• Wed. May 29th, 2024

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Call for calm in wake of EU referendum results

Middlesbrough CouncilFAITH and community leaders in Middlesbrough are calling for calm and tolerance in the wake of the EU Referendum.

The move comes amid reports of an increase in hate crimes following the vote which will see Britain leave the European Union.

The EU Referendum result has generated considerable debate, speculation and uncertainty, and in many cases responses have been emotionally charged.

This has given rise to a number of negative incidents, which have affected some faith groups, refugees and other minority communities.

Reports from elsewhere in the UK have suggested that migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees are among those being targeted.

Middlesbrough has a long history of welcoming newcomers, and the town’s diversity and tolerance form a strong element of its cultural identity.

This week the town’s Interfaith Network, which brings together religious and community leaders from across the town, has issued a call for calm, and warned that those who commit hate crimes can expect to be prosecuted.

The UK has some of the strongest legislation in the world to protect individuals, interest groups and communities from hostility, violence and bigotry.

This includes specific offences for racially and religiously aggravated activity and offences of stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

It is imperative that those laws are enforced and all our communities feel confident in reporting incidents.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd, who Chairs Middlesbrough Interfaith Network, said: “The referendum campaign has been divisive at times and has caused hurt to those on all sides.

“In the coming weeks and months, the need for bridge building within society will be more important than ever.

“We now all have a responsibility to seek to heal the divisions and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us.

“As members of Middlesbrough’s Interfaith Network, we are united in our commitment to support all our communities, of all faiths and none, especially, the most vulnerable.

“Hate crime of any kind, directed against any community, of any background, has absolutely no place in our society.

“Abuse and hostility is entirely at odds with our shared values of tolerance, valuing of diversity, and mutual respect.”

The Bishop of Whitby the Right Rev Paul Ferguson said: “Whichever way any of us voted in the Referendum, it is time now to think and act for the best of our local community, our country and our international partners, with whom we shall continue to work and to trade.

“The words we use and the way we treat one another will be critically important, as it is essential to move on from the bitterness, cynicism and anger that marred the campaign.”

Cleveland Police are also working to reassure communities and will respond robustly to any incidents, and victims can be reassured that their concerns about hate crime will be taken seriously.

 

By admin