Observing International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the World Council of Churches has spoken of the power of its member churches in their collective work to overcome racism, a work that brings hope in spite of today’s serious challenges worldwide.
As Ekklesia's 2007 report "When the Saints Go Marching Out', reissued in 2010 (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11944) pointed out, and as others have subsequently affirmed, St George is not primarily "an English Saint", as popular assumption has it, but a Middle Eastern one with international, multicultural associations and a founding story about resistance to the persecutory impulse of Empire.
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick accused staff at Harmondsworth removal centre of "a shocking lack of humanity" after two gravely ill men were kept in handcuffs. For 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac, who had dementia, these were not removed until after his heart stopped beating. Such cases show the damaging effects of xenophobia.
The Movement Against Xenophobia is a new campaign, promoted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and its allies, aimed at countering the vicious anti-immigrant discourse of mainstream politics in the UK.
The recent horrific terror attacks in Norway seem to have been occasioned in part by the rise of fearful far-right movements which use Christian language as part of their guise. The answer to these should not be accommodation, says Simon Barrow, but an attempt to build robust civic alliances for social justice and against racism and xenophobia.