE not hate chief executive, said:
“Zack Davies believed National Action’s propaganda so seriously that he acted upon it. His vile attack was racially motivated. Yet in his ignorance he targeted a Sikh man rather than a Muslim, whom he blamed for Lee Rigby’s murder. It was sheer luck and the intervention of a former soldier that prevented Dr Bhambra losing his life.
“This incident is a sad reminder of the ever-present threat of neo-Nazi violence which, if anything, is growing in the UK. Though the far right is smaller than it has been for many years, the collapse of the British National Party and the English Defence League has led to the formation of smaller and more hardline, violent groups.
“National Action therefore reflects a newer, younger and more extreme generation of British neo-Nazis, who are fuelled both by antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.
“While much of the media and Government focus is upon Islamist extremism, we cannot and should not ignore the threat posed by far-right racists and neo-Nazis. As we have seen in this case, they feed off the narrative of Islamist violence and terrorism, as well as extreme antisemitism and utilise the power of social media to spread their messages of hate
Posted: 25 Jun 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 19 June 2015, 11:58
Lewis Carter thought he was being clever. A drummer with the Bristol-based Oi band Queesnbury Rules and Prime Suspects, Carter thought that by organising a Oi gig he could mix a good night out with the chance to gather together hundreds of like-minded friends to confront his local anti-fascists (Antifa) who had made his life fairly miserable.
A venue was booked for Saturday 20 June, the bands arranged and the flyers circulated around the country.
Among the bands advertised to play are London-based Last Orders, whose lead singer is John ‘Slaz’ Henderson, one of the leaders of C18, Citizen Keyne, Hooligan UK, Code 1 and Street Punk Drunks.
The only problem is that very few of his ‘friends’ plan to come and with Antifa knowing all about the gig it’s set to be a rather difficult night for Lewis and the band members. In fact, it’s fairly safe to say that Lewis Carter is now a deeply worried man.
Posted: 19 Jun 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 19 June 2015, 08:34
Every year, the importance of #WorldRefugeeDay becomes more acute.
Daily images of fellow human beings willing to die in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean in search of safety and HOPE, remind us that we are currently faced with the worse refugee crisis of our era. The UN’s Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) annual Global Trends report published yesterday shows 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2014, 8.3 million more than in 2013. Globally, the number of refugees grew from 16.7million to 19.5 million: half of them children.
If this was the population of a country, it would be the world's 24th biggest.
Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. And experts believe the situation is likely to worsen further still.
Despite the growing number of refugees globally, the number of people finding safety in Britain remains extremely low. According to UNHCR, Britain is home to just 0.6% of the world’s refugees. We also receive fewer than the EU average per head of population of asylum.
HOPE not hate has been campaigning with and for migrants for years. Last winter, dozen of HOPE not hate groups and thousands of volunteers told to government #DontLetThemDrown, in response to the decision to withdraw support for rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Not only was it both inhumane and unacceptable for a modern civilised country like ours, but, as we feared, it lead to even more deaths.
And in January this year, we published an eyewitness account from our colleague Joe Mulhall who captured the human stories of grief, despair and fear of those living in the informal settlement in Zakho, Northern Iraq.
We will cover this plight of human suffering in the next two issues of the magazine. So please get in touch at email@example.com if you want to share your story of survival or celebrate the life and contribution of a refugee or asylum seeker who lives in your community.
On this #WorldRefugeeDay, we must tell our politicians to stop turning their back and close their eyes, but uphold the moral principals that we claim make us a beacon in the modern world, especially in the year marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
Posted: 19 Jun 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 11 June 2015, 10:42
Just as we stand firm with the community in Golders Green against fascism and antisemitism, so too are we standing with the people of Luton as they face the threat of a march from the Muslim-hating group, Britain First.
Whilst stooping to a bizarre new low and filming himself with his girlfriend ranting at random Muslims in Luton’s Bury Park, Britain First’s Paul Golding has actually performed a service for the town and helped bring its communities together.
Christian leaders made an attempt to meet with Golding and Fransen – who, predictably, labelled them all “phoney Christians” (presumably because they don’t believe in invading others’ houses of worship…) – in a bid to convince the group to drop its plans to demonstrate through Luton on Armed Forces Day (June 27).
Our friend Peter Adams, a committed Christian and interfaith worker in Luton, said that “provocative” footage and divisive rhetoric from Britain First had only served to unite Luton together.
