Quakers stand with victims of racist policies

Quakers in Britain have responded to global unease about recent political developments with a clear statement:

“We condemn all acts of government which set people against one another; which discriminate against people because of who they are or where they were born. We reject policies which condone suspicion and hatred; which turn away those who need and depend upon our help.”

It goes on to say “Humanity needs leaders of integrity and conscience, ready to be held to account by individuals and institutions, national and international.”

syrian-migrant-boy-turkey

The US President is seeking to ban all Syrian refugees such as three-year old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his brother and their mother off the coast of Turkey in 2015. 

One group active locally to mitigate suffering is Bath Welcomes Refugees. After a successful Syrian fundraising dinner in Bath plans are in hand to set up a second one shortly. Bath has a deep and thriving inter-faith tradition (see posts here and here). More broadly the City of Sanctuary movement works to help cities become more welcoming to refugees. Individuals can sign up to the Charter for Compassion which works the shared principle of compassion. It also runs a Compassionate Cities programme.

The full statement issued by British Quakers’ representative body, Meeting for Sufferings , is below:

“’We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity’ (Margaret Fell, writing to Charles II in 1660). Quakers in Britain see these values now under growing threat around the world, not least from recent developments in the United States of America.

“We condemn all acts of government which set people against one another; which discriminate against people because of who they are or where they were born. We reject policies which condone suspicion and hatred; which turn away those who need and depend upon our help. We were not put on Earth for this, but to be a people of God, to live in harmony with each other.

“There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality. Our faith urges us to welcome the stranger as our equal and friend, feed those who are hungry and shelter those who are homeless, needy and frightened.

“Alongside Quakers in the USA, and their American Friends Service Committee, we stand with those whose lives are blighted by racist, discriminatory policies and those whose faith is denigrated by association with a tiny violent minority. We pray for the courage and steadfastness that will be needed as we uphold our testimony of equality, justice, peace, sustainability and truth. For us, prayer is inseparable from action.

There can be no peace without justice; no love without trust; and no unity without equality.

– Meeting for Sufferings statement

“Humanity needs leaders of integrity and conscience, ready to be held to account by individuals and institutions, national and international. We pray for those in positions of power. We call on them, as public servants, to work with all of good faith to build the world we seek, to fertilise the soil in which the tender shoots of peace, love and unity may flourish.”

  • from Meeting for Sufferings held at Friends House, Quakers’ central offices in London, Saturday 4 Feb 2017.

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