Charitable Trust

HOPE not hate

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‘You’re Boring I’m Bored’ election night gig

posted by: John Talbot | on: Monday, 26 June 2017, 10:24

The RPMs

The RPMs

You’re Boring I’m Bored is a new live music night in east London which showcases new talent and promises crowd interaction through ludicrous games and spot prizes.

When the snap election was called in April it felt only natural that we should have a party on the night to watch the result unfold, which eventually no-one could have predicted.



It also felt natural, given the divisive nature of politics recently and some of the more shocking events in the UK, that all profits raised should go to a charity that encourages cohesion in our communities and celebrates what unites us all rather than preying on our fears and perceived differences. As organiser it meant a lot to me to be working to fund HOPE not hate on the night.

The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch was quick to confirm the free use of its venue and team; the night was soon announced featuring DJs and live performances from local musicians.

Alexis Kings

Alexis Kings

Giving their time and talents by performing for free were singer & songwriter Harry Pane, Brighton’s The RPMs, stomping rockers Alexis Kings and Britwave upstarts SHINERS. The night was topped off with a last minute secret performance by Youth of the Apocalypse, which features members of Klaxons and Gorillaz as well as boasting for one night only guest rapper DMC (Darryl McDaniels) of legends Run DMC.

It proved an incredibly successful evening. As well as brilliant live music, punters were entertained by a live arm-wrestling contest between the upper and the working classes, plus a graffiti-slash-colouring-in contest that saw a political vision for Britain like never seen before!

With hundreds of £s raised for HOPE not hate, everyone came away feeling connected and confident that community and good times trumps extremism every time.

Youth of the Apocalypse

Youth of the Apocalypse

 Posted: 26 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Prayer, fun and food in Brum

posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:37

We had a great turn out of Quaker friends joining us for a Great Get Together on Friday 16 June, celebrating with food, good company and plenty of fun.

The highlight, which left many quite emotional, was the prayer in the evening.

When the Muslims prayed their evening prayer after breaking their fast, the Quakers and friends of other faith backgrounds formed a semi-circle around them and said the prayer in their own faith.

We had more people turn up than we expected, which led us to pray out in the open – which worked out just brilliantly!

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:31

Over 100 people created paper doves in memory of Jo Cox last Saturday at St Philip’s cathedral in Birmingham.

We screened a film showing different aspects of Jo Cox's life – as a mother, MP and campaigner – and two huge maps of Birmingham and the world where people played a prayer, showing that no matter where we had all come from, it was Birmingham that had brought us together.

Schools and visitors had been asked prior to the event to make 'a dove 4 jo' and bring it along on the day. There were so many doves hat we didn't have enough time to put them up on the tree which had been planted by Princess Diana more than two decades ago (the team had to put them up the following day to). Others made doves on the day and hung them on a 'special' tree.

We had live music played by different local artists and the Lord Mayor, the Bishop of Birmingham and more than 100 others who attended the event – a fantastic day for all.

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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People came together across Cambridgeshire in memory of Jo Cox

posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:25

Hundreds of people came together in Ely and Cambridge last weekend, to celebrate the life and memory of Jo Cox and enjoy the Great Get Together.

People from across the Fens donated money to the local refugee resettlement campaign and signed up to support HOPE not hate at a stall in Ely market.

Then at a coffee morning in the local Methodist church, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Baha’is, Humanists and atheists joined Ely residents in conversation over a piece of cake and a cup of tea.

Finally at St. Mary’s Church, the main hub of the Ely Great Get Together, residents shared dishes from all over the world, made new friendships, while children drew messages of hope on human paper chains. The event would not have been possible without the support of Chris and volunteers from Ely Community Against Hate.

The next day we met in Arbury, the most deprived part of the city, with the support of the city council, human and migrant rights organisations, ethnic and faith communities, voluntary groups and local supporters.

We had speakers who spoke about why Cambridge is “home” – Shahida Rahman, a writer, spoke about being a Muslim woman of Bangladeshi origin but her family has called Cambridge home for the past 60 years.

Aisha Shu, a local activist and refugee from Uganda, told of how Cambridge residents raised thousands on pounds to pay for her legal fees and help her settle in the city. Mayor George Pippas shared his own story – of a refugee who came to Cambridge fleeing war in Cyprus – and how he was proof that anyone can make it in the UK and give back to the community.

Also on Sunday, we supported the Ely Muslim Association in organising their Great Get Together Iftar, while Sunday was a picnic on the Peterborough Cathedral Green organised with the support of the Cathedral, Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services, Peterborough Racial Equality Council, ethnic and faith community groups.

Be it in liberal Cambridge, in conservative Fens or in multicultural, but economically deprived Peterborough, the vast majority of people agreed that we have more in common than what divides us and that, as a country, we need to be more united, now more than ever!

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Hope Picnic in South Brum

posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:22

We had a wonderful, relaxing day in south Birmingham, where people enjoyed the food we had brought in, particularly our organising team member, Glenys, who baked her own scones!

In fact, we didn’t finish the food, but we all relaxed under a shady tree in the scorching hot weather, while chatting with people we’d not met before.

A case of ‘more in common’ than we realised!

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Street Iftar

posted by: Mahmooda Qureshi | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:18

Hundreds of people came from across Balsall Heath in Birmingham last Sunday to join in Moseley Road’s first ever ‘Street Iftar’, celebrating the life of Jo Cox as part of the nationwide Great Get Together.

HOPE not hate supported the event, which with food donated by several local restaurants.

The event, supported by HOPE not hate, took place in a KwikFit car park and created a great buzz all over Birmingham. We expected about 500 people but had well over 700 who attended on the day! There were several live feeds on Facebook and social media, and we all shared food donated by several local restaurants.

Speakers were invited from different faith backgrounds – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh, alongside Muslims – and we also had representation from the local city council who highly praised the initiative. The event was chaired by HOPE not hate.

People left quite emotional, stating how much they loved the evening and stating how much was a great need for such an event.

“We hope the Street Iftar will kickstart an annual intercultural and interfaith event where Balsall Heath can unite to break bread together,” said Dr Noha Nasser, of MELA social enterprise, who ran the event.

“It is the start of the regeneration of the Moseley Road as a key meeting place for the neighbourhood,” she said.

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Sheffield & Rotherham United

posted by: Nick Stevens | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 20:13

Around 1,000 residents of Rotherham and Sheffield came together across two fantastic Great Get Together events of celebration and solidarity in Rotherham’s Clifton Park and Sheffield’s Heeley City Farm, in memory of Jo Cox and also as a show of defiance to those who attempt to spread hate, fear and division in our communities.

Organised as small-scale community festivals, both events basked in glorious sunshine, as groups of friends and families enjoyed the uplifting atmosphere, engaged with the various activities and stalls on offer, made new friendships and reignited old ones.

On the Saturday in Rotherham, local musicians spanning the genres of African-inspired drumming, choristers, political folk and a young people’s dance group filled the running order at Clifton Park bandstand. A minute’s silence took place in memory of Jo, led by newly-elected Mayor of Rotherham, Eve Rose, and re-elected MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, who both made very moving speeches to an audience which observed the silence and subsequent addresses impeccably.

Throughout the day, Rotherham-based graffiti artist, the extremely talented Phil Padfield, gradually created a sepia portrait of Jo, with her immortalised ‘more in common’ words layered over the top. Local artist, and Rotherham Carnival organiser, Vicky Hilton, ran activities with youngsters while the Doncaster Real Junk Food Project provided food for the crowds.

Friends at the Rotherham 12 Justice Campaign, with whom HOPE not hate has been working, also ran a food tent, though this one specifically feeding Rotherham’s homeless community in the spirit of Ramadan.


The picturesque Heeley City Farm in Sheffield played host to over 500 of the city’s residents on Sunday, a day jammed full of music, art, activities, food and poetry.

Jazz, maypole dancing, Celtic folk rock, Southern African singing, R&B and Iranian folk were all the order of the day in the performance area, with SOSA-XA! encouraging the sun-soaked field into portions of audience participation. Sheffield-based poets River and Mimi followed another moving speech commemorating the life of Jo Cox, by MP for Sheffield Heeley Louise Haigh, with some verses written specifically for Sheffield’s Great Get Together on the theme of unity.

HOPE not hate activists roamed the field for the entirety of the event, striking up conversations with attendees and spreading a message of HOPE and friendship, while also monitoring the progress of the community static bike ride to Batley, which was conducted in solidarity with the residents of Jo’s former constituency. By 2:30pm the cyclists had peddled the 37 miles to Batley, fuelled by food courtesy of Sheffield Real Junk Food Project.

Throughout the course of the day children made beautiful music instruments at the My Arty Party, attendees placed coloured dots on a huge map of the world indicating their country of origin and the beauty of migration, engaged in other art projects led by friends at Sheffield Amnesty International, joined hula-hooping workshops and also just sat on the grass immersing themselves in the community atmosphere and enjoying a picnic.

With three divisive elections in two years, and with four error attacks within the space of three months, not to mention the horrors in Rotherham which have brought with it multiple far-right incursions, it was incredibly heartening to see so many people turn their backs on hate, turn out en masse and in unity and embrace the events so enthusiastically.

A big thank you to everyone who made the Great Get Togethers in Rotherham and Sheffield possible.

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A poem for Jo Cox

posted by: Liz Gray | on: Friday, 23 June 2017, 15:37

For Jo Cox


Liz Gray

If we had words to gather

and ravel up a life

knit the years as yet unlived

slit by shot and knife;

if we had wool to work it

to stitch it, row on row,

a life cast off too early

the pattern yet to show;

if we could knit it better

back and sides and arm

if, by the stitches of our hearts

we could unpick that harm:

for were you then so wicked,

corrupt, self-serving, dark?

Had you then deserved that bullet

so to find its mark?

No palaces at Westminster

you had a narrow barge,

your heart went out to Syria

because your life was large;

and there is a Birstall everywhere;

you’re everyone’s MP

democracy’s shot down today

outside your surgery

and there are no words to gather

just the silence that is grief

as we stand arm to shoulder

with shock and disbelief.

Our verses stumble, fall down

and die within the breast.

Speak only what is in our heart

and silence

is the rest.

© Liz Gray 2016

 Posted: 23 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Big Iftar launches

posted by: Safya Khan-Ruf | on: Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 18:35

HOPE not hate attended the launch of the hugely-popular Ramadan fixture, The Big Iftar last week, celebrating the breaking of the Islamic fast, or iftar, along with other other civic and faith leaders from across London.

Coordinated by Julie Siddiqi, former head of the Islamic Society of Britain and co-founder of groundbreaking Jewish-Muslim women’s network, Nisa-Nashim, The Big Iftar encourages Muslims to welcome non-Muslim friends and neighbours to share a meal and build dialogue between communities throughout the month of Ramadan.

Now in its sixth year, Big Iftar events have taken place up and down the country, hosted by faith institutions, charities and social action institutions – all with the aim of breaking down barriers between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

“The Big Iftar has a bit of a life of its own and not only do Muslims get involved in hosting people for iftar, but we are seeing other faiths and organisations doing it too,” said Julie Siddiqi.

“Churches, synagogues, homeless projects, women’s groups, schools and more. In times when we know there are people in our country and around the world who want to spread hatred and division, it feels even more important than ever to find ways to bring people together, break down barriers, get to know one another better.”

The event at the Westminster Academy included slam poetry, song, and a shared meal. A range of organisations also spoke including Nisa-Nashim, which promotes understanding between Muslim and Jewish women, and the Penny Appeal, a charity.

An “Iftar for all Londoners” is planned for 18 June, as part of the Great Get Together. The event marks one year since MP Jo Cox was killed and will celebrate her belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.

“When the venue was chosen organisers could never have imagined what was going to happen on London Bridge and the horrific attacks there,” said Siddiqi. “Somehow it gives more reason to get people together and share time with each other as we all try and make sense of what happened.”

Photos: Rooful Ali and Jo Cox Foundation

 Posted: 7 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Bridging the ‘formal’ divide at Oxford

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 16:18

A new interfaith initiative at Oxford University’s Formal Hall is bringing together dozens of students from different faith backgrounds

Until recently, ‘Formal Hall’ – the regular formal dinner for students and fellows in the Oxbridge Colleges – has been associated with ancient Oxbridge traditions that many find incomprehensible and associated with inaccessible privilege.

Even for some students of faith, they have remained inaccessible – until now. A new initiative supported by the Venerable Arch Deacon Martin Gorick has changed all that, bringing 40+ students of many faiths together at Formal Hall for an “interfaith formal” in the Great Hall at Christ Church College (Oxford), made famous when used as a backdrop in the Harry Potter films.

Our evening began as the bells chimed six. Students had been invited to arrive early and experience an Evensong that took place in the cathedral. Participants of all faiths were around us. We noted the similarities of the Bible readings and blessings for peace and harmony. The chaplain took special care to offer an interfaith prayer, making us feel particularly welcome.

Our evening continued with drinks in the Antehall and a formal dinner in the magnificent Christ Church Hall itself. Faith-based questions were placed on the table and served as icebreakers to guide intentional and meaningful conversation.

A mix of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Hindu students mingled seamlessly throughout the dinner, with conversation ranging from coursework and college life, to faith-based conversations about issues such as ritual practices, religious names, gender roles, and religious accommodation. All dietary requirements were handled, making it possible for many religious students to engage in an otherwise impossible experience.

We progressed to taking group photos on the famous Harry Potter stairs. Small table groups broke off to take their own “selfies”, setting in stone their new, budding friendships. Slowly, we then made our way to the lecture room, to hear from Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler, Reverend Clare Hayns of Christ Church, and Hassaan Shawawy, a current Rhodes scholar reading Islamic Studies. Each shared their spiritual journey and talked about their current projects.

As the evening progressed, the time for evening prayer drew near. Individually, Muslim students mentioned that they would need to step out for their prayer. On a whim, we took an intermission from the speakers and progressed to pray together, separated by a line of tables: the Muslims prayed the maghrib, and Jewish students the maariv.

Post-prayer, we resumed with a panel Q&A, looking at how we could engage in serious interfaith relations. One leader suggested we discuss our similarities and another challenged us to engage with “the elephant in the room” (the Israel/Palestine conflict).

We left feeling up for the challenges ahead and excited about the work we could do together in building bridges between our communities. I felt remarkably blessed to have worked with Amna Ali of New College and other members of the Oxford University Islamic Society board. We are grateful to have had a hand in such a project and cannot wait to see what our multi-faith future holds!

Shoshanah Singer is Chair of the Jewish Society at Oxford University

 Posted: 7 Jun 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments