HOPE not hate

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To ban or not to ban? A call for articles

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, 10:56


To ban or not to ban? How should we tackle extremism

Later today, Home Secretary Theresa May will announce plans to ban extremist groups and curb the activities of "harmful" individuals if the Conservatives win the next general election. Reports in the media today suggest that individuals could be stopped from speaking at public events, on television and their social media use limited under "extremism ASBOs". Police will be given greater access to the internet and all public bodies will have to develop counter-radicalisation strategies. At the same time, moderate groups will be supported and promoted.

Do you support these proposals? What are your own views about tackling extremism?

HOPE not hate is launching a public discussion about countering extremism and we want to hear your views. We will devote much of our November magazine to the topic and we will also be creating a mini-site to expand on the debate and allow a platform for discussion, ideas and good practice.

We are looking for contributions around the question of How should society tackle extremism?

There will be various streams to this debate, so ideas and contributions on them all will be useful:

  • What is extremism?
  • Where does extremism come from?
  • How should the Government tackle extremism?
  • How should communities tackle extremism?
  • What are the limits of freedom of speech?

Contributions should be sent to me at nick@hopenothate.org.uk by Monday 20 October and be up to a maximum of 600 words. Some will be selected for the magazine, while others will form part of our online discussion. With all contributions, please ensure you give your full name, the organisation you are from (if applicable), and your contact details (though these will not be made public).

HOPE not hate will use this discussion to formulate its own position, discuss this with our supporters and present it to politicians and policy makers well ahead of the general election.

 Posted: 30 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Inside the Islamic State

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 26 September 2014, 09:37


This is a short, but fascinating film of life for women in the Islamic State. It was secretly film by a French woman with a hidden camera.

http://mashable.com/2014/09/24/syria-hidden-camera/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

 Posted: 26 Sep 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Choudary arrested in anti-terror swoop

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 25 September 2014, 10:34


Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary

In the early hours of this morning, radical preacher Anjem Choudary and eight others from London and Stoke-on-Trent were arrested on suspicion of being members of a banned organisation and encouraging terrorism.

Police are currently conducting searches at 18 properties in London and one in Stoke-on-Trent.

While we are limited in what we can legally say at this moment, HOPE not hate has long argued that the authorities should take the al-Muhajiroun extremist network more seriously.

“We welcome these arrests,” said HOPE not hate chief executive Nick Lowles. “For over a year, since our own extensive investigations into Anjem Choudary and his disciples, we’ve been saying that more must be done to curb this hate-supporting and recruiting organisation.”

Despite it being officially proscribed, numerous other organisations – involving the same core network of individuals – have sprung up in al-Muhajiroun’s place.

Last year HOPE not hate produced the Gateway to Terror report, which linked over 80 convicted terrorists and bombers to al-Muhajiroun and highlighted how its network across Europe was the single largest recruiter sending fighters to Syria.

Supporters from London, Luton, Cardiff, Birmingham and Stoke have all gone to Syria. Both killers of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby, murdered in Woolwich last May, also had links with the network.

In addition, al-Muhajiroun has been outspoken in its support of the brutal and universally-condemned ‘Islamic State’ (IS) in Iraq and Syria, handing out pro-IS leaflets in London's Oxford Street.

Al-Muhajiroun grew out of a split from the Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, with AM founder Omar Bakri Muhammad now in custody in Lebanon, where he fled in 2005 shortly after the London 7/7 bombings.

  • Visit Gateway to Terror website to find out more about the the al-Muhajiroun network.

 Posted: 25 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Today is special

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 24 September 2014, 15:24


Today is something of a special moment for me.

It’s the culmination of months of work, as we release the book I’ve been writing across this summer: HOPE: The story of the campaign that helped defeat the BNP.

HOPE is more than just a ‘book’ though.

It’s the story of the campaign that is HOPE not hate: it’s my journey, and yours, and those of thousands of others like you who’ve generously supported or worked with us over the last 10 years.

Buy the book. It is 240 pages, have 117,000 words and has over 200 campaign photos and images.

