Church leaders in the city of Birmingham in the U.K. have pledged to share a cup of tea with someone from a different ethnic, cultural, or religious persuasion in a pushback against anti-Islam group Pegida.
According to Christian Today, the Bishop of Birmingham and other church leaders began the “Hope not Hate” pledge to counter the protest that Pegida plