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Imam Qari Asim comments on the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in France

Qari Asim

The despicable act of murdering an 86 year old Catholic Priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, in Normandy, France, is absolutely abhorrent.

This attack in a place of worship and on innocent worshippers in particular demonstrates that there are no boundaries to the depravity of these murderers. In this extremely difficult time for the Catholic community, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of all faiths and none in defiance of those who look to spread a poisonous and perverted ideology by bloodshed.

Daesh / ISIS has proved, as it did in Medina less than a month ago, its complete distain of all faiths including the one it falsely claims it represents.

An attack on any place of worship, is an attack on the way of life of faith communities, and therefore an attack on all of us, regardless of who you are, where you come from and your faith.

Even during the time of a war, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave the following instructions: “Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship.”

One of the Normandy murderers was a convicted criminal with an electronic tag on his ankle after trying to join Daesh in Syria many times. Further investigation needs to take place regarding how he was able to commit such violence.

Faith communities must not let this tragic incident create division between communities, give rise to hatred, fear and suspicion and destabilise the mutual relationship and understating that we have between us. Only together can we defeat this indiscriminate killing of innocent people across the world, and bring about peace and harmony.

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Leeds Post Referendum – Let’s Chalk About It



This Saturday Leeds Post Referendum will be holding a public Brexit street discussion on Briggate.

The group will be engaging passers by and shoppers; generating discussion with games and music.

The event will welcome people of all ages regardless of their vote to join in and help Brexiteers and Remainers understand each other and repair divides.

Let’s Chalk About The EU Referendum aims to provide an accessible space for non-confrontational public discussion exploring impacts of immigration vs austerity in the UK, unpicking reasons for voting and more.

Full details can be found here:








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GCSE Pupils Tackle the EU Referendum Debate at Leeds Beckett Politics Day

GCSE Brexit

With help from a team of local councillors, around 85 Year 10 pupils from schools in the region (Mount St Mary’s, Allerton High, Roundhay, Cardinal Heenan, Lawnswood, Farnley and St Thomas à Becket), attended the ‘Politics Matters’ day at the University’s Headingley Campus.

On arrival, the pupils took part in their own European Union (EU) referendum, with 69 out of 77 of the pupils voting to remain in the EU.

Throughout the day, the pupils gained detailed insight from the Politics and Applied Global Ethics (PAGE) teaching team at Leeds Beckett into the Brexit debate, with PAGE students presenting a debate on the motion: ‘This house believes that the UK government is not doing enough to help in dealing with the European migration crisis’. The pupils voted in favour of the motion.

They were then given tips on how to prepare a campaign strategy before forming groups and putting together their own strategies for leaving or remaining within the EU. Helping them were local politicians Jonathan Bentley, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Weetwood, Sharon Hamilton, Labour Councillor for Moortown, Alex Sobel, Labour Councillor for Moortown, and Dawn Collins, Conservative Councillor for Horsforth.

At the end of the day, a panel of judges, including the PAGE staff and Councillor Jonathan Bentley, declared Mount St Mary’s the winning team for their remain campaign, based on the quality of their strategies and presentation.

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Leeds Black, Asian & Ethnic Minority Activists Discuss the EU Referendum


On Thursday 2nd June, Black/Asian/Ethnic minority (BAME) activists and community leaders will gather in Leeds to debate the upcoming EU referendum question.

Anoosh Chakelian, the New Statesman’s Deputy Web Editor has described the referendum debate so far as “pale, male and stale”. The UK Race and Europe Network (UKREN), in partnership with Just West Yorkshire seeks to broaden the discussion around the referendum. The event will particularly welcome and centre the voices of people from BAME, migrant and refugee communities.



So far, much of the discussion around the referendum has been focused on business, security, and Britain’s position on the ‘world stage’. The debate on 2nd June will give focus to the rights of the individual including worker’s rights, free movement rights, and welfare provision.


The panel will be comprised of: Michael Privot (Director, European Network Against Racism); Saleem Kader (global business executive, Bombay Stores), and Dr Iyiola Solanke (Leeds academic in EU and racial integration). Politicians representing the Leave and Remain case to be confirmed.

A video published by UKREN on YouTube features young and BAME people sharing their thoughts on Britain’s EU membership. ‘Borders’, ‘migration, and ‘free movement’ were cited as concepts that mattered to people, as well as ‘progress’, ‘wealth’ and ‘the single market’.

Should We Stay or Should We Go? Is at The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, 6 – 9pm on Thursday 2nd June. The panel discussion will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. Entry is free, but places must be reserved via:



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Speakers Confirmed for EU Debate at Trinity University


Speakers for and against Britain remaining in the EU have been confirmed for a debate at Leeds Trinity University on Friday 3 June, ahead of the EU referendum next month.

Ilkley-based former Labour MP for Selby John Grogan from Britain Stronger in Europe will be speaking in favour of remaining within the EU, after consistently voting for more EU integration while serving as an MP.

With a strong voting record on issues such as for equal gay rights, against university tuition fees and the Iraq war, he gained national press coverage for his campaigns while in office.

“The British referendum about Europe is exciting interest across the world,” said John. “I am looking forward to putting a positive case for the European Union at Leeds Trinity University as I believe that Britain is stronger in Europe when it comes to our economy, our security, our environment and our ability to exert real influence.”

He will be up against Yorkshire Chairman of Business for Britain, Carl Chambers, who will speak on behalf of the Vote Leave Campaign.

“Voting to leave the EU will allow the UK to take back control of its own destiny and restore its position as a self-governing democracy” said Carl. “The EU has failed to serve the UK’s economic interests in the way it should; the future growth in economic activity comes from outside the EU and our membership holds us back from fully participating in that growth.”

Qualified as both a barrister and a chartered accountant, Chambers is a strong believer in giving a voice to Yorkshire businesses in the referendum debates, and had already taken part in an open forum for small business owners in Yorkshire on the topic.

The debate at Leeds Trinity is open to anyone interested in the EU referendum – students, staff, alumni, prospective students, MP’s, business partners, members of the local community etc. and forms part of the University’s commitment to ensuring everyone can make an informed decision before casting their vote.

The debate will be supported by student speakers who will share why they are supporting each respective campaign. There will also be a paper ballot before and after the debate.

It will be held in the auditorium at Leeds Trinity from 10.00am – 12.00pm and has been organised in partnership with Leeds Trinity Student’s Union (LTSU).

To attend the event, please register your interest with Leeds Trinity. Tickets are free, and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis due to limited availability.

Updates from the event can be followed using #EUdebateLeeds.

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West Yorkshire Police and Leeds Beckett Tackle Online Crime

Security concept: Lock on digital screen


Digital crime experts at Leeds Beckett University are working with West Yorkshire Police to develop new ways of fighting cyber-crime.

Reporting directly to the Home Office, and supported by the College of Policing and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the project could ultimately help to transform the way digital crime is policed across the country.

The £640,000 project funded by the Police Knowledge Fund, is just one of those being undertaken by the Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre (CSI Centre) at Leeds Beckett University which launched this April.

‘Cyber-enabled’ crimes are traditional crimes that can be increased in scale, or reach by the use of computers, networks or other forms of communications technology.

While overall crime rates fall, as we increasingly live our lives online cyber-enabled crime continues to increase, which is why tackling it is a key priority for the Home Office.

Ranging from online harassment to identity theft and fraud, across the country, recent research from the Home Office* suggests that up to around 5.1 million people – over 8% of UK population – are the victims of cyber-enabled crime every year. It is likely that the true figure is much higher.

As part of an exciting 18-month project, academics from Leeds Beckett University are working closely with West Yorkshire Police (WYP) to help train and develop a modern police force capable of taking the fight online.

The innovative partnership will offer researchers unparalleled access to the inner-workings of WYP as part of its commitment to developing a police force that is as at home online as on the beat.

The objective is to identify the knowledge gaps in digital investigations. The results will be shared with the Home Office, which, with the support of the College of Policing, is committed to helping police forces across the country to modernise.



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Brussels Bomb Blasts Require Co-ordinated Response to Growing Terrorism


Scores of people have been killed and wounded after explosions blasted at Brussels airport and a metro station in the city centre.

British Muslims, along with all other communities, are shocked and dismayed by yet another attack in Europe, after last year’s Paris attacks.

“We stand united with the people of Brussels in this tragic hour: our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims of these horrific attacks,”  said Chief Imam of Leeds Makakh Mosque, Imam Qari Asim.

“Terrorism is a global phenomenon and a challenge of our time. The recent attacks on Turkey last week and now in Brussels call for a robust and co-ordinated approach to tackle the growing violence caused by terrorism. The terrible blasts and killings are not only an attack on the people of Brussels, but an attack on all of us.

“Through their evil actions, the terrorists have shown that they have no regard for any religion or humanity. They are committing terror and killing people indiscriminately, across the globe, irrespective of faith, nationality and background of the victims. The terrorists have maligned Islam – religion of peace- for their own political and territorial goals.

“Those who have carried out these horrific attacks want to create a climate of fear and anger in Europe. Their heinous crimes must not be allowed to destabilise the good relationships that exist between faith groups and communities within Europe. In the days ahead, some people will peddle anti-Muslim hate; we have already seen hastag #StopIslam trending. We must stand firm, with compassion and solidarity, against hatred and violence. We must not play into the divisive and poisonous narrative of extremists.”

