This is the text of a press release by Churches Together in Huntingdon and Godmanchester regarding hostility shown to local non-UK residents who have suffered racial abuse and attacks:
“Following the result of the EU referendum, there have been several very disturbing reports, both locally and nationally, of hostility expressed towards UK residents from other countries, and even British citizens of non-white ethnic backgrounds.
I write on behalf of the member churches of Churches Together in Huntingdon and Godmanchester, representing almost all of the Christian churches and fellowships in these two towns, to express our revulsion at these entirely unjustifiable attacks, verbal or otherwise, on people who share our common space. We wish, as Christians, as local churches, and as citizens, to continue to say ‘welcome’, in whatever way we can, to all who are in this country legally, and to provide all possible support for any who feel threatened or insecure, or who are on the receiving end of such ugly prejudice.
This declaration has no bearing on the debate over what level of immigration is acceptable in the future, which is an entirely legitimate matter for discussion. Nor does it come from one side or the other of the referendum divide. Our churches contain, in varying proportions, both people who voted to remain in the EU and those who voted to leave, reflecting the wider national picture. I know, from conversations I have had, that those on the ‘leave’ side of the argument are as appalled as anyone else by the abusive attacks of recent days. Our gesture of support is for people who are here now, and who have done nothing whatsoever to deserve this aggression.
We believe that our faith commands us to speak up, as a minimum, for anyone who is treated unjustly, and to be welcoming, hospitable and generous-hearted to all, wherever they may come from. We do not pretend we always achieve these high ideals, given to us by Jesus Christ, nor of course do we think that Christians alone hold them, but we wish to join with all people of good will to stand up actively against division and hatred, to demonstrate love and friendship, to embrace those from other countries who are part of our community, and to say to them that they are welcome and that we appreciate the contribution which they bring to our society.
David Busk – Chair”