December 6, 2017

HOPE trumps hate – 26,684 times

By Safya Khan-Ruf, journalist

“Even just holding a card with the words Hope Trumps Hate can be a powerful thing,” said Mohammed Ali, a project manager for Faiths Forum for London, outside the US embassy.

Mohammed, along with representatives of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith as well as the Muslim-Jewish women’s network, Nisa-Nashim, joined HOPE not hate in front of the US embassy this morning.

HOPE not hate launched a petition last week, asking supporters to sign a letter to the US ambassador urging him to condemn President Donald Trump for sharing Islamophobic videos from a far-right group on Twitter.

More than 26,600 people signed the letter before it was given to Woody Johnson, the US ambassador in Britain.

Ali notes that while “people may think petitions are small on the surface”, they are important and do have an effect if the effort is maintained.

“I feel touched by the people who have come outside the embassy today. When I heard what Trump did, my heart was very heavy that day. What he did really does affect people’s lives,” said Julie Siddiqi, co founder of Nisa-Nashim.

The US president retweeted the videos from Britain First, a far-right extremist group in Britain. Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the group and the original tweeter, thanked Trump publicly for his support.

The video footage includes a ‘Muslim migrant’ beating a Dutch boy with crutches but it has since emerged the attacker was neither a Muslim nor a migrant.

Officials from across the world condemned Trump for sharing the blatantly anti-Muslim videos.

“I signed the letter and came out today out of my deep concern about the effect that this action by President Trump has had in recognising an organisation which represents hatred and opposition of everything I believe in this country,” said David Musgrave, Minister of a Methodist church in south London.

“Britain First and similar organisations have used the Christian label or even the symbols of Christian faith as a supposed sign of their British identity. I want to emphasise this is totally contradictory to my understanding of the faith which has nothing to do with exclusion.”

Prime minister Theresa May also issued a diplomatic rebuke and said it was “very clear” that endorsing Britain First on Twitter “was the wrong thing to do”. She has however, made clear there is no plan to rescind the state visit extended to Trump at the White House back in January.