Rabbi Shmuli-Pink (L), Suleman Nagdi (R)
The last 6 months have been a testing time for Leicester, and for the country as a whole. Covid-19 continues to change how we live, in ways we would scarcely have found imaginable at the start of 2020.
Eid was cancelled, leaving many disappointed. We have had to keep our distance from friends and family. Some of us have lost loved ones.
Isolation, uncertainty and stress have been unavoidable by-products of the pandemic. The additional lockdown measures currently in place in Leicester have only heightened this further.
Despite all of this, it has been heartening to see the heroic efforts of many in the community to support the most vulnerable and isolated.
Sadly, this positivity hasn’t been universal. Over the last few months we have also seen an increase in hate crime directed towards certain communities. Fear and anxiety have been manipulated to stoke anger and division through lies and misinformation.
It is unacceptable and it must stop.
During Hate Crime Awareness Week FMO is continuing our work with the hate crime unit of Leicester Police, including showing support for communities across Leicester as part of the pledge photo initiative. FMO are here for you if you have concerns or have experienced abuse. You can also find help with Stamp it Out.
We would also urge anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime, or has witnessed a hate crime, to report it to the Police Hate Crime Officer, Isla Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not the time to increase division and hate. This is not the time to generalise the actions of individuals to their communities. This is the time to support each other, and to listen to each other.
So this Hate Crime Awareness Week, I have a simple message for all of Leicester – Hate has no place in our city. Not now. Not ever.