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HOPE not hate

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I Believe in Voting

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Friday, 27 May 2016, 15:02


There’s less than a month to go until the EU Referendum. The debate around Brexit is, predictably getting nasty. Both sides of the debate are becoming dominated by overblown claims, with the politics of fear being deployed and drowning out the voices of hope. Fear of immigration, fear of job losses, fear for our security and defence.

This politics of fear is a huge turn off for many voters, and perhaps none more so than for those of us from faith communities. As an observant Jew, I try not to listen, say or repeat gossip and slander, so why would l want to follow a debate which is so toxic and unpleasant?

In one of my first jobs, I worked with someone who was the son of Holocaust survivors. He told me that his parents would take him to the polling station each time they voted, always reminding him how wonderful it was that they had the opportunity to vote. Years later, I was able to emulate him, and take my children with me to vote too.

So even if I get fed up with reading negative headlines, and seeing opportunist politicians taking pot shots at each other, I take my right to vote seriously. After all, how can I expect the British democratic system to listen to my needs and give me space to live my Jewish life, if I don’t add my voice to that democratic system?

The EU Referendum is the vote of a generation, and I want everyone in my community and other faith communities to have a chance to vote.

It is vital to make sure you are registered to vote by Tuesday 7th May. I would not dream of telling anyone how to vote, as long as they vote. After the Referendum takes place, whichever side wins, we will need to move on, and if I have voted, at least I know I had my say, turned up, and took part.

That’s why I urge you to join me, saying with one clear voice “I Believe in Voting”.

 Posted: 27 May 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Let’s Not Lose Our Chance To Shape Our Future

posted by: Imam Qari Asim | on: Friday, 27 May 2016, 14:50


Walk Together For Peace July 2015 - in commemoration of the 7/7 bombings in London 2010. From left to right: Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Imam Qari Asim and Revd Betran

Walk Together For Peace July 2015 - in commemoration of the 7/7 bombings in London 2010. From left to right: Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Imam Qari Asim and Revd Betran

On Thursday 23 June, the UK will settle a debate that has been part of British political discourse for decades: should we remain within the European Union (EU), or come out of it?

The Remain and Leave campaigns offer two very different visions for the future and whatever the rights and wrongs of the EU, this vote is of significance for everyone, particularly for younger people.

Young people have the most at stake in this EU referendum. It is their futures that are on the ballot paper. The decision will have repercussions for many years to come, and will have a huge role in shaping young people’s lives.

Although more than a million people have registered to vote since the referendum campaign began, nationally up to four million 18-24 year olds are still not on the electoral register.

Given that half of the Muslim population is under the age of 25, mosques around the country are supporting the #TurnUp campaign and urging young Muslim to register to vote as soon as possible. Before the last general election, 186,000 missed the deadline.

Register now – deadline 7 June bit.ly/TurnUpEU

Far-right groups and some Eastern European leaders may rage and rant against Islam and the “Muslim invasion”, but Europe has never been and will never be a land for one nation only. As with the UK, Europe will continue to be a multi-belief and multi-ethnic community united by shared values – and we British Muslims must play a necessary role in this historic vote to decide the future direction of our country and Europe.

Mosques and Muslim organisations, like other groups in the country, support either StrongerIn or Brexit (UK’s exit from the EU) and are promoting the message of their campaign to their members. Others are inviting both sides of the campaign to articulate how joining or leaving the EU will affect the lives of British Muslims.

I strongly believe in the right to vote because I believe abstention from voting is essentially indirect voting. It will not realistically lead to change that some of us want to see in political discourse; abstaining from selecting an option would potentially leave room for the least-preferred option to win. There’s no doubt the repercussions of this historic vote will be felt for many years, so let the result – whichever way it goes – be down to choice, not the by-product of apathy.

Disengagement

Voting patterns in recent elections show that in many cases young people and BME communities are usually less likely to vote, something backed up by a recent Runnymede Trust report. This may be due to general disengagement with the political process but it does not follow that these people are disinterested in political issues. The Scottish referendum in 2014 demonstrated that people respond to politics and/or policies when they say something emotional about the world they live in – their sense of belonging, rootedness, control.

Voting patterns in recent elections show that in many cases young people and BME communities are usually less likely to vote

Voting patterns in recent elections show that in many cases young people and BME communities are usually less likely to vote

Political leaders on both sides of the campaign need to consider ways to motivate and mobilise people to vote rather than deter them with alarmist scare stories, or even hyperbolic claims.

In the coming weeks, the EU Referendum campaign should focus more on addressing the specific concerns of young people, women, BME, small to medium businesses as well as multi-jurisdictional corporate entities so that voters can make an informed decision as to what is best for their families and income streams as well their neighbourhoods and the country.

This European referendum is a once-in-a-generation chance to share our future. Let's be at the heart of this referendum debate and shape the future of our country together!

Imam Qari Asim, MBE, is Imam, Makkah Mosque Leeds @Qari Asim

Please support the Bite The Ballot & HOPE not hate Thunderclap, #TurnUp to Vote! http://thndr.me/QMVngR

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

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Let young people decide their future

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 23 May 2016, 12:03


When we launched our new #TurnUp voter registration (VR) campaign for the EU Referendum last Thursday, I said it was going to be big. Well, even I didn't realise just how big it was going to be.

I've just come off a call with our organising team and the scale of what we are doing is going to be truly impressive.

  • 48 universities are emailing all their students - more will join this week
  • Over 250 VR faith events are being planned
  • Talks are planned at dozens of colleges across the country
  • 13,000 businesses and senior executives are spreading the word among their employees and wider audiences
  • Unions are being mobilised to speak to young members
  • Dozens of community VR drives are happening across the country
  • Support from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Uber and Tinder across our Week of Action 31 May - 7 June


To make this campaign even more effective, we're looking to raise £20,000 to help reach six million 18-30 year-olds we've identified on Facebook.

Can you chip in?

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/turnup

The EU Referendum will be the most important vote of our generation. It's vital that young people - those most affected by its result - have a say in the vote.

But it's a challenge. Young people are twice as likely not to be on the electoral register as the population as a whole. They're also much less likely to vote and - as our YouGov polling highlighted last week - are not currently engaged in the Referendum debate.

We can change this, though. Every £1 you donate will help us reach 300 young people on Facebook and push through our voter registration drive.

https://donate.hopenothate.org.uk/page/contribute/turnup

HOPE not hate is running this campaign jointly with youth empowerment group Bite the Ballot. We both feel passionately about this issue because it relates to the core of our work.

"Everyone is worried about extremism, and that is because we are not giving people the tools to be active citizens and create change themselves," Bite the Ballot's director Mike Sani told The Guardian last week.

Our campaign sets out to help young people decide their own future. Please support us.

 Posted: 23 May 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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#TurnUp: Our new mass youth voter registration campaign launches today

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 19 May 2016, 17:03


Today we’re launching #TurnUp, in partnership with youth empowerment movement Bite The Ballot, a mass voter registration campaign aiming to sign up half-a-million young people for the EU Referendum on 23 June.

This is a once-in-a-generation vote, one of the most important our country has ever faced.

Together we’ll be promoting voter sign-ups across a week of action between 31st May – 7th June, targeting young workers and students, families and youth groups, faith communities and ‘generation rent’ on different days of action.

We already have support from Twitter and Facebook – hosting a live-streamed debate – and voter sign-ups promoted on dating app Tinder and other digital platforms. The campaign will also run ‘democracy cafés’ in Starbucks across the country and other partners are joining all the time.

It’s one of the biggest campaigns, in probably one of the tightest timescales, we’ve ever attempted – but the need is there.

Not registered

A new YouGov survey of 18-30 year olds, commissioned exclusively by HOPE not hate, finds that only 51% of young people say that they are certain to vote. Worse still, many are not engaged with the current EU debate, don't know what to believe and view it as two groups of old white men shouting at each other.

Under-25s are also twice as likely not to be on the electoral register as the population at large, according to the Electoral Commission, with almost 30% not registered. Under-25s are half as likely to vote as those aged over 65.

Mistrust

According to our poll, only 10% of young people have any trust in politicians, just 13% in the media, and 16% in business leaders (teachers & academics, then other young people too (50%) and trade union leaders are among the most trusted).

Clearly, both Leave and Remain campaigns need to change the way they engage with the young .

But our job now is to get people to register, #TurnUp and vote – please help us do that by sharing our campaign links and media to friends & colleagues.

And remember: #TurnUp!

bit.ly/TurnUpEU

 Posted: 19 May 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments