Reclaim St George’s Day!

ST GEORGE 4 ALL! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

St George’s Day Statement from Leading Faith Groups

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Twitter: #stgeorge4all

Time to reclaim St George’s Day for all English, say leading faith figures

St George should be a figure of national unity and pride. That’s why we – a coalition of English faith groups and campaigners – are ‘reclaiming’ England’s patron saint and demanding he becomes representative of all English peoples.

We demand him back from those who promote racism and extremism, and from those who say that St George can only represent a single ethnic group.

We want to promote a new, relaxed and confident, English national identity. A place where a ‘hijab’ is as welcome as bangers and mash, and no one is attacked for their race, religion (or lack thereof) or any other belief.

That is why this St George’s Day we are reclaiming St George.

As patron saint for England, St George is there for everyone living in England. Too often he has been hijacked and used as a symbol of triumphalism and division by those on the extreme Right. St George needs to take his rightful place as a national symbol of inclusivity rather than a symbol of hatred.

Although the Crusaders used the Cross of St George, St George actually lived before the birth of Islam and should not be associated with any hatred of Muslims. He is respected by many people in the Middle East because of his origins there.

Therefore on St George’s Day, we call upon all people of goodwill to join us in:

•  standing up against the hijacking of a national hero by those who promote Islamophobia, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination

•  opposing the modern ‘dragons’ of hatred and intolerance

•  saying: ‘As the diverse people of England, we are comfortable with difference, and each other. St George’s Day is a time for highlighting harmony and peaceful national pride.’

 

Signatories:

Al-Khoei Foundation

Awareness Foundation

Baptist Union of Great Britain

Christian Muslim Forum

City Sikhs Network

Faith Matters

Global Village (Lancashire)

HOPE not hate

Islamic Society of Britain

Joseph Interfaith Foundation

London Baptist Association

London Boroughs Faith Network

London Inter Faith Centre

Majlis-e-Ulama Europe

Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board

Muslim Council of Britain

Preston Faith Forum

Radical Middle Way

Religions for Peace UK

St Philip’s Centre

Three Faiths Forum

Woman’s Voice

 

Individual Signatories:

Liz Carnelley, Programme Director, Near Neighbours

Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL