Stand Up To Racism conference displays unity in fighting all forms of racism
Categories: Latest News
Monday October 23 2017
On 21 October, Stand Up To Racism hosted an important and dynamic conference to confront the rise of racism across the globe and stand in solidarity against all forms of racism. The conference in Central London was attended by over 1300 people.
Notable speakers included Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbot MP, Shadow DFID Secretary Kate Osamor, Imam Mohammed Mahmoud of Finsbury Park Mosque, MEND staff members Azad Ali and Aman Ali, key leaders from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian organisations, and a number of prominent authors and policy makers.
Topics covered in the day-long event included the refugee crisis, the relationship between austerity and racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, Grenfell tower injustices, Islamophobia, and the implications of Brexit for EU nationals.
As reported by Arab News, the plenary session examined the worrying growth of far-right political parties across Europe, the UK, and the United States over the last 18 months. Racist, antisemitic and Islamophobic ideologies lie at the heart of these parties, and recent elections have seen gains for far-right groups.
For example, in Germany’s parliamentary elections held in September 2017, the anti-Islamic party Alternative for Germany (AfD) won a substantial 13% of the vote. Similarly, Austria’s Freedom Party, which frequently disparages Islam, won 51 seats in Parliament this month.
Conference speakers noted that the rise of populist, far-right political movements have emboldened racism to an alarming degree. Conference co-convenor Weyman Bennett stated, “The growth of Islamophobia, the acceptability is sharpening and making racism acceptable. We have to make sure it doesn’t get normalized.”
European Parliament member Julie Ward, who represents North West England, agreed and said, “I have a huge Muslim community in my constituency, and they are on the receiving end of some of the most horrendous racism.”
The core message of the conference was that effectively tackling racism in all its forms requires a united and sustained effort from people across all racial and religious communities.