Religious leaders condemn Exeter EDL march

The following is a letter from Exeter Faith Group referencing the upcoming EDL march in the city

ON behalf of the Exeter Faith and Belief Group, we wish to express our concern about the proposed national march by the English Defence League in Exeter on November 16.

We are representatives of different faith and belief groups who meet regularly to develop understanding and friendship between our various communities in the city.

We believe that the march will only serve to incite religious and racial hatred.

Whenever extremists in this country or abroad have attacked innocent people, there is an increase in racially and religiously-motivated incidents on innocent people here, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault.

An example of this was the unprovoked attack on a young Chinese woman earlier this summer.

Many incidents go unreported to the police, but the rise in tensions generated by events such as the EDL march mean that some local families are afraid for the safety of their young people and themselves.

The Respect festival demonstrates each year how much the city is enriched by our diversity.

We should like to express our support for the proposed diversity celebration – and hope that this will enable the majority of Exeter citizens to peacefully celebrate the diversity of our city.

Rev Janet Conway (Christian)

Rosemary Khireshi (Muslim)

Jude Taylorson (Buddhist)

Exeter Express & Echo, 1 November 2013