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NorSCARF condemns Stoke Council decision to shun Syrian children seeking asylum

April 4, 2016

At NorSCARFs April general meeting, this evening,  a discussion was held on the recent decision by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to refuse to help in the resettling of any of the over 2000 unaccompanied Syrian children, currently in Kent.  The decision was met with a strong feeling of condemnation, from all those in attendance.


As was reported in the Sentinel, last week, Stoke Council have refused any help, with Council cabinet member Randy Conteh defending the decision by saying the following “we have no immediate plans to take any unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who are currently in Kent. As part of the Syrian resettlement programme we have pledged to assist 20 people, once we have the assurances from Government on how they will support them. We believe this number is proportionate to what is being asked of by Government and to the level of support being pledged by cities and areas across the West Midlands.”

We at NorSCARF believe that the decision taken is a disgrace and believe the council should be doing all they can to help the most vulnerable children seeking asylum. As Reverend Sally Smith, from the asylum-seeker charity Sanctus, stated  “The most important thing is to look beyond the financial cost as many of these children will be severely traumatised. They will be re-living horrific events which will shape their lives and we should embrace the opportunity to help them.”

For the council of a city the size of Stoke-on-Trent to think that their decision to refuse to help any unaccompanied children and only take only 20 refugees is adequate is truly appalling.

We call upon the council to reverse their decision and believe they should pledge to drastically increase the number of Syrian asylum seekers they plan to assist.  We strongly believe all refugees fleeing war and oppression should be welcomed!

Campaign launched to support refugees in North Staffordshire

September 23, 2015

At a packed meeting of NorSCARF (the North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism) on Monday evening, 21 September 2015, it was agreed to launch a campaign of solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees. Representatives of several local agencies that support asylum seekers were present at the meeting, where it was decided to develop a series of public activities to help raise public awareness of the plight of refugees, and counter the myths and misconceptions around asylum seekers that are expressed by politicians and the media.

There are already several hundred asylum seekers in North Staffordshire, and more are expected soon from Syria. Several NorSCARF members have offered spare rooms in their houses to asylum seekers who are in particular need.

Members were particularly concerned about the plight of the desperate people in Calais forced to travel thousands of miles across land and sea to escape war-torn countries, poverty and oppression. NorSCARF is helping to collect clothing and other items for a convoy organised by two of its members, which will be taking aid from North Staffordshire to Calais on October 17th.

Dr Simon Martin Halstead, secretary of NorSCARF, said: ‘All people of good will have to act as one to bring relief to those fellow human beings who are most in need. As shown by the aid to Lidice in the past, The Potteries has a proud humanitarian tradition to uphold’.

For more information, contact NorSCARF on

The truth about asylum

September 22, 2015

Looking for the facts about asylum? The same old myths and scare stories are peddled again and again. The truth is in short supply.

The Refugee Council believe it’s time to put that right, time to tell it like it is. That’s why they’ve produced these facts and figures that you can rely on.

Follow the link here

The Midlands is sick of far-right protests – the EDL and others should get out and stay out

July 7, 2015

The following post is from an article in the Birmingham Post which can be found here

A memo to far right organisations hell-bent on spreading disharmony on our streets: your out-dated, knuckle-dragging, divisive policies are not wanted, not needed and not supported.

The vast majority will not be seduced by your scare-mongering, will not be manipulated by the bile spewed out.

Our region is a glorious melting point of cultures, and we’re proud of it.

Yet that is a message lost on organisations hell-bent on breaking the bonds that have made Birmingham and the Black Country great.

The region is bracing itself for three more demos, rallies that we, as taxpayers, will pay to police.

And, make no mistake, the price will be high.

The English Defence League and the United Patriots groups will both stage demos in Walsall.

The EDL News website also reveals organisers of last weekend’s washout protest plan a return to Dudley in September.

They evidently have not learnt or listened.

Last Saturday’s demo, organised by a little-known group calling itself All Football Firms/Fans March Against Islamisation, attracted only a fraction of the promised 3,000 supporters.

That proved the propaganda is wearing thin even among the deluded followers of those parties who prey on prejudice and paranoia.

These groups have a democratic right to spout their archaic views on the streets.

We have a democratic right not to listen.

And, thankfully, that’s a right practiced by the vast majority.

Police make arrest over hate blog post

July 7, 2015

The text below is from an article in the Jewish Chronicle.

Police have arrested a man in relation to a blog post ahead of a neo-Nazi protest due to take place in north-west London next week.

The Community Security Trust confirmed it had been informed of an arrest made on Friday afternoon.

The group said the arrest was in relation to the demonstration, expected to take place next Shabbat, July 4 in Golders Green.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed its officers had worked with colleagues in Barnet and Somerset to arrest a 22-year-old man in Yeovil on Friday morning on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

The man is in custody at a central London police station.

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers continue to assess all information and intelligence available in relation to the proposed demonstration and speak with the organisers to ensure we have an appropriate policing response in place.

“We are aware of concerns in the local community about the negative impact this proposed demonstration may have on them and are working with residents to ensure that people can exercise their rights in a way that is lawful, while minimising this impact.”

On Wednesday night, white supremacist Joshua Bonehill-Paine posted a series of offensive images and comments on his website.

One image showed the walls of Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and a can of weed-killer.

It carried the words: “Liberate Golders Green: An anti-Jewification event. We’ve become complacent and allowed for weeds to grow in the cracks of London. It’s time to clear them out with round-up and liberate Golders Green for future generations of white people.

“Join us on July 4 for what promises to be an absolute gas!”

A second image showed an emoticon designed to look like Hitler and read: “Hey kids! We’re going to Golders Green on July 4 for a party. Join us for what promises to be an absolute gas!”

Police were made aware of the post and other comments made by Bonehill-Paine in relation to the demonstration.

Last week he had claimed supporters were planning to burn copies of the Talmud ahead of the event.

Alerted to his possible imminent arrest by a Facebook post from the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Bonehill-Paine said he would remain defiant.

He wrote online: “Given the fact that I am literally on my last legal legs as so to speak, should Hertfordshire police move to arrest me then we can expect the Crown Prosecution Service and magistrates to remand me in custody.

“A few months in prison is absolutely no consequence to me, I’d be back out to continue leading the Anti-Jewification initiative and my voice will remain strong.”

The JC understands Bonehill-Paine lives in Yeovil.

Ukip is Europe’s laziest party

July 7, 2015

According to data compiled by VoteWatch Europe UKIP is Europe’ laziest party.

See the breakdown in the Guardian Datablog here.

WaterWorld ‘won’t be bullied’ by far-right group planning protest at ‘sisters-only’ event

July 7, 2015

The following is taken from the Sentinel website.

THE boss of Waterworld has vowed the venue will not be ‘bullied’ after plans for a far right demonstration against a women-only night were revealed.

Police have been notified about a planned English Defence League protest over the event.

Supporters of the far-right group plan to demonstrate outside WaterWorld in Festival Park one week before a ‘sisters-only’ evening.

The two-hour event on August 9 aims to allow women who would otherwise not be able to visit due to cultural sensitivities to enjoy the park.

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The windows will be blacked out, there will only be female lifeguards and visitors are asked to wear clothing that is ‘culturally and islamically appropriate’.

The EDL has branded the event as ‘oppressive’ and plan to protest on August 1.

But WaterWorld owner Mo Chaudry said he believed there was a gap in the market for such an event, which also allows in boys aged up to four.

He said all women, irrespective of faith or ethnicity, are welcome to attend and wear normal swimming costumes. But clothing must adhere to health and safety rules, and anyone wearing loose outfits or T-shirts would not be allowed on the rides.

He added: “I’m astonished that we have been targeted . We feel we’ve been victimised for offering something that we feel there is a demand for.

“This is no different to a ladies-only gym . It’s cheap, political manoeuvring.

“The event will go ahead. The only thing that would prevent it is a lack of demand. We’re not going to be bullied.”

EDL Staffordshire division leader Jennifer Stewart-Stevens said the protest will be confined to the venue.

The 30-year-old, who is willing to meet with Mr Chaudry, added: “We are supposed to live in a multi-cultural society. People need to integrate, not segregate. I appreciate Islam has got a culture of segregating women but if they are going to integrate they need to accept our traditions.

“We are not going to cause trouble. We are there to raise awareness. We are not anti-Islamic though, as a woman, I can see oppression in that religion.”

WaterWorld has pointed out it holds a number of events to cater for those who would otherwise be restricted. These include a singles night, a weekly wave rave for 10 to 14 year olds, a naturist night, events for guests with disabilities and male-only nights.

The protest has been referred to Staffordshire Police. Chief Inspector Neil Hulme, local policing commander for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “We are now gathering information and will be talking to all parties concerned to establish what is set to take place.”


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