|The events in Knowsley last Friday night were horrific and inevitable.
A large group of far-right rioters gathered outside a hotel where people who are going through the asylum system are living. The group was extremely hostile and violent, setting a police van on fire. The residents of the hotel, looking on to these scenes, were of course terrified, especially after many of them had already fled unimaginable violence.
For years, people in positions of power have been warned that the words they use will increase the number and severity of racist attacks against refugees. The dehumanising language of hate, racism and hostility used by the Government, its ministers, and its departments against refugees is fuelling far-right violence against people who have asked us for safety.
What happened in Knowsley is not the first incident of violence we have seen against people seeking asylum in the UK. It will also not be the last. Already, we know other far-right groups across the UK are getting ready to target hotels housing people seeking asylum.
There is no doubt about it. These actions are a direct result of the dehumanising language used by the government and in particular by the Home Secretary in the House of Commons.
This language is used daily by MPs and Ministers to target migrants and people seeking asylum. They are all too happy to whip up hate and then identify the hotels where people, including men, women and children, are living. This recklessness is putting lives at risk. The Government must stop empowering the far right with its language and policies. If they do not, the consequences could be fatal.
The Nationality and Borders Bill has further bolstered this hostile agenda and we anticipate the new legislation announced by Rishi Sunak before Christmas will only make this hostility worse. The crisis in the asylum system was entirely designed by the Government prioritising deterrence and cruelty rather than a workable system grounded in compassion.
We know that neither these attacks nor the government’s overwhelmingly hostile narrative reflect what most people in the UK believe. And because of this we are sure, that like us, you may be looking for ways to counter this narrative. If this is the case, I have pulled together some suggestions of how you could get involved and help fight for a kinder and more welcoming UK.
1. Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws.
They must be repealed. Please email your MP today to ask them to stand with us and sign our pledge to fight the anti-refugee laws.
2. Facts about asylum quiz.
Ignorance breeds hatred. Social media, along with certain politicians and news sources, is full of misinformation about refugees in the UK. Will you help us get the facts out there by sharing this quiz?
3. Send a welcome message.
It lets refugees and people seeking asylum know that they’re not alone. That there are people here in Britain who care. Who share their hope that they can build a new life here.
We will not let the far-right and those in the Government who embolden them win.
Tim Naor Hilton