HOPE not hate

Political

Share on FacebookTweet this
Anjem Choudary: ‘Cheerleader for the Islamic State’

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 16:19


Choudary finally pays for his actions

It has been a long time coming but finally Anjem Choudary, Britain's most prominent extremist cleric, is behind bars having been found guilty of supporting a terrorist organisation. A four week trial at the Old Bailey heard how he was a vocal and enthusiastic supporter of the Islamic State (IS) and an apologist for its brutal crimes.

Following IS’s announcement of its Islamic State in June 2014 and before his arrest in 2015, Choudary had emerged as one of the biggest cheerleaders for IS in the English-speaking world, pushing its message and announcing that people should support its self-declared Caliphate. At the same time, his followers were flocking to the Islamic State cause, at home and abroad.

Anjem Choudary became the go-to figure for TV outlets and newspaper journalists across the world, offering IS open and vocal support.

He welcomed IS’s creation and declared it “legitimate”.

In an interview with The Guardian he called IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "the caliph of all Muslims and the prince of the believers”.

He said that “It is not true that people are being slaughtered” and that minorities were being well-treated under IS rule.

In 2015 a key al-Muhajiroun member and leading Choudary acolyte, Abu Rumaysah, who had relocated to the Islamic State in Syria, produced A Brief Guide to the Islamic State which echoed Choudary’s words, ignoring the brutal reality of IS and instead painting a picture of a land of “scrumptious” falafel sandwiches and fruit cocktails.

Responding to the British media outcry following the beheading of Alan Henning, who was in Syria on an aid mission, Choudary told the Daily Telegraph: “In the Quran it is not allowed for you to feel sorry for non-Muslims. I don't feel sorry for him…I don't know the real story, I only heard from the British Government and media.”

More provocatively, Choudary revelled in telling the media that he would love to move to the Islamic State – if only the authorities would let him.

“I’d go tomorrow. I’d love to bring my children up there,” he told the Sunday Mirror. And he told The Times: “I believe the world belongs to God and that one day, hopefully, the UK will be part of an Islamic State. Why shouldn’t I be free to travel to the Khalifah [caliphate] and see what life is like under the Sharia?”

In 2013 HOPE not hate produced a seminal report into Choudary’s al-Muhajiroun (ALM) network called Gateway to Terror, revealing that scores of ALM-linked men had headed to fight overseas from Choudary-linked or inspired groups, from both UK and overseas.

Altogether HOPE not hate estimates that well over 100 Britons with some connection to Choudary and the al-Muhajiroun network have gone to Syria to fight. Most were from London, but others originate from Luton, Crawley, Cardiff, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Leicester, Derby, Leeds, Halifax and Manchester.

Choudary was also at the centre of an international network of interconnected extremists groups, many with connections to terrorism and jihadism, ranging from Belgium, to Germany, Denmark, Norway, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and even Indonesia.

In the eight months following the formation of the IS, Choudary's international network was probably the single largest recruiter of Jihadist fighters from Europe.

Justice has been a long time coming. For far too long, Anjem Choudary has played a key role as a cheerleader for ISIS, and been allowed to demonise the Muslim community.

Although he was treated as a somewhat clown-like, go-to figure for the press as a rent-a-quote extremist, he clearly promoted the disgusting and divisive ideals of the Islamic State, while dozens of his supporters have been connected to terrorist plots, violence or heading overseas to fight in Syria, Iraq and other conflicts.

In the six months following the creation of the Islamic State, Choudary was its biggest cheerleader in the English speaking world and the network he helped create became the largest recruiter for IS in Europe.

Over the last 15 years he has influenced and inspired over 100 Britons who have carried out or attempted to carry out terrorist attacks at home and abroad.

Finally Choudary can now pay for his actions.

 Posted: 16 Aug 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
Make new friends and get a free T-shirt

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 12 August 2016, 18:49


Next week HOPE not hate is going to formally launch its #MoreInCommon weekend, which we are holding over the weekend of 3rd and 4th of September. There will be dozens of community events across the country, all designed to bring people together from different backgrounds to celebrate what they have in common.

Make new friends and get a free T-shirt

Some of the events we are organising are large and will attracts thousands of people but most, however, will be much smaller and more community-focused.

