Parties unite to condemn BNP

The four main parties in Wales have united to condemn the racist British National Party for its comments attacking the National Museum of Wales over the staging of two exhibitions on Islamic culture. The exhibitions explore the contribution of Muslims to world history, science and art.

On its website the BNP states, “You may think that this is rather strange, particularly as Wales has an enormous heritage of its own, not least in the field of early Christianity.” The website goes on to refer to planning permission granted for a large mosque in Cardiff and suggests Plaid Cymru should be renamed Plaid Islam because it has several Muslim councillors.

Labour’s Deputy Health Minister and Newport East AM John Griffiths said, “This is horrible stuff. The National Museum should be congratulated for opening the eyes of Wales to the huge contributions Muslims have made in so many fields. The BNP is trying to foster intolerance and must not be allowed to succeed.”

Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones said, “There is no place in a modern, multicultural Wales for this kind of rubbish. The National Museum has a duty to inform and educate … Confining information or representation to that of any one race, language, political belief, or religion is a very dangerous prospect.”

The Welsh Conservatives’ culture spokeswoman Lisa Francis said, “Exhibitions such as this play an important role in promoting understanding, tolerance and respect for religion and culture. It is something which should be celebrated and encouraged. People will rightly be appalled at the BNP’s latest attempt to spread its pernicious, divisive, offensive and dangerous propaganda.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat culture spokeswoman Eleanor Burnham said, “Wales has a proud tradition as an outward-looking nation which has been enriched by the contributions of people from other countries and traditions.”

A spokesman for the National Museum said, “We put on these two small high-quality exhibitions at National Museum Cardiff sites for a number of reasons. The material relates to communities of Muslim background who are an important part of Wales’ history and contemporary life. It meets a wish from visitors from other communities to know more about Muslim cultures.”

Wales Onlines, 24 November 2006