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View from City Hall: Honour victims by taking tough action

PUBLISHED: 08:30 06 April 2019

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"We now need a global response to racist, right-wing ideology". The words of New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, resonate around the globe in the aftermath of the Christchurch tragedy, which saw 50 people murdered by a right-wing terrorist at a local mosque.

Her political leadership in the aftermath of the incident has been truly admirable. Amongst other measures, Ms Ardern has initiated moves to reform the country’s gun laws with speed. A local resident raised the question recently of why we cannot move with the same urgency to ban the sale of weapons such as “Zombie” knives here.

I attended several vigils following the attack, including a service in Stratford organised by local councillors, attended by people from a wide range of faiths and communities across Newham. I also marched with thousands for the UN Day of Action Against Racism, and spoke at the rally afterwards to add east London’s voice to those remembering Christchurch and redouble our efforts to combat hate here.

I, and other Newham representatives, attended a session at City Hall looking at practical measures which can be taken to prevent hate attacks. The Community Security Trust, which has great experience in protecting synagogues, were there to advise and offer their expertise to other faiths. There was also a meeting convened by Newham councillors with representatives of all local mosques where we discussed the importance of community networks and collaborative action. I also met with Upton Park Ibrahim Mosque to offer reassurances and hear from people there, and have raised their concerns with the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime at City Hall.

We must do what we can to heed prime minister Ardern’s call for action. Groups like the so-called Democratic Football Lads Alliance, with their hate-fuelled rhetoric, have no place in our society. My calls to West Ham Utd to state clearly that they are not, and never will be part of the West Ham family, have been supported by many others, and I will be asking other clubs to follow suit.

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