Community says “No to Race and Hate Crime”

Guests view presentationsLeading experts from around the UK converged at the Nishkam Centre, at the end of October, to share their understanding of and efforts towards dealing with Race and Hate crimes. Addressing the Coalition Government’s “Challenge it, Report it, Stop it” action plan, the conference shed light on many underlying factors that needed to be considered.

The day recognised the need for academia, public, private and voluntary sectors to stand together and address these issues from the local level upwards in order to create a changed nation. The entire conference showed that interracial harmony could only come about when individuals are content in their own identity and compassionate towards those that appear different from them.

The agenda was decidedly a personal one, with speakers highlighting the need to reconsider the way identity and culture is taught perhaps by creating a transient identity ideal for the global village; recognising the individual motivations that produce hate crime, much of which is due to fear; empowering “victims” by referring to them as a “client”, and dealing with hate crimes by using the tried and tested domestic violence model.

Event Speakers included:

  • Prof Ted Cantle from Institute of Community Cohesion.
  • J Boora from All Nations Consultancy.
  • Dr Collin Webster of LeedsUniversity and Author of ‘Understanding Race & Crime’.
  • Dr Paul Iganski of University of Lancaster and Co-ordinator of Hate Crime Research.
  • Dr Mashuq Ally, Assistant Director of Equalities and Human Resources at Birmingham City Council.
  • Police Superintendent Paul Giannasi, UK Ministry of Justice.
  • Emile Peltier, Senior Practitioner Calerdale Youth Offending Team.

Director of the Nishkam Centre and opening speaker, Amrick Singh Ubhi said, “The theme of today is “moving towards harmony” – this implies we – individually and collectively – must task ourselves and give ourselves permission to do something different. As individuals we are the weakest and strongest links in the human chain we must strengthen that chain by empowering ourselves and others with the right values and so the chain becomes stronger”.Engaging talks

He went on, “ Nishkam means selfless service – going beyond yourself without any reward or expectation – today we need to apply that – we need to go away from the conference to be the change we want to see in others. My dharam (faith / duty) through our tenth Sikh Guru – Guru Gobind Singh, states: ‘Recognise the human race as one’ – the whole of humanity is one mega-race and one big family. Community says “No to Race and Hate Crime”

The importance of community cohesion cannot be underestimated. Cohesion creates stability, and allows a gain in confidence to all. We need to ensure adequate protection and safeguards of fundamental rights and provide equal opportunities, within both secular and spiritual fields – also imparting education / knowledge and important values within diversity”.

Amrick concluded with “Every human act has its origin in the mind. The human mind is a powerful tool with the capacity to be either one’s best friend or one’s worst enemy – I invite all delegates and those reading later, to be the change, participate and make a difference”.

Bhai Amrick SInghMr Cantle, who was on his way to launching his latest book ‘Interculturalism: the new era of Cohesion and Diversity’ spoke eloquently about the changing landscape and how multiculturalism and super-diversity policy were no longer relevant. He went on to clarify why multiculturalism policy had failed and that the era of interculturalism which was appropriate for a world defined by globalisation an superdiversity.

Mr Mashuq Ally commended Handsworth, the area in which the conference was held, for the community’s ability to unite against hate crimes in order to transform it into a safer neighbourhood. He went on to explain how Birmingham City Council was dealing with diversity and cohesion matters.

Moving forward, the conference provided examples of best practice that others could learn from and apply themselves. The consensus was a profound difference for years to come could be made by uniting, sharing our knowledge and teaching respect for all.

Whilst there is always more work that can be done, the conference gave hope by reminding everyone that great steps had already been taken towards harmony.



Released by: Nishkam Centre

Telephone: 0121 515 4229


For further information:

Nishkam Civic Association,

The Nishkam Centre,

6 Soho Road, Handsworth,

Birmingham, B21 9BH.

Tel: 0121 525 4229


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