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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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Join in Solidarity With Junior Doctors Against Unfair Contracts

Show your support at a rally in Leeds City Centre this Wednesday.





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Refugee Crisis : British Government must show Political Courage

Qari Asim
Qari Asim MBE, Imam, Makkah Mosque Leeds, Senior Editor ImamsOnline,

It was harrowing and heart-wrenching to see a young boy, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Mediterranean beach. Anyone with even a shred of humanity would be moved by that image. We have also heard desperate stories of people suffocated in lorries trying to reach Europe. In 2015, around 2,500 migrants are reported to have died trying to reach Europe, according to the IOM.
The conflict in Syria is by far the biggest driver of the mass migration, followed by Afghans and Eritreans. I acknowledge the significant role the UK is playing in providing funding and aid for refugees now living in the countries immediately neighbouring Syria. But now it is time to step up to the plate and open our doors to Syrian refugees. The UN has urged the EU to accommodate up to 200,000 refugees as part of a mass relocation programme. Germany has taken more Syrian refugees in a month than Britain has in a year. As the world’s sixth-richest economy, and a country that has historical involvement in the Middle East, Britain has a moral and humanitarian responsibility towards the Syrian refugees. In the midst of ‘migrant madness’, we must be mindful of the distinction between economic migrants and refugees fleeing war-torn homelands. We have a moral and ethical duty to help those fleeing from war-torn countries.
There has been a public outcry of compassion after the publication of Aylan Kurdi’s image. The British people in huge numbers, through petitions and offers of help, have shown they are prepared to welcome those who are fleeing fear and violence. I am profoundly moved by so many British people opening up the doors of their homes to welcome refugees. From single mums to local businesses, lawyers to lorry drivers, faith institutions to city councils – those from all sections of British society have opened up their hearts and emptied their pockets to help the refugees.
The refugee crisis now requires British and European governments to demonstrate political courage and human compassion to deal with the present global movement of people that is bigger than at any time since World War II. It is a defining moment in British history and our swift, decisive, amicable and compassionate response to the refugees will showcase our true ‘British values’ and our long tradition of welcoming people fleeing violence.
We are proud of Britain’s long heritage of welcoming refugees. In the past, Britain has welcomed thousands fleeing their countries – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people and many more. We have a moral responsibility to honour this tradition and play our part in taking a proportionate number of refugees displaced by the ongoing Syrian conflict.

We must not forget that these refugees have been pushed towards the EU; they are forced out of their countries by violence, persecution and war. They are not trying to pursue a better economic life for themselves, something which is perfectly acceptable but which should be liable to strict immigration checks and balances. But they are trying to save their lives; they are trying to find shelter for their children and food for their stomachs.

The international community needs a new moral compass in the context of the growing number of deaths in the Mediterranean. The refugees are no longer one country’s or one continent’s problem; they are everyone’s problem. They are ‘our’ problem. We must tackle this issue above party and state-politics and beyond religious and racial divides. All religious traditions are clear: embrace the strangers: welcome the battered refugee people. My mosque, Makkah Mosque in Leeds, is working with local churches and charities to deliver the much needed aid to the refugees and migrants at Calais.

Accepting refugees is only part of the solution, the international community must come together to end violence against civilians in Syria. With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, it seems inevitable that the situation of refugees will worsen significantly. Procrastination or inaction is simply not an option. The regional and international players must find a solution to the crisis because the truth is that the Syrian conflict has not been contained.
The conflict has spread throughout the region and is a recruitment tool for radicalization. Its consequences are felt throughout the globe. It is imperative that in our condemnation of the terrorism that has plighted our world we are just as vocal and active in speaking out against state aggression like this that leaves hundreds of thousands dead and millions more displaced.
We owe it to hundreds of drowned children to stop more young children dying on our shores. We must act and act quickly, with political courage and human compassion.

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Public Seminar To Debate ‘War On Terror’

Prof Paul Rogers

Extreme Islamic groups and the ongoing ‘war on terror’ are the subjects of debate at a free public lecture at Leeds Beckett University on Wednesday 4th March.

Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and a leading expert on global security, will present his talk, ‘Islamic State – origins, evolution and future potential’ at the University’s Rose Bowl from 3-4.30pm. Places can be booked at

It is fourteen years since the ‘war on terror’ began, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, with a new front opening in Libya, intensive air raids in Syria and Iraq, continuing violence in Afghanistan, a worsening security situation in Nigeria and high levels of alert in Western Europe.

Professor Rogers will argue that something has gone badly wrong with the western way of war. Focusing particularly on Islamic State, he will try to put this in the context of the evolution of extreme Islamist groups and the seeming failure of Western security to understand what is happening.

“The subject of Professor Rogers’s talk is of great importance as it appears that Western governments do not have a clear understanding of the origins, evolution and future potential of Islamic State”, said Dr Paul Wetherly, Reader in Politics at Leeds Beckett. “Such understanding is essential in order to tackle the threat that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) presents in Iraq, Syria and the wider region, and to counter the appeal of its extremist message to small numbers of European citizens.”

Professor Paul Rogers began his career in the biological and environmental sciences, including lecturing at Imperial College, London, and has worked for the past 35 years in international security. He is a consultant to the Oxford Research Group, an independent UK think tank, writes on international security issues for and is a frequent broadcaster. The most recent of his 26 books is the third edition of Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century.

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