Faith leaders’ call for unity

SHEFFIELD’S two bishops led the way this week in a declaration of unity by faith leaders against extreme parties in the May local elections.

Anglican Bishop the Rt Rev Steven Croft and Roman Catholic Bishop of Hallam the Rt Rev John Rawsthorne joined Abdool Gooljar, President of the Sheffield branch of the Islamic Society of Britain, the Rev Vernon Marsh, chair of the Sheffield Methodist District, and Dr Vithal Patel of the Sheffield Hindu community in signing a statement outside the town hall on Tuesday.

“As leaders of faith communities in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, we affirm the values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect, which have always helped people from different backgrounds to live together,” it said.

“We are deeply concerned at the activity of racist and fascist groups such as the British National Party, which use people’s fears to stir up race hate.

“We also reject their demonisation of Muslims, and their claim to speak for Christians, as an affront to all our religions and beliefs and a danger to the unity of the whole community.”