Interfaith dialogue in Welwyn Hatfield

SIR – The election results have been particularly gloomy for me. Not because I am an ardent Labour supporter, nor a Liberal. I am neither. I vote on principles and not personalities or party loyalties. I believe that democracy has a tendency to correct

SIR - The election results have been particularly gloomy for me. Not because I am an ardent Labour supporter, nor a Liberal.

I am neither.

I vote on principles and not personalities or party loyalties.

I believe that democracy has a tendency to correct the mistakes of the past, but at times, it brings about an unpalatable transitory change which threatens the morality of our society.


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In this great country, we have been proud of our traditions of tolerance and freedom. This country has been a refuge for the downtrodden, a place of great promises for those willing to work hard and a society which defends the rights of its inhabitants, rich or poor, white or black alike.

Like in our personal lives, national or global crises also lead us to a collective urge to escape into negativity and pessimism.

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Unfortunately, every year we see an increase in the votes for the far-right in this country and on the continent.

With every period of plenty and ease, we should also expect a time of relative uncertainty and difficulty.

This has been the way of the world.

The current global recession is here to test us. We have just remembered D-Day, but our generation has forgotten the tough test we had passed during WW2. The men and women of this country, its colonies and its allies sacrificed dearly to ward of the menace of Nazism from the world.

This menace is back, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. Because it's rearing its ugly head in the same country which once defeated it so decisively.

I may have a selfish motive as I write this. I have been raised in a muslim household where we were taught to work hard, obey the law and never accept hand outs whatever the situation maybe.

Now I hear the BNP telling the British people that muslims have taken over this country and they are a burden on the system and a threat to the 'English way of life'.

I have worked long hours, paid my taxes, lived in dire accommodation; the usual cycle an immigrant has to pass through.

But I was still grateful for the opportunities.

Many others in my situation have invested their working lives, energies and skills in this country. Seeing a percentage of British voters agreeing with the BNP feels like a personal insult.

I am sure the decent and tolerant majority of the country are insulted by these election results as well.

It all comes down to our moral values as a society.

Britain is a Christian country and I, as a Muslim citizen feel aligned to the values of social justice, charity, tolerance and fair play.

There is a growing need for interfaith dialogue to correct any misunderstandings and to build confidence among our communities.

The only way to defeat fascism in our town, and every other town and village in this country is to talk to each other.

In fact, you do not need to be a follower of a particular church or synagogue or a mosque to share these values.

This is the beauty of democracy, the true strength of this country, that it nurtures and promotes the best aspects from all sections of the society.

Lutful Islam,

Halifax Way, WGC,

(A member of the Welwyn Hatfield Interfaith Group).

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