Gaza: Preston councillor warns there's 'no place for hate' in the city over the war
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In a statement - which the Lancashire Post understands was not prompted by any reported incidents or specific concerns - cabinet member for communities and social justice, Nweeda Khan, says that hatred of any kind does not belong in Preston.
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, controversially branded pro-Palestinian demonstrations “hate marches” late last month.
Preston’s Flag Market has seen three Palestinian-supporting demonstrations and vigils since the outbreak of the war in the Middle East - one of which was the start and end point for a procession through the city centre - and all of them passed off entirely peacefully.
Cllr Khan said earlier this week: “At a time of significant international tension and acknowledging strongly held views amongst communities in Preston and across the UK, we call for everyone to commit to ensure that we have no tolerance of antisemitism, Islamophobia, nor any form of hate crime. Hate of this nature has no place in Preston.
“If incidents do occur, they can of course be reported to the police. Community-based groups such as the Community Security Trust (https://cst.org.uk/) and Tell Mama (https://tellmamauk.org/) are also available.”
Jeremy Dable, the Jewish community representative on Preston’s faith covenant, said that the statement was an “appropriate” one, especially against the backdrop of the Jewish community nationally “feeling insecure”.
“It’s important that the council does something like this in order to fulfil their function of doing what they can to maintain relationships, harmony, order, cohesion - which we need.”
Mukhtar Master, the Muslim lead on the faith covenant, told the Post that “any spike in Islamophobia is solely down to the mainstream media and central government narrative, which tries to paint the Gaza war as some kind of religious battle between Islam and Judaism”. Although he said that it was not an issue he had noticed in Preston.
Mr. Master added: “All protests and criticism of Israeli action in Gaza [are] merely a natural humanitarian response to the desperate plight of the Palestinians and the genocide which is currently taking place.”