Brexit briefing: updated info on keeping safe

A big thank you to DS Shabnam Chaudri and colleagues for hosting our latest Brexit Briefing for local places of worship at New Scotland Yard.

We refreshed our knowledge of keeping ourselves, our buildings and the wider community safe.  The EU Exit page has been updated with links, videos and checklists which we can use to maintain and increase our resilience. There is also plenty of information for non-British EU citizens, businesses, universities, handling the media, looking after one another and reporting hate crime.

Attacks against Muslims and mosques have soared since Christchurch. We discussed how we can all keep at look out, protect each other and report hate crime of any kind. Here is a pdf of the Upstander cartoon, which is easy to circulate – what to do if someone on the bus/tube/train/street is being shouted at or receiving horrible comments. We heard many stories of people from minority faith and ethnic groups in London, including people from Eastern Europe, receiving hateful messages and online abuse. Reporting abuse and providing support is something we can all do.

Since our briefing, the earliest date for leaving the EU has shifted to 12 April.  We are keeping in touch with each other and we encourage all places of worship across the capital to strengthen their links with neighbouring churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras & synagogues – and with their local authorities and police.  Borough faith forums are one way of supporting each other and a network to share information.

The Church of England is encouraging churches and communities to come together for tea & prayer for the country and the Brexit process.

Please contact LBFN if you would like the contact details of your local Metropolitan Police Faith Officer.  The MPS is now organised into 12 areas across London called Basic Command Units (BCUs) and Faith Officers sometimes work across their SBU or look after a smaller area.

Preparing for EU Exit

Our meeting at City Hall last week brought people from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim & Sikh communities together for some thoughtful discussion.

We are very grateful to Jeremy Reynolds of London Resilience for briefing us on preparations for leaving the EU and for listening to a range of concerns as well as our positive ideas for resisting any negative impacts on our local communities.

Local authority and police officers also joined us.

Have a look at our EU Exit page, which is now updated with links to useful sources of information suggested by Jeremy and others. There are also suggestions for action, with links. We will keep this refreshed as new material becomes available.

Concerns included hate crime on public transport (eg “Wait till Brexit – we’ll get rid of you”), uncertainty & not knowing who to ask, trade down in small businesses & worries about import/export, impact on donations to foodbanks, paralysis at the top trickling down to local level, fear experienced by anyone perceived to be foreign (whether they are British or not), antisemitism playing into the situation (“you’re controlling/benefiting from all this”), concerns that Islamophobia & antisemitism in the major political parties not really being dealt with properly, people being asked to prove their status before treatment in the NHS (& embarrassment about this stopping British people going for treatment until things are worse), EU nationals can register but you don’t get a piece of paper only a number, people are confused over benefits, public services are fully stretched and also preparing for EU Exit, no-one wants to stir up unnecessary fear by voicing uncertainty, visible differences (eg minority religious clothing) v invisible differences (eg when speaking) create further fractures, uncertainty about travelling to continental Europe and getting back to the UK, worries about EU Nationals employed by churches, fears of panic buying and public disorder.

Having channels of communication open means we can be prepared. There are suggestions on our EU Exit page. Preparing for Brexit builds our capacity & our social capital. It encourages the public sector, churches, mosques, gurdwaras, synagogues & temples to be in touch and to

  • bring together local residents
  • resist any negative impact on community relations
  • support the vulnerable
  • share information

We are planning one more briefing meeting before 29 March. In the meantime, please keep in touch and add your own suggestions of useful material/organisations as a reply to this post or by email.

PS Apologies for the intrusive ads; we need to upgrade the LBFN site.