“The barbaric and despicable acts of sympathisers of the pseudo ‘Islamic State’ are absolutely contrary to the teachings of Islam,” said Haji Muhammad, a spokesperson for Leeds Muslim Council. “These callous and cowardly attacks on fellow humans are attacks on our shared universal values.”

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New Book Looks at the Exclusion of British Asians from Football


A new book, ‘British Asians, Exclusion and the Football Industry’, explores the exclusion of British Asians from football and makes recommendations for achieving equality in the industry.

Published by Dr Dan Kilvington, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University, the book presents his extensive research collected through interviews with players, coaches, scouts, managers, fans, and anti-racist organisations and highlights both historical and current reasons for the exclusion of British Asians from football.


“I conducted almost 100 interviews with individuals and groups from all spheres of the game over an eight year period”, said Dr Kilvington. “The book explores overt and covert racism, highlights both male and female experiences and discusses the similarities and differences between Asian heritage communities, such as Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, from across England. It provides a critical overview of equality and inclusion initiatives and aims to increase the numbers of British Asians in the game, in all areas. I also make recommendations for reform pitched at football’s key stakeholders to help achieve greater equality and inclusion.”

The book draws on case studies, one of which centres around Bradford. “Despite Bradfordian Asians’ passion, enthusiasm and love for football, no one from the South Asian community has managed to maintain a career in the professional game”, said Dr Kilvington. “I carried out in-depth research in Bradford, consulting ex-professionals, former academy players, coaches, scouts, managers and PE teachers.

“I found that there was a lack of grass roots opportunities in areas populated by Asian heritage communities. The local and national scouting networks tend to overlook such communities and environment, for many reasons.

“My research indicates that more clubs are needed and, therefore, more coaches. With a view to changing this, Leeds Beckett University is funding a Coach Education Masterclass event at Bradford City on Wednesday 13th April which aims to create new coaches and develop the skills of existing grassroots and professional personnel, helping to create football opportunities for the next generation.”

For more information about the Masterclass event, please email

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Greg Mulholland Demands Tougher Criminal Driving Laws


Greg Mulholland MP recently presented his Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill in the House of Commons, and received backing from MPs across the House.

The Bill seeks to strengthen penalties related to serious criminal driving offences that lead to serious injury or death, redefine such offences and amend bail conditions for those charged with them, and also to enhance the standards of investigation, both by the police and in the Courts, into such offences. It also demands improving the treatment of victims of criminal driving offences and their families within the justice system.

The Bill was co-sponsored by 30 other MPs from across the House, showing the strong cross-party support for the changes called for in the Bill. Some MPs who have been involved in the campaign and said they also back the Bill were unable to add their name to it due to being ministers, shadow ministers or whips.

Greg Mulholland has been a long time campaigner for better justice for victims of road crime, having started his work on this issue after his constituents, Otley resident Jamie Still and David and Dorothy Metcalf from Cookridge, were killed by drunk drivers in December 2010 and January 2012 respectively.

“I have seen the devastation these serious crimes cause,” said Greg. “There are families up and down the country who have been through the same life shattering experience of losing loved ones. Yet as if the devastation and loss were not enough, too many of these families have been failed by the justice system, too many victims have been denied justice. These are the families I spoke for today, to avoid more victims and families facing this in the future.

“That 30 MPs co-sponsored the Bill shows the strength of feeling in the House of Commons to see some much-needed changes. We will all be holding government to account in the months ahead, especially with a consultation document on potential changes now expected later this year. I am writing to justice ministers to ask them to look at what the Criminal Driving Bill calls for and how soon we can bring forward these changes. The campaign to tackle criminal driving will continue until the law has been greatly strengthened.”

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Yorkshire Cricket Sets Up Taskforce to Help Flood Victims


The Yorkshire County Cricket Club in conjunction with the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation have launched the Yorkshire Cricket Floods Taskforce that will work with the region’s cricket clubs’ badly affected by the recent floods.

The Taskforce, which includes representatives from the ECB will be spearheaded by Yorkshire Captain Andrew Gale, Chief Executive Mark Arthur and former Yorkshire player Neil Hartley. The working party will support the work of the ECB on a case-by-case basis to ensure clubs’ are fully supported when making an insurance claim, raising necessary funds and to help volunteers overcome the pressures of getting their facilities ready for the new season.

To donate, please visit or send a cheque made payable to Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and send to the Yorkshire Cricket Floods Appeal, Yorkshire Cricket Board, Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds, LS6 3DP. (Please indicate that the donation is for the Yorkshire Cricket Floods Appeal).

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