He said: “Every time this happens it unleashes more corrosive anger and it gnaws away at good community relations. However over the last six years, since EDL began, our engagement with local mosques has increased and it continues to increase each time we are called to respond to this kind of thing. We understand each other and we are unified in opposition to hatred.”
There is some tremendous work going on in Luton and we’re proud to be supporting those efforts. Initiatives such as Churches Together in Luton deserve our support, as does the local Muslim community.
Posted: 11 Jun 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2015, 20:54
It seems that we are set for a summer of provocation and Muslim-baiting from anti-Muslim activists across Europe. The BBC has reported yesterday that Dutch politician Geert Wilders is planning to show cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on Dutch TV in a slot that’s been allocated to his political party.
Wilders plans to show the cartoons that were on display at the anti-Muslim art exhibition in Texas organised by anti-Muslim activists Pam Geller and Robert Spencer which was attacked by two jihadists who were both shot dead by police in the process .
According to the BBC, Wilders will use a legal loophole that prevents party-political broadcasts from being edited for content to display the cartoons. The broadcast is reportedly scheduled to be aired in the coming weeks.
While Wilders claims to be defending free speech, his actions are clearly designed to provoke and inflame tensions. Wilders is well known for his Islamophobia and has repeatedly called for the Quran to be banned from the Netherlands and all new mosque buildings stopped.
It appears that Wilders will not be alone in pushing the Mohammed cartoons over the next few weeks. In Denmark, leading anti-Muslim activist Anders Gravers is planning to display Geller’s cartoons at the Folkemøde (The People’s Meeting) festival on the island of Bornholm later this month.
Gravers is co-founder and Leader of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) and a board member, along with Geller and Spencer, of Stop Islamisation of Nations.
And HOPE not hate also understands that discussions are taking place amongst anti-Muslim ‘counter-jihadists’ in this country about holding some similar stunt here over the summer.
EDL founder Stephen Lennon has already vocalized his keenness to put on a cartoon competition in the UK. "When I can, I will be holding the same event in Britain," he told IBTimes last month.
Lennon comes off licence next month and, as is revealed in the forthcoming issue of HOPE not hate, he plans to return to frontline anti-Islam activities with the active support of a shadowy group of counter-jihadists, including some members of the House of Lords.
While there are of course difficult issues around free speech, freedom of expression and the right to offend that we have to deal with head on, these freedoms are not absolute. There is one thing about an individual expressing a view that someone else might take offence to but quite another when it is politically motivated and designed to incite hatred and illicit a reaction in order to either stir up trouble or further divisions within and between communities.
And of course, for the 'counter-jihadists' like Lennon, this is not about freedom of speech, because if he was such a defender of the concept then surely we would be happy to extend that freedom to Anjem Choudary and his supporters when they abused returning British soldiers or burnt poppies.
Let us be clear. The publication and dissemination of these cartoons is designed to whip up anti-Muslim hatred and so, in this context, have to be opposed. It is a clear attempt to illicit a backlash from Muslims – ideally, in their eyes, a violent reaction – as this will only increase the premise the Islam is incompatible with so-called Western civilization and Muslims are violent, over-reacting intolerants.
If cartoons of Mohammed are displayed in Demark, Netherlands and the UK, then it is quite possible that other counter-jihadists across Europe will follow suit. If this happens then we are heading for a long, dangerous summer.
Posted: 5 Jun 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 June 2015, 15:15
You may have read about a fringe group of neo-Nazis planning to hold a demonstration in the heavily-Jewish area of Golders Green, in north London, on 4th July.
Although the demonstration is likely to be small and some of those involved are well-known to us (they claim to be demonstrating against “Jewish privilege”), we feel it is important to show our solidarity with the Jewish community at a time of rising antisemitism.
Therefore, we are proud to be part of a coalition, Golders Green Together (GGT), that is organising a series of positive, community-focused events that will run between now and 3rd July, the day before the planned demo.
GGT has been launched by the London Jewish Forum and ourselves. It is also being supported by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and has been fully discussed with the Community Security Trust.
We’re supporting a series of activities that are designed to celebrate the rich diversity and strong sense of community spirit that Golders Green has to offer.
We look forward to seeing the momentum of this positive campaign growing over the next few weeks. In the meantime, please follow GGT on Twitter @GG_Together or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the mailing list.
You can read the full Golders Green Together statement here.
Posted: 5 Jun 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments