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Openly declare opposition to racism during polls: Black Asian Jewish Forum

`Need of the hour is agreement among rival to avoid racist language’ 21st April 2010: The Black Asian Jewish Forum has called for an open declaration by all the three major political parties that they are opposed to racism in politics.

In a letter to The Guardian, the members have asserted the contest is expected to be tough among the political parties during the general election scheduled to be held next month. During the elections, there will be great temptation to make concessions to appease supposed racist voters.

The three main political parties oppose racism, but something more needs to be done. Before it is too late, the political parties should speak out publicly that racism has no place in politics in any shape or form.

They should, in fact, make it clear that deionization of black and minority ethnic communities, immigrants and asylum seekers, will not be put up with, and tackling racial inequality is a key priority for any government.

The letter, signed by Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality Dr Edie Friedman,
Director of Operation Black Vote Simon Woolley, Director of Runnymede Trust Rob Berkeley and others, comes in reaction to a study by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

It suggests the idea that politicians need to adopt ever-tougher immigration controls to undermine the BNP is misleading.

The study says the mainstream politicians need to work all the more harder for building strong communities and strong education systems.

Their efforts should be directed towards rebuilding trust and confidence in democratic politics, so that the marginalized and vulnerable people do not feel disconnected.
In doing so, they serve the interests of these communities more effectively. In the process, they weaken the support for the BNP.

Quoting the example of the previous polls, the letter says in past election campaigns efforts have been made to reach agreement among rival parties to avoid racist language. The need is even greater this time.

It says the racist organisations make attempts to exploit people’s insecurities during financial crisis and global recession. Even sections of the media are unreserved in their anti-immigrant and anti-asylum-seeker speechifying and are moving towards the normalisation of racist discourse. As a result, Islamophobia and antisemitism have also intensified. Such developments have no place in our society.

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