But before we go public, I wanted to give you a chance to get involved and organise a community picnic in your area.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/organise-a-local-community-picnic

The community picnic is simple. You simply choose a local park, communal area or building and invite the people who live in surrounding area. You can share food, chat and play some games. What better way to get to know your neighbours and meet people who live locally who you might not know.

To help make the event a success, we will provide you with a #MoreInCommon community picnic pack. This will include a step-by-step guide to holding a community picnic, picnic rug, HOPE not hate Frisbee, rounders set, badges, balloons and a few 'sharing' recipes donated by celebrity chefs.

We can even help you produce a local leaflet and poster to promote it your event.

Host a picnic in your area

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/organise-a-local-community-picnic

Our free community picnic pack will also include suggestions about how to encourage conversation at the event and how to keep the connections going afterwards.

And what's better, if you organise a local picnic then we will give you a free #MoreInCommon T-shirt to wear on the day!

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/organise-a-local-community-picnic

After a summer which has seen Britain seemingly more divided than ever, what better way to start healing our divisions than by bringing people together around food and games.

Let's not forget, stronger communities means more resilient communities.

Organise a community picnic in your area and lets make new friends

 Posted: 12 Aug 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
EU nationals are not ‘bargaining chips’!

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Tuesday, 2 August 2016, 13:17


Photo by Christian Havrincea

Photo by Christian Havrincea

Yesterday, HOPE not hate submitted our Right to Remain petition to No 10.

The British people had spoken. HOPE not hate’s own research, conducted by Populus, found that 84% of Conservative voters back the right to remain of EU nationals, as do 85% of Labour voters, 95% of Lib Dems and even 56% of UKIP voters. In less than a week over 25,000 HOPE not hate supporters added their name to a petition asking for this guaranteed status before Article 50 is triggered. In doing so, they added their voice to thousands of others and the whole migrants rights sector.

The petition was needed because, in an atmosphere of rising tension and hate crimes, the remarks of the former Prime Minister that there would be ‘no immediate changes’ to the right to remain of the 3 million nationals living in the UK and the 1.2 million Brits living abroad was less than reassuring. The new Prime Minister too seemed unwilling to ensure they will not be used as ‘bargaining chips’ in future negotiations, thus exacerbating real anxieties for millions who have had their lives put on hold.

The petition was also needed because this attitude brings into question our British values – tolerance, inclusivity, justice – and the type of country we want to be after Brexit.

We are talking about people who have already invested their hopes, dreams, taxes and skills to make Britain great. We cannot allow them to become hostages in any future negotiation with the European Union. While they did not have a voice in the referendum, clearly the vote was partly about them and their mere presence and welcome in a country they, too, call home.

By adopting this policy, Theresa May has a unique opportunity to put the UK in a strong moral position before negotiations start. It will also alleviate the anxieties of EU residents who do not know if they should invest in buying a house or starting a family, who have children born here but have no certainty of keeping their jobs, or who have started businesses and have created opportunities in their communities but now feel scared and are considering taking their skills to other countries where they will feel welcome.

It would also send a clear statement to the minority with extreme views, who now appear to believe they have a licence to attack and harass migrants and minorities alike, that the British public finds their views repugnant and unwanted in our society.

It now rests on Prime Minister Theresa May to unite British citizens and residents, to offer hope instead of holding hostages and, unequivocally, say NO to fear and hate, YES to a united Britain and a clear and undeniable YES to a guaranteed right to remain for our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our community members! We look forward to her reply which we’ll share with you all.

Photo by Christian Havrincea

Photo by Christian Havrincea

 Posted: 2 Aug 2016 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
Online Abuse - Can we really Reclaim the Internet?

posted by: Freya Ballard | on: Thursday, 28 July 2016, 13:39


Reclaim the Internet

Reclaim the Internet

HOPE not hate Research Intern Freya Ballard reports on the recent Reclaim the Internet conference. HOPE not hate is committed to this new initiative to work out solutions to defeating online hate.

The internet is an essential part of modern life and can be a positive source for promoting change, connecting individuals and ideas. Despite this many people, especially women and minority groups, find the internet can also be a source of abuse when they participate in public debate. Sometimes these abusers are critical of their views but often individuals find themselves subjected to misogynistic or xenophobic threats and harassment.

While many believe that abuse should be ignored or abusers blocked, the internet is a public sphere from which many people cannot remove themselves for a range of personal and professional reasons. More importantly, individuals should not have to; all members of a free and open society should be able to express themselves online without fearing abuse and harassment.