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/10-years-of-hope-not-hate

Who would have thought that, back in those early days of 2004, we’d be here today: one of the UK’s largest political campaigns and with the BNP and other far-right movements lying in disarray?

Who would have thought the BNP, EDL and groups like Britain First would have collapsed so swiftly?

Celebrate what HOPE not hate has achieved over the last 10 years by reading HOPE

But we’re not standing still. HOPE is simply a chance for us to pause for a second, to look at the past triumphs (and recognise the difficult times, too), before we move to meet the challenges ahead.

It’s also a chance for us to honour everyone who’s been involved, who’s given so much time and energy to our efforts, and to show how we’ve grown and evolved.

Writing HOPE brought back a lot of memories and rekindled many friendships made over the years. It also allowed me to think what was important to us, to you and how we could involve everyone more intimately with HOPE not hate in the future.

That’s why today we’re launching a new mini-site to support HOPE’s launch, where you can order the book but also share your own personal story of “hope” with others.

HOPE is our story. I hope you enjoy it

Nick Lowles
#hopenothate10

 Posted: 24 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Back into the homeland

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:32


This weekend is the ISD memorial gig, the annual nazi skin fest to commemorate the movement's founder, Ian Stuart Donaldson, who died in a car crash in September 1993.

The two day gig, which starts tonight, is taking place on the Notts/Derbyshire border, which has long been at the heart of the British skinhead world. Indeed, Stuart-Donaldson was living here when he died.

It is likely to be a much smaller event than last year, when numbers were swelled by 4-600 foreign skinheads attending. Few overseas skinheads are making the trip this year and many in the UK have become so frustrated with the delay in organising the event that they too have chosen not to make it.

Headlining this year is the US band, Hate Machine, well, it's lead singer Denis Matthews to be precise as he is the only band member to have made the journey.

 Posted: 19 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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224 short

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 19 September 2014, 10:03


A staggering 4,776 people have now signed up to become HOPE not hate supporters this week, far exceeding our expectations. Our aim is now 5,000 by midnight tonight, so that means we need to find another 224 people in the next 14 hours.

If you support the HOPE not hate campaign, then please become an official supporter:

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/one-pound-for-hope

 Posted: 19 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE has arrived

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 14:19


My book on the HOPE not hate campaign has just arrived back from the printers and it looks lovely.

Called HOPE: the story of the campaign that helped defeat the BNP, the book is the inside story of the campaign against the BNP, with accounts from dozens of people who were involved. It runs to 240 pages, has 117,000 words and contains over 200 photos.

It will be available for sale next week.

 Posted: 18 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Let's keep things in perspective

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 10:31


The BBC website is running a story today claiming that the disgusting and violent antics if ISIS and the report into grooming in Rotherham is fuelling Britain's far right.

The BBC quote an unnamed Government advisor who claims that the far right in Britain is on the rise. This anonymous advisor claims to have 27 years’ experience. "This is one of the most worrying periods in right-wing extremism, given the growth in right-wing groups and the recent news events which are making them more angry," he explains.

This is not the view of HOPE not hate. Yes, certainly the antics of ISIS and the depressing report into grooming in Rotherham has played into a far right narrative about Muslims and it is quite possible that there has been an outpouring of hatred by cyber warriors sitting at home in their pyjamas. But there is no evidence that this is being translated into the real world.

The anonymous advisor claims membership to far-right groups is on the rise, and tells the BBC that "since last year, at least five new groups have formed, often having branched off from existing groups to follow a stronger ideology and comprising over 100 members."

This is complete nonsense. Yes, there might well have been five new groups formed in the past year but this is just indicative of the far right's decline and splintering.

Over the past 12 months we have had Stephen Lennon leave the EDL, Nick Griffin lost his Euro seat and been deposed as leader of the BNP and we've had Jim Dowson, founder of Britain First, walking out of the party in disgust at its racism.

Last Saturday 600 people joined an EDL march through Rotherham. That's 600 too many I admit, but this is nothing compared to demonstrations two, three or even four years ago. The BNP mobilised their northern units and managed just 30 people. Do you really think that if Stephen Lennon was still leading the EDL the group would not have got more there?

In my opinion, the traditional far right is the weakest it has been for many many years.

ISIS and Rotherham provide a narrative for the far right to exploit but the truth is, contrary to what the Government advisor says, it is not currently in a position to fully take advantage. Yes, we must always be vigilant against far right activity but we should keep a sense of perspective. More of a concern however, is how ISIS and grooming cases play into a more general anti-Muslim narrative.

 Posted: 18 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Another target reached

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 22:32


Over 3,000 people have now signed up to become HOPE not hate supporters, smashing our target and expectations. Our current total stands at 3,417, we are now hoping for 3,500 by midnight and then 4,000 by tomorrow.

By becoming a HOPE not hate supporter you will:

  • help decide our campaign priorities and direction
  • receive a HnH supporter newsletter
  • be invited to HnH meetings, events and trainings
  • be making a contribution to our 2015 campaign fund

Back us to continue our work

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/one-pound-for-hope

 Posted: 17 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Incredible response

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 13:22


Over 2,000 people have already responded to our appeal to become HOPE not hate supporters, which is an incredible response given that we only sent out the email two hours ago. At the beginning of the day I hoped that 2,500 would become registered 'supporters' by Friday, when the new rules kick in. This is now well within our reach, so now I'm increasing our target to 3,000 supporters by Friday.

As I mentioned in my email, this is being forced on us by the Lobbying Act, the new rules governing third party groups like HOPE not hate in the run up to General elections.

The Electoral Commission has even decided that you - our supporters and activists - must be considered members of the public unless you pay a financial contribution and so every email, telephone call or meeting we hold with you must be included in our election returns.

This is both stupid and undemocratic but unfortunately this is now the law.

As a consequence, we are creating a £1 HOPE not hate 'supporter' category so we can communicate and involve you in spreading our message without it counting as an election expense.

Become a HOPE not hate 'supporter' for just £1. Click here

By becoming a HOPE not hate supporter you will:

  • help decide our campaign priorities and direction
  • receive a HnH supporter newsletter
  • be invited to HnH meetings, events and trainings
  • be making a contribution to our 2015 campaign fund

Back us to continue our work

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/one-pound-for-hope

 Posted: 17 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Stand with me

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 11:44


On Friday, the regulated period for the 2015 General Election begins and every penny we spend on campaigning or exposing extremist and racist parties and politicians has to be recorded and reported to the Electoral Commission. Because of the recent Lobbying Act we will have 70% less to spend than we did in 2010 but we have to account for a far greater number of activities.

The Electoral Commission has even decided that you - our supporters and activists - must be considered members of the public unless you pay a financial contribution and so every email, telephone call or meeting we hold with you must be included in our election returns.

This is both stupid and undemocratic but unfortunately this is now the law.

As a consequence, we are creating a £1 HOPE not hate 'supporter' category so we can communicate and involve you in spreading our message without it counting as an election expense.

Become a HOPE not hate 'supporter' for just £1. Click here

By becoming a HOPE not hate supporter you will:

  • help decide our campaign priorities and direction
  • receive a HnH supporter newsletter
  • be invited to HnH meetings, events and trainings
  • be making a contribution to our 2015 campaign fund

Back us to continue our work

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/one-pound-for-hope

The new law has forced us to ask you to pay for the right to be a ‘supporter’, which I know is ridiculous because you are already the life blood of the organisation, so in return I want to give you the opportunity to get more involved in the organisation and have a bigger say in our future direction.

We have achieved so much together in the last 10 years now I hope you will stand with me as a HOPE not hate supporter so we can do even more in the next 10.

Thanks, Nick

Ps, I’ve written an essay reflecting on 10 years of HOPE not hate. I’d love you to read it

 Posted: 17 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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More HOPE, less hate

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 15 September 2014, 16:27


This summer has been a time for reflection for me. I've written a book celebrating the 10 years of HOPE not hate (out next week), which charts our campaign against the BNP and culminates with Nick Griffin losing his Euro seat and the leadership of the party. At the same time, we’ve witnessed the terrifying rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, an extremism which is as bad as the Nazis.

I’ve written an essay about our achievements and where we are going now and I’d love you to read it

www.hopenothate.org.uk/hope/

I’ve also had time to mull over the 7,042 responses to the survey we sent out in late July. Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 5% of you agreed with the notion that the far right was dead despite the BNP’s electoral decline and 94% thought it was still important for us to monitor such groups even if they did not currently pose a major threat. Four in every five (85%), said that HOPE not hate should campaign to stop UKIP winning parliamentary seats next year and 79% said we should do more to combat other forms of violent extremism.

Most interestingly, three-quarters of you said that we should prioritise tackling racism in society and building community cohesion over simply focusing on hate groups. Clearly, people want more HOPE than hate!

I agree and this is reflected in my essay. Please read

www.hopenothate.org.uk/hope/

For too many years our message of ‘hope’ has been defined by what we were against but now, with the decline of the BNP, we have the chance to be more pro-active around our positive agenda. So from now on, you’ll be hearing a lot more HOPE from us.

We will continue to expose and undermine extremist groups but we will work harder to heal divisions within divided communities, bring people together and foster dialogue, so that ultimately communities can find common solutions to problems they all face.

If our last 10 years has been shaped around defeating hate, the next 10 should be about promoting HOPE – and I would very much love you to be part of that journey.

 Posted: 15 Sep 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Putin the new Hitler?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 7 September 2014, 10:26


In the run up to and during NATO’s gathering in Wales last week, politicians from across the political spectrum have been ramping up the rhetoric on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. David Cameron even went as far as to liken the dangers we are facing to that of Neville Chamberlain who, in the late 1930s, refused to act against Nazi Germany's advances against Czechoslovakia.

There have even been anti-fascists who have been equally apocalyptic in their attitudes to Putin’s motives and intensions, never losing an opportunity to link the Russian regime to Nazism and Nazis.

In late spring, a video was produced and circulated falsely purporting to show that Putin was the secret mastermind behind the far-right in Western Europe. It is as silly as the Russian media depicting the Ukrainian Government as nazi.

I don’t profess to be an expert on Ukrainian and Russian politics but what is abundantly clear is that there are fascists and violent ultra-nationalists on both sides of this conflict.

In fact, this conflict has split the international fascist movement, with some, like in France, Poland and the US, supporting the Ukrainians and others, like the Serbs and Greeks, backing the anti-Kiev rebels.

This is a conflict rooted in hundreds of years of nationalist history. It is about country borders that have been shaped through war and peace, with little regard for the people living there, hence the ability of both sides to commit war crimes against the followers of the other. And, given the nature of the conflict, it is of little surprise that both sides have utilised nationalists and extremists in their cause.

I'm not writing this to take a side in this conflict but what I do know is that Putin might be many things (and many of them unpleasant and authoritarian), but he is not the new Hitler. Saying he is not only is an insult to the millions of Russians who died in World War 2 but also sets us back in understanding this conflict.

 Posted: 7 Sep 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE - the story of the campaign that helped defeat the BNP

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 5 September 2014, 21:13


After 117,000 words and three hard months of work, my book about the HOPE not hate campaign has finally gone off to the printers. It'll be a few weeks before it is back but it's a great feeling to have got it finished.

HOPE - the story of the campaign that helped defeat the BNP traces our campaign from its origins as a response to the electoral rise of the BNP to our current community organising initiative.

It's been a lot of work getting it done but a really enjoyable experience, not least because it gave me an excuse to delve into our archives, catch up with people I hadn't seen for a while and recount some great stories.

The book is designed to be a tribute to the thousands of people who got involved in the campaign over the years, several dozen of whom have given their campaign stories. There are literally scores of photographs to accompany the inside story of our campaign.

Anyway, the book will be out in a few weeks so I hope you too can enjoy it.

 Posted: 5 Sep 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments