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Friday, 4 June 2010

Defence League’s protests are “crude, dangerous and unhelpful” says Wales religious leaders

Two senior faith leaders in Wales are urging people not to support a planned demonstration by the English/ Welsh Defence League in Cardiff this weekend (June 5).

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, and the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, Saleem Kidwai, say the League’s protests are “crude, dangerous and unhelpful” as they undermine efforts to promote tolerance and diversity in Wales.

They are calling on people to attend the Peace Vigil organised by the Interfaith Council for Wales at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay, on Friday evening (June 4), instead, which aims to celebrate the city’s cultural diversity and to reject any attempts to harm community relations.

The League has already held protests in Newport, Swansea and Wrexham.

In a joint statement, Dr Morgan and Mr Kidwai said:

“As leaders in the Christian and Muslim Communities in Wales, we find the Defence League’s approach to the challenge of living in a diverse society to be crude dangerous and unhelpful. Crude because it does not meet real human contact and exchanges; dangerous because it ignores the real issues in favour of simplistic stereotypes and rumours which exploit people’s ignorance and fears; unhelpful because it seeks to reverse all that is good about the best of Welsh society where all are welcome and people are respected for who they are and what they contribute and bring to each other from different beliefs and cultures.

“We recognise that there is a continuing problem in some parts of Britain where extremist Muslims are still active and recruit vulnerable devout young Muslims to their anti Western, anti Christian, anti modernisation cause. But the Muslim Council of Wales rejects these behaviours and describes them as anti Islamic. The Defence League’s profound and dangerous mistake is to equate the behaviours of the minority with the majority of Muslims in Britain.

“We believe that patient work is needed to overcome suspicions and stereotypes. We have committed ourselves to that kind of work together. On June 16th we will be celebrating with the First Minister of Wales our series of consultations, called Finding A Common Voice, which aims at building trust and positive relationships between the Christian and Muslim communities and others in Wales.

“We invite all those who are tempted by the negative and distrustful approach taken by the Defence League to join in celebrating a more positive and rich experience of diversity.”

The Peace Vigil will be held at the steps of the Senedd on Friday, June 4, at 7.30pm.

For more information about the Finding A Common Voice event with the First Minister of Wales, please visit:


and in welsh
Church in Wales