British bishops condemn wave of post-Brexit xenophobia

Racist graffiti/Reuters

British bishops have condemned an upsurge of racism and hatred in the wake of the Brexit vote as "something we must not tolerate," Catholic News Service reports.

"We have to say this is simply not acceptable in a humane society, and it should never be provoked or promoted," Cardinal Vincent Nichols said.

The June 28 statement from Cardinal Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, came a day after the National Police Chiefs' Council revealed that 85 complaints of hate crime were received between June 23, the day of the referendum on UK membership in the EU, and June 26.

The figure represented a 57 percent increase in such offenses in a similar period just a month earlier.

Xenophobic incidents included the vandalism of the buildings of a Polish social and cultural association in London and the verbal abuse of foreigners on a tram in Manchester, a film of which was sent to Channel 4 News.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth told CNS in a telephone interview that, in his diocese, there were "huge numbers of immigrants from Poland, Kerala (India), the Philippines and Nigeria."

"I am extremely sad to think of violence against foreign people who are living here," he said. "There is no justification whatsoever for that.

"Many of these immigrants are already beloved members of our communities. They have contributed to local life and organisations," he said.

"Britain has always, through the centuries, been a country which has assimilated people from abroad, and they have taken on our values, and also they have made us proud because they have made a great success of it," Bishop Egan said.

"Both materially and spiritually, the vast majority of people who are working here and in our diocese are making a wonderful contribution," he added. "To think of violence against them is self-destructive. It is self-harm. We are harming ourselves as much as we are inflicting division and suffering on others."

Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, the diocese based in Bristol, also issued a statement telling Catholics that it was important "to work for the common good and not create barriers of division and prejudice."

"We should have a profound respect for one another, and this should be reflected in the way we speak and behave," he said in the statement posted on the diocesan website on June 27.


English bishops condemn rise in xenophobic attacks after Brexit vote (Catholic News Service)


UK vows action after racist attacks on Poles and Muslims in wake of Brexit (Reuters)

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