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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Community leaders praise response to the EDL protests (UK)

Community and civic leaders have praised Bradford people for standing up to the English Defence League last summer, and urge them to sustain the unity into 2011.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Peter Hill praised Bradford for standing up to racism during the EDL rally.

“All praise to the people of Bradford who showed those people the door,” he said. “The word ‘nimby’ has been mocked over the years, but on August 10 the people of Bradford made it respectable when they said ‘Not in my back yard’.

“It drew a line under the 2001 riots. The authorities did a terrific job, but so did the people of Bradford.”

Coun Hill called on Bradfordians to pull together for a prosperous new year.

“For 2011, I hope there’s an upturn in business and that the cuts that have to be made are not as severe as feared,” he said. “The people of Bradford have to stick together, we need to pull together as a city.” Looking back on 2011, the year he became Lord Mayor, Councillor Hill said highlights had included Royal visits by Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

“They were a one-off and a real feather in the cap of the city,” he said. “What has really stood out are all the wonderful things people are doing, things I would never have known about had I not been Lord Mayor.

“I am invited to things every day and find people hiding their light under a bushel, doing terrific work in the community. I take my hat off to them – the city would be a lot poorer without them.”

The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Dean of Bradford Cathedral, wants people to “work at what’s really important in the light of what will happen in 2011.”

He said: “That means not trying to get lots of material things, but discovering what we’re on this earth for, and how much we still have to learn, so that we can become the people God has made us to be.

“I hope as many people as possible have a happy and prosperous 2011, and that those who have good things will use them to help people worse off than themselves.”

He added: “I hope we will care for one another, and our environment, and get to know each other better across differences of culture, race, religion, age and sexuality. Kindness is an underrated virtue – let’s have more of it in 2011. And some warm sunshine too!”

Ishtiaq Ahmed, spokesman for Bradford Council for Mosques, hopes for “a very peaceful and prosperous year” in the city.

“The work and effort that all the community have put together to resist attacks from organisations like EDL has placed Bradford in a better light and we hope that kind of unity will be sustained over the next 12 months,” he said.

“Personally, I would like to keep my energy levels up and keep working for the betterment of the community, and for the unity of all Bradfordians.

“Bradford Council for Mosques takes pride in its work with other faith communities and we want to take that partnership to another level.”

Chairman of the Yorkshire Society Keith Madeley became an MBE in the New Year Honours list, for services to the community. Mr Madeley wants to see more development in the city centre in 2011. He said: “As a Bradfordian my hope for next year would be to see more movement, in respect of the Westfield development.

“I come across people who don’t go into Bradford to shop any more, there is nothing to attract them.”

Also at the top of Mr Madeley’s 2011 wishlist is the prospect of a rail-link between the Interchange and Forster Square railway stations becoming a reality.

Mr Madeley, a former railwayman, said: “An east-west link would be great, rather than being at the end of the line.

“For me that would be a real defining moment for Bradford.”

The Telegraph & Argus