FOOTBALL BEYOND BORDERS STATEMENT 03/06/2013: UNITE AGAINST RACISM
"Football Beyond Borders was set up in 2009 as a response to the aggressive British foreign policy in the Middle East. We objected to the scapegoating of whole communities and the rise of Islamophobia in the UK. As a young group of men we decided to take a stand to try and combat this bloodshed and mutual hostility by engaging with other people who may come from different backgrounds but who shared our love of football and the desire for peace and unity. This has resulted over the past five years in a series of international projects spanning four continents which have tackled discrimination and a sense of powerlessness by championing diversity and giving recognition to others. These aims remain steadfast and are central to the Football Beyond Borders’ ethic and to all the work we do.
Recent events in the UK have seen racial tensions increase, much to our dismay. In response to the shocking shocking incident in Woolwich and the subsequent media hysteria we have decided to take action within both our own local and global communities, rather than passively standing by and watching whilst tensions increase in our society. We will thus be participating in a series of events aimed at uniting people of different communities, faiths and cultures. Firstly, we will be hosting a football tournament called 'Love Football: Hate Racism" on Sunday the 9th of June which will bring Muslims and non-Muslims together in London for a day of football and fun. This will be followed by our participation in a multi-faith football tournament organised by the Faith Regen Foundation on the 22nd of June, where we hope to show solidarity with a broad range of faiths and communities. We have also agreed this week to embark upon a partnership with the United Religions Initiative, who promote grassroots bridge-building between different communities. In doing so we hope to improve our reach and also to learn valuable strategies for achieving our goals. Lastly, this summer we will be taking a mixed-gender football team to the Balkans to try and combat ethnic segregation, gender discrimination and racism. We hope that all these actions will play a part in strengthening inclusion and in diffusing tensions between different communities.
Let us take a stand AGAINST racism, discrimination and extremism. Instead, let us stand together and SUPPORT diversity, respect and inclusion. Football Beyond Borders aims to act as a vehicle for young people to develop their understanding of the world and their ability to initiate positive social change - as it has already done for those of us who have participated in its projects over the last 5 years. Our experiences have led us to believe that we all have a duty to play our part in carving out a society that we are proud to call home - and we hope that others will join us in our work."
To find out more about our projects and how you can get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on twitter @Fbeyondborders
Yesterday a vigil was held in Muswell Hill, North London, to show solidarity towards the local Somali community whose Islamic community centre was recently burnt down in a suspected EDL arson attack. One of our members lives less than 5 minutes down the road from the centre and went down to the vigil to represent FBB & show support.
It was incredibly moving to see how many people of diverse races and religions attended, from the local community and from around London, and spoke out strongly against fascism and racism. You could see how much this all meant to members of the local Somali community, who were visibly moved by the occasion. Let us hope this tragic event helps strengthen the community bonds in the area - this was certainly a very good start!
Many of the calls echoed the words of our recent statement above.
The FBB ethos is all about bringing communities together, so it was great to see that philosophy in action at the Vigil, and to play some football with kids from the local community in the park afterwards, in true FBB fashion! :)
For reports on the vigil, see: