Monthly Archives: January 2016

28Jan/16

Britain First is corrupting the message of the cross, and we need to claim it back

It might seem obvious that extreme right-wing party Britain First is not a Christian group. Its scaremongering policies, widely considered to be racist, are hopefully not the first thing that spring to mind when you think of Christianity.

However, Britain First seems to think otherwise. The group recently held a “Christian Patrol” in Luton, during which members brandished wooden crosses and claimed to be defending “Christian values” while handing out anti-Islam newspapers to Muslims.

Although this “Christian Patrol” and others like it have only attracted marchers in their tens, a video of the Luton march has been viewed 21 million times on Facebook. Britain First is disrupting communities, harrassing Muslim neighbours and doing so in the name of a “Christian Britain”. It’s time we said: “not in my name.”

It may seem superfluous to defend the Christian faith from such a group, but its online popularity (the Britain First Facebook page has 1,280,406 likes – more than the Labour and Conservative Party pages combined), and a quick look at historical cases of the appropriation of Christianity by far-right groups (think the Nazis and the KKK) suggest otherwise.

Britain First is a far-right and British nationalist party that was formed in 2011, as a splinter group from the BNP. It fights against immigration, multiculturalism and what it describes as the “Islamisation” of the UK. On its Wikipedia page, the group is also described as having a “Christian” ideology.

Deputy leader Jayda Fransen has declared that the UK is heading for a “civil war” between those who hold “British values” and Islamists.

In the nine-minute clip of the Luton march, Fransen argues ferociously with a Muslim man, shouting “our country, not your country. It’s a Christian country.”

When challenged, she continues, saying: “You think you can take over a town and say ‘It’s your country, you’re taking over’… not for long, see this cross? It will prevail.”

Britain First has “corrupted the message of the cross, which for us is a symbol of reconciliation, forgiveness and selfless love,” Peter Adams, a member of Luton’s St Mary’s Church, told Luton Today.

He was among a group of local Christians and Muslims who stood together to hand out flowers in a show of unity following the march.

Britain First’s “method, their provocative actions, their carrying of white crosses, very angry [and] abusive words were not the message that the church in Luton had towards our Muslim neighbours”, Adams said.

It is difficult to equate the Jesus of the Bible with the message of Britain First. Scripture calls us to welcome the orphan and the alien, and that needs to be central to Christianity, particularly in this current climate.

Speaking to Christian Today in 2014, Paul Golding, leader of Britain First, said: “Jesus Christ did use physical violence according to the Gospels in the temple in Jerusalem, and he met a very violent end. He preached love and forgiveness etc, but he also said he didn’t come to bring peace; he came to bring division and a sword, he came to bring fire upon the world to sort the world out.”

But though Jesus did clear the Temple, to take this story out of context, manipulate it and use it to justify prejudice is not OK.

Although only a few people are showing up for these “Christian patrols” at the moment, Fransen claims that membership of Britain First is “swelling by the thousands”.

The group has planned another Christian Patrol, this time through Dewsbury, which Fransen described as having “Islamic extremists coming out of the woodwork”.

The deputy leader, who is of foreign descent herself, said that, “the indigenous people in Britain don’t want their own towns turned into Muslim ghettos. It doesn’t look like Britain any more.”

Tell Mama, a charity that monitors Islamophobia in the UK, shared the concern that “these inflammatory actions continue with Britain First trying to pain themselves as ‘defenders of Christian values’, something that they are far from”.

The fear is that people who are on the receiving end of this violent action, into whose communities Britain First storm brandishing white crosses, will begin to equate this hate-filled action with Christianity.

We need to stand against their appropriation and distortion of the cross.

Follow Florence Taylor on Twitter: @Flo_Taylor

27Jan/16

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

In a year where the world seems to be lurching, blindly, further to the far right, Trump in the USA, European countries voting in far right groups, Putin, Da’esh etc. etc…

‪#‎HolocaustMemorialDay‬ has never felt more poignant and so important that we remember just what atrocities the human race is capable of.

09Jan/16

ISIS is sending terrorists in with the refugees. Is it?

1. ISIS is extremely wealthy, which means it can afford fake passports, first-class air-fares, hotel rooms and automatic weaponry.

2. The refugee line is months long, and provides uncertain results:

A terrorist from Raqqa would have to walk hundreds of miles, find a people-smuggler, cross the Mediterranean without being apprehended or drowned, trek through Southern Europe, dodge the authorities, get over the razor-wire at the Serbian border, travel to Calais, scale the Eurotunnel fence without being arrested, cling to the underneath of a truck without falling off and being killed, and then land in the UK.

Now imagine ISIS wants to inject more than one fighter into a Western country. The refugee line gives no guarantee that expensively-trained fighters, primed and ready to die for the cause, will even get to their target country alive, let alone before their martyrdom-zeal wears off.

Therefore, this idea is militarily absurd and operationally impossible.

3. Daesh strategy is to inspire home-grown fighters; and failing that, to ensure their terrorists are in the target country legally. To risk an operation on the grounds of visa problems or illegal immigration would be ridiculous.

We must remember that the 7/7 bombers and the murderers of Lee Rigby were British, the Paris terrorists were EU citizens, the Charlie Hebdo killers were French, and the 9/11 attackers were in the United States legally.

4. Conclusion: The idea that ISIS sends terrorists along with refugees is a racist fantasy.

Edwin Stratton-MacKay

07Jan/16

Muslims in Leicester Help Flood Victims

Hasan Salmaan and a group of his friends, including Riaz Khan, were watching the devastation from the recent floods and decided that they needed to do anything possible to help.

jayda3

They used social media as well as their own money to fill a van of appropriate aid. When they got to the village affected, they distributed the aid to residents and got stuck in straight away clearing debris from the flood. After this, they travelled to several other affected areas and volunteered to assist the clean up operation for those affected in this region as well. I received the following quote from Hasan regarding his experience.

‘The locals were very welcoming to us and it has helped break down a lot of barriers. Community cohesion has taken place without it being our primary aim.’ He also stated that many friendships have been made and that all of those involved would not hesitate to do it again as it was such a rewarding experience.’

lionel

This just shows you how people of all faiths and ethnicity can get together, fighting adversity and building relationships that will last a lifetime. Well done Hasan and Riaz. Hopefully this story can help counter the lies and scaremongering that such groups as Britain First spout.

jayda2

J.Kaouklis

07Jan/16

Proscribe Britain First Petition close to 10,000

Nice to see that the Proscribe the ‘Political Party’ Britain First has nearly reached 10,000 signatures. Anyone wanting to sign can click here

Although many will not agree that Britain First need proscribing (basically banning), citing Free Speech as the reason, we all know that they do not allow free speech themselves and censor/ban any dissenting voices.

The Proscribe petition explains why it is so important that Britain First are banned:

Proscribe the ‘political party’ Britain First

Britain First are an extremist offshoot of the BNP. Via the internet and social media the group spews out anti Muslim propaganda in order to fulfill their goal of an ‘Holy War’ against the Muslim community in the UK.
The UK Government must proscribe this party before they achieve their aims.

Their founder, James Dowson as to why he set up Britain First:
“In an interview with Channel Four News, Dowson admitted to pursuing a “holy war” on the streets of Britain:
“One thing I agree with Mr Choudry on, there is such a concept as a just war, a holy war. He calls it Jihad. We call it a crusade,” he told Paraic O’Brien.
“Without any shadow of a doubt, this is a holy war.”

Britain First the Violent New Face of British Fascism