A letter from Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre Director Sabir Zazai on post-EU referendum racism and reporting any hate crimes:

A letter from Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre Director Sabir Zazai on post-EU referendum racism and reporting any hate crimes:

I want all the diverse communities of Coventry to be safe.

At Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre we respect the outcome of the Referendum. We also understand that people voted in this referendum for more reasons than just immigration.

However, Immigration was a defining issue in the Referendum debate and will be widely recognised as the main reason the UK voted to leave the EU.

Considering the increase in hate crime post referendum, we are mindful that some of our beneficiaries can be an easy target.

I would urge everyone who experiences any racism or hate crime, however small, to report it to the police as soon as possible. Or if they do not feel comfortable in reporting an incident, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre is one of the Hate Crime Reporting Centres and there are many of us who can help.

I believe it’s now more important than ever before to double our efforts to stand up for refugees and let communities reconcile their differences.

I would like to remind the people of Coventry of our values of tolerance, acceptance and co-existence as a city of peace and reconciliation. This city is home to many people from around the world and we are proud of our history and diversity.

Coventry is a multi-cultural city and has always stood up to racism. We have heard about racist attacks in other parts of the country but we hope no such acts will be tolerated in Coventry. We have long standing community relations. We need to unify to preserve these relations and understandings amongst our communities.

Whatever the result Coventry will still have its reputation as a city that has opened its doors to those fleeing conflict from around the world.

And whatever the outcome of the referendum, you cannot take it out on a Syrian this city has welcomed or a Polish citizen who has set up their life here or anyone else who has found peace and sanctuary in this city.

I appreciate that it will take some time for divided communities to come together but I would hope that we could all work together to strongly condemn and combat racism and xenophobia in the city.

What is defined as a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is any incident carried out against a person because of their sex, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. It can include:

  • verbal abuse and harassment
  • threats and intimidation
  • physical assault and violence, including sexual violence
  • property damage
  • graffiti
  • offensive mail or emails

If you have suffered – or witnessed – hate crime you can call the police on 101

  • if you are reporting an emergency call 999 and ask for the police.
  • contact any of the 11 Reporting Centres or Information Points across Coventry including Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and all libraries
  • report online at http://www.coventry.gov.uk/hatecrime

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