CAIRO – Adding weight to a campaign rejecting anti-Islam group, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed a campaign opposing a planned anti-Islam march through Birmingham for “targeting Muslims”.
“I am proud that Jeremy Corbyn is standing shoulder to shoulder with all of us in Birmingham to say ‘We Choose Hope’,” Birmingham Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne told the Birmingham Mail.
“We simply won’t stand for people coming into Birmingham trying to divide our communities and spread fear and hatred. Brummies are proud of our diversity and we don’t want it threatened by racists.
“We want everyone to join together and help us sign this pledge of unity and hope to send a message loud and clear that Birmingham won’t be divided by hate.”
The Labour leader was pictured holding a “Hope” banner as part of an initiative against the “silent walk”, organized by Pegida UK next February 6.
The initiative was organized by Hope Not Hate, an anti-extremism group which aims to improve community relations between different faiths.
Along with Corbyn, the campaign was signed by more than 70 community leaders including Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and all 10 of Birmingham’s MPs.
Pegida UK, led in part by former head of the English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson, has accused the Hope campaign of trying to stifle free speech.
Robinson said those backing the Hope campaign were “cowards”.
“What have they ever done to stop the hate being preached in our universities? What have they ever done to stop the sexual exploitation of young girls in Birmingham?” he told International Business Times UK.
“I invite them to sit down with me and have an adult conversation about the problems we face. It’s easy to just condemn. What’s not easy is to do what we do every day, receiving death threats and being attacked. These MPs just take the easy way out, they’re cowards.”
On the other hand, Hope Not Hate stressed that Pegida rallies did not find much support in the UK.
Yet, it warned that 6 February would see a Europe-wide “Day of Action” in an attempt to spread the movement across the continent.
In a counter effort to Pegida hate, Birmingham Central Mosque will host a counter-protest on Friday, February 5, inviting residents of all faiths and none to “defeat hatred by simply drinking tea and connecting with people we wouldn’t normally engage with”.
It has asked residents to sign up to its campaign where residents meet members of other faiths to improve community relations.