WATCH: Birmingham leaders want a city united against racism

Local leaders expressed disapproval of far-right group Pegida UK, ahead of tomorrow’s march in Birmingham. They made a pledge against racism at Birmingham Central Mosque.


The event organised at Birmingham Central Mosque in response to Pegida march
was part of the HOPE not hate campaign 

MPs and representatives from all major political parties spoke at the event. Labour councillor and Central Mosque chairman Muhammad Afzal, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour MP Liam Byrne expressed solidarity.

MPs disapprove of hatred and racism

Andrew Mitchell expressed an “absolute abhorrence at what Pegida and these far-right groups stand for”. He said:

“We all stand for hope, and opportunity, and treating people decently.”

“I hope a very strong message goes out from all of us here: that we are intolerant of intolerance. We will not put up with people who seek to spread hatred in our city”

Watch the MP speak at the event.

City Councillor Shafique Shah said the Pegida march tomorrow has received too much attention already. He thought they should just be ignored:

“We did not think there was need for any counter demonstration, as this gives them the publicity they want in the media. It would be better just to ignore them and carry on with our lives”

Labour MP Liam Byrne highlighted how people in Birmingham live in peace as neighbours. Watch him speak about a united local community.

The event hosted by the mosque was not only meant to be for delivering speeches. The participants were invited to discuss, in groups, what makes Birmingham a great city and what can be improved.

How to have a stronger local community

One of the universities’ representatives, Margaret Holland, chaplain at Newman University, feels very confident in the unity of the city:

“I can see the strength of the city and I just think we need to stand against this and stand united”

Jewish writer Mandy Ross suggested that members of different ethnic groups in Birmingham need to get together more. Watch her talk about how this can be done.

Activist Salma Yaqoob talked about how history can repeat itself. She spoke of how the Jewish minority in Europe, well integrated at the time, became subject to the Holocaust.

Watch Salma speak about the lessons of history on such similar situations.

Anti-racist solutions for Birmingham

The participants at the event discussed a number of solutions to have an even stronger local community. Some of the ideas expressed were the following:

  • Union representatives (Unite the UnionUNISON) suggested for more positive reports in the media on the local community.
  • Muslim ladies asked for better education for the women and children, so they can be active part in the local community.
  • Church leaders suggested more inter-faith events needed to be held around the city.
  • Inspiration can come from successful events in other countries, such as the Night of Churches in the Czech Republic. Churches throughout the country stay open for one night for visitors.
  • Teachers suggested to bring children of different ethnic groups and school together more often, at fun events, so that they can learn more about each other.



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