Reclaim the Internet is a campaign created to combat this abuse and ensure the internet is a space in where voices of all opinions and backgrounds can be heard safe from threat. On July 18th the campaign launched with a conference which brought together media and technology corporations, campaign groups, trade unions, politicians and the legal sector to discuss ways in which we can tackle online abuse. These included representatives from Facebook and Twitter as well as Hope not hate and cross-party MP’s including Yvette Cooper and Maria Miller.

Recently The Guardian revealed that of their top ten contributors receiving the most abuse within the comment sections of articles, eight were women and two were black men. Online abuse can be an effective tool to exclude minority groups from public discourse both on and offline. While abusers often argue that free speech should allow them to say whatever they want, online harassment laws still apply and it is clear steps must be taken to combat it.

Visible abuse online can push individuals away from areas of interest and prevent them from reaching their potential; a seventeen-year-old member of GirlGuiding’s advocacy team recently revealed that she had been dissuaded from entering politics as a career after witnessing the level of misogynistic abuse that female MPs are subject to on twitter. Online abuse of female MPs has been a particularly notable issue recently; Labour MPs have petitioned the party to be more active in fighting the problem as Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, presented 96 pages of abuse she received. Twitter is the most visible platform for misogynistic abuse; a study by Demos recently found that in a three-week period over 10,000 targeted misogynistic tweets were sent on the site to 6,500 users.

Examples of the abusive tweets that female MPs have been subjected to

Examples of the abusive tweets that female MPs have been subjected to

Young girls are particularly vulnerable to online abuse, with GirlGuiding uncovering the fact that 45% of 11-16-year-old girls have experienced cyber bullying, in part due to the high levels of social media use among young people. Crucially for these young people online interactions are a huge part of their social lives and the damage caused by abuse can have lasting consequences.

While the path to end online abuse and cybercrime is not clear, Reclaim the Internet’s conference emphasised the need for a broad approach as well as collaboration between different stakeholders. While social media platforms can clamp down on abusers and the police force can allocate further resources towards prosecuting those who break the law online, this alone will not stop cyber abuse.

Education, especially focused on young people, is necessary in order to combat abuse at its source. While a threatening or abusive tweet can be easily deleted or blocked the greatest challenge will come from teaching people the values of respect that are important for free and open discussion in society. Online debate can promote positive, meaningful change but for this to become a reality it is crucial that no voice is silenced due to fear of harassment and abuse.

While Reclaim the Internet is still working on its official platform it is a movement that, as hate crimes rise, has the potential to be hugely significant. The conference showed that there is a widespread desire from change amongst a range of groups to combat the abuse faced online and that the momentum exists among everyone from activists, politicians and law enforcement to enable positive action against online abuse.

 Posted: 28 Jul 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
How the EU Referendum has divided Britain

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 20 July 2016, 06:35


It will probably come as no surprise to you that Britain is a more divided country as a consequence of the EU Referendum campaign. But now we have the evidence.

Research commissioned by HOPE not hate and conducted by the pollsters Populus, has found an increasingly polarised society.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those polled believe Britain is more divided as a result of the Referendum vote and more people think there are more tensions between communities than when asked the same question in February.

I've written up our polling research. You can read it here:

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/fear-and-hope-3/

To respond to this growing division in society HOPE not hate is launching a #MoreInCommon campaign in order to bring our communities back together and we have designated the weekend of 3/4 September to hold events across the width and breadth of the UK.

The highlight of this weekend will be a large community festival in Batley & Spen, where Jo Cox was the local MP.

There also will be events across the UK, some large-scale, like a food festival in central Bradford, but others much smaller and more localised initiatives, like a community picnic in Greenwich.

Our latest Fear and HOPE report shows the urgency of the #MoreInCommon camapign. Those most opposed to immigration and a multicultural society were the most pessimistic about the future when we conducted our 2016 Fear and HOPE poll in February.

Now, having overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU, these people are now the most optimistic about the future. By a huge margin they believe that both their economic fortunes are going to improve and that the Government will be able to drastically limit immigration.

If this doesn't happen - as it's unlikely to - then these voters will be very angry and let down and they will be looking for someone to blame.

So we must be ready and our #MoreInCommon campaign is the perfect way to start . On Thursday I will explain more about our weekend of action in early September and how you can get involved and together we can start healing the divisions in society.

In the meantime, please read our report into our divided Britain.

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/features/fear-and-hope-3/

 Posted: 20 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
David Hopper – a grievous loss

posted by: Graeme Atkinson | on: Sunday, 17 July 2016, 12:52


Dave Hopper (second from left) at 100th anniversary of the disaster at Senghenydd Colliery in 2013 when 439 men and boys were killed

Dave Hopper (second from left) at 100th anniversary of the disaster at Senghenydd Colliery in 2013 when 439 men and boys were killed

Yesterday, we lost Dave Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA).

Dave, a supporter of HOPE not hate, represented so much. A marra to the marrow, he was cut from the hard rock above Durham’s deep seams of coal and was everything admirable about Durham pitmen: proud of his heritage, personally generous, unselfish, full of solidarity with others, anti-racist, internationalist, unflinching, loyal and stubborn in the cause of the working class and the mining communities.

His hostility to capitalism was relentless and limitless and his commitment to socialism, was boundless. He didn’t like fascism much, either, as was demonstrated by his presence at anti-fascist protests in the north east and by when, without hesitation, he and the DMA locked horns with Sunderland AFC after its, thankfully, shortlived appointment of the self-declared fascist Paolo Di Canio as club manager.

The awesome history of the Great Northern Coalfield, especially Durham, ran through Dave's veins and lived through them. We shall not see his like again.

I did not know Dave Hopper well but knew him enough – in the first place meeting him through a shared love of the Durham miners’ club, Sunderland AFC – to say this:

Dave Hopper’s loss is grievous. He was unique as a trade union leader, head and shoulders above those who make intrigue their life’s purpose. Dave was different. He knew he was answerable to better judges: his union, its members, the mining community and the working class.

When coal mining ended at his own pit, Monkwearmouth, in 1993, where he and others had led the momentous and bitter struggles of 1984-1985 and beyond, Dave and his comrades in the DMA and the Durham Mechanics determined that our traditions and memories were not just going to be allowed to fade.

And, they didn’t. Dave, his comrades and the DMA applied themselves intelligently to this huge task.

We see the results today. The DMA is still alive.

We saw the results just over a week ago: the Durham Miners’ Gala was the biggest and most successful since the halcyon days of the Durham coalfield. The pits are no longer there but their banners are, a magnificent expression of steadfastness and remembrance.

So much of this was down to Dave Hopper and we shall forever be in his debt.

In other circumstances, the final march of the brave heroes and heroines of the International Brigades through Barcelona on 1 November 1938, Dolores Ibárruri (“La Pasionaria”) bade them farewell with the words: “You can go with pride. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of the solidarity and the universality of democracy… We will not forget you.

Dave Hopper, too, made history and will always be a legend. And we shall certainly never forget him.

With sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Salud, Dave!

Graeme Atkinson for HOPE not hate

 Posted: 17 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
“For optimism. Always.”

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 15 July 2016, 14:53


I woke up this morning to hear the awful news of yet another terrorist attack in France. 84 more families will today be grieving.

Today, Jo Cox's funeral will be finally taking place. Another family grieving. Another great loss.

It is easy to lose hope with each passing tragedy. It becomes tempting to think that all of our good work can be so easily undermined and overturned by one act of violence or terrorism.

But that is what those who spread hatred want and that in itself should motivate us to redouble our efforts.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been amazed at the resilience of the British people and their determination to overcome fear and hate in their communities. Record numbers of people have been turning up to our #MoreInCommon meetings, most getting involved for the first time.

Dozens of new HOPE not hate groups are forming across the country and, more importantly, events are already being organised to bring communities together.

We have dozens more meetings happening over the next few weeks. Please sign up to one near you:

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/more-in-common/

Even if you nearest meeting has happened, please still sign up. In some areas we already follow up planning meetings taking place so we can easily plug you in with your local group.

Over 260 people have also contacted us offering to help set up meetings in towns where events have so far not been organised and setting up more meetings all the time.

Let me know if you would like to help set up a HOPE not hate meeting in your area.

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/more-in-common/

Next week we will be suggesting ways we can all bring our neighbours and communities together.

But today, let's pause for a moment and think about those who have lost their lives to terror. Please spare a thought for Jo Cox's family and also for the families of all those who died last night in France.

I'd like to end this email by quoting a tweet sent out this morning by my good friend Kirsty McNeill, a close friend of Jo Cox.

"For optimism. Always. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard." - Kirsty McNeill, Jo's friend

If you agree with Kirsty's words, then please sign up and get involved.

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/more-in-common/

Thanks

Nick

 Posted: 15 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
Concern that Jewish Labour MP accused of "media conspiracy"

posted by: HOPE not hate | on: Thursday, 30 June 2016, 18:54


HOPE not hate is deeply troubled to hear that at the launch of the Labour Party report into antisemitism within the party, a Jewish Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, was accused by a Momentum activist of being part of a media conspiracy against the party leadership.

The unfounded allegation that a Jewish person is part of some "media conspiracy" is precisely the type of anti-Jewish slur that was highlighted as unacceptable in Ms Chakrabarti's report. It is even more disconcerting to hear that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to contact Ruth Smeeth in the hours after this incident.

Ruth Smeeth: Labour MP for Stoke North

Ruth Smeeth: Labour MP for Stoke North

Ms Chakrabarti's report was intended to help the Labour Party address antisemitism. This incident, and the failure of the party leader to deal with it or reach out to person at the receiving end, shows that there is still a way to go. Ruth Smeeth has posted a statement of her own here.

 Posted: 30 Jun 2016 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
Racist incidents since Brexit vote unacceptable, authorities must take action

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 27 June 2016, 14:30


Since the Brexit vote last Thursday, there have been a disturbing series of reports of racist incidents aimed at Polish, Muslim and other communities.

Social media channels have also witnessed an upsurge of hatred.

Let us be clear: such an outpouring of hate is both despicable and wrong. Whatever direction our country now chooses, a path towards intolerance and division is not in anyone’s interest.

Choosing a vote on our future on the European Union cannot be a green light for racism and xenophobic attacks and HOPE not hate demands action against the perpetrators.

Those who would choose to polarise our society should be called to task for their actions.

HOPE not hate will stand by those communities under attack. But at the same time the authorities and police must also bring the full force of the law to bear against those who seek to exploit the Referendum to promote an agenda or racial or religious hatred, or indeed any other form of discrimination.

We call on the Government to give some clarity and reassurance to EU migrants about their status in the UK and their future.

Now is the time for all of us to redouble our efforts to focus on that which unites, rather than divides; to think carefully about the society we wish to shape; and to realise that, no matter what happened last Thursday, we all need to live together.

Social media hate messages

Social media hate messages

 Posted: 27 Jun 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

Share on FacebookTweet this
Stand Together

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 24 June 2016, 07:12


A short time ago, after a campaign tainted with racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it was formally announced that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. This is a seismic moment for our country and indeed Europe.

I worry that there is a real danger that the bitterly-fought contest could leave a lasting legacy of division in our country. We cannot allow this to happen.

As the nation looks towards a life outside the EU, we will need voices that champion our vision of Britain and supports those most at risk from any sort of xenophobic backlash.

That's why I'm asking you to join me in building HOPE not hate into an organisation capable to meeting the challenge.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/still-believe

One thing is sure. We cannot allow the toxic Referendum debate to spill over into local communities. Speaking to those from eastern and central Europe, and indeed other immigrants, over recent days it is clear that many are worried. They are uncertain about their future and concerned about a racist backlash.

Get involved to ensure this doesn't happen

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/still-believe

But let's also be clear that we need to reach out to those areas which have been abandoned by mainstream politicians, particularly those in often de-industrialised parts of Britain. We need to offer an alternative narrative to those voices wanting to blame immigrants for all their problems, whilst also genuinely addressing people's real concerns.

Ultimately, we need to offer more positive channels for people to effect change in their local communities.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be organising meetings across the country to consult with our supporters and agree a plan.

Are you in?

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/still-believe

Britain has spoken and now we need to stand together for the tolerant, diverse and multicultural society we want. We need to heal the rifts and try and bring communities together.

I won't lie, none of this is going to be easy, but the simple truth is that if we don't do it then no-one will.

HOPE not hate has prided itself with working in the most difficult of communities. Now we are fighting for our entire country.

HOPE not hate has never been so needed. Please join us

Thanks

Nick

#StandTogether

 Posted: 24 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments