Stop bigots, voters urged

Voters have been urged by religious leaders to use the ballot box to help tackle racism. Representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities signed a declaration asking Greater Manchester people to reject all political parties that advocate racism in May’s local elections. The document was signed at Trinity United Church in Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, which is used as drop-in centre for refugees and asylum seekers.

The statement reads: “We stand for a society of mutual respect and care where the hearts of all are heard and met through good neighbourliness at every level and in every circumstance. In particular, we regret that the British National Party now has 49 seats on local authorities in this country. Those who advocate racist policies cannot do so in the name of any of our faith communities.”

The community leaders were inspired by the similarities of their different faiths when they devised the statement. Dr Muhammad Junejo, Muslim representative for Greater Manchester, said: “We meet fairly regularly to discuss the important issues affecting our communities. One thing our religions all have in common is the commandment to love your neighbour. Racism is strongly at odds with this idea and we need to stand against it.”

Manchester Evening News, 29 March 2007