6 July 2010

On Wednesday 7 July, the fifth anniversary of London's 7/7 attacks, a unique anti-hate crime event will take place in Brent, North London. This is being organised by a diverse committee including the UK's Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), the Christian Muslim Forum and the Al-Khoei Foundation, in partnership with local schools, businesses, places of worship, the Metropolitan police, and victim support organisations.

The event marks the official launch of the Communities Preventing Hate campaign, a grassroots initiative which takes a stand against all promotion and encouragement of hatred between and within communities. The types of hate crime being discussed on the day will include terrorism, vilification of religion, gang crime and any form of abuse of vulnerable people.

In the run-up to the campaign secondary schools in Brent launched an art competition themed around "Communities Preventing Hate" where a panel judged the 204 artwork entries. The artwork will be exhibited on 7 July where Sarah Teather, Minister of State at the Department of Education and Brent constituency MP will present the awards to the winning entries.

A series of short workshops on hate crime will be delivered at the event, along with advice on the Watch Over Me toolkit for schools. This audiovisual learning resource has been developed to engage young people in exploring hate crime and the divisive impact it has on society.

The afternoon session will see religious leaders from the Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim faiths join together to give potent statements on preventing all types of hate. They will pledge their support for the campaign, which sets itself the goal of bringing communities together to promote a new sense of collective community responsibility.

London head teacher Margaret Rafee, whose school Alperton Community School has been participating in the competition, said:
"Working with young people, I cannot stress enough how important it is to reinforce positive messages against all types of hate crimes. Taking part in community cohesion projects like the Communities Preventing Hate campaign helps to build understanding between diverse communities, but also to equip adolescents with added resilience against becoming involved in this category of crime."

Maulana Shahid Raza, Chair of MINAB, said:
"7/7 is a highly significant and emotive day for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. As a representative body of some 600 mosques across the UK, it's natural that we would want to use this occasion to stand alongside our nation in defying terrorism and all other types of hate crime. Acts like 7/7 misrepresent the views of the vast majority of Muslims, who believe that there is no place in our society for extremist groups who seek to divide and undermine communities by spreading hate."

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) is the representative body of all UK Muslim denominations set up to promote good governance in Mosques and Imam Training Institutions through a process of self regulation.
  2. It has over six hundred mosques and training institutions as its members.
  3. It is a charity registered under the laws of England & Wales.
  4. It is a community led independent body, non sectarian in its outlook, representing the diversity of Islam with no role in matters of theology and is broad based with an accountable system of representation.