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Stand together to prevent prejudice and fear - Mohammad Fayyaz

May 7, 2019 4:36 PM

Mohammad Fayyaz

I wrote in the last edition of Your Chesham about the wonderful diversity of people that we have in this town and how well we generally all manage to get along together and respect one another.

I had no idea at the time I was writing that we were very soon going to learn of the terrible killing of fifty people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

When news of that atrocity broke, the Muslim community in Chesham were deeply touched by the sympathy expressed by people in the town. There were flowers left outside our mosque in Bellingdon Road and people sent many messages saying how sorry and. upset they felt.

Colin Cartwright, who used to be the minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Chesham, wrote to me, "We know that your thoughts and prayers will be with those who have died, been injured and the many who have been bereaved and traumatised by this awful attack on innocent and defenceless people.

And our prayers likewise for them, for you all - and also for those who committed this vicious crime against humanity - that their hearts and minds would be changed." This was true solidarity from the Chesham community.

It's wonderful that we all stand together when terrible events happen, but we cannot afford just to do that. We have to do all that we can to try to prevent such things happening in the first place.

Powerful social media companies like Facebook must take responsibility for removing posts which stir up hatred of people just because they are different.

Political parties must expel any of their members, including councillors or MPs, who spread prejudice and fear about other races or religions or groups.

Religious bodies must be vigilant to make sure that hatred is not being preached in any of their mosques, churches, temples or synagogues. Football clubs must stop racist chants like the ones directed at several England players recently in Montenegro.

These things are serious because expressions of hatred, prejudice and intolerance are the background to the terrorist attacks and atrocities which shock us.

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Mohammad Fayyaz, Liberal Democrat Town councillor for Asheridge Vale, writes a regular monthly column in Your Chesham. This article is taken with permission from the latest issue, which is available online at http://yourchesham.co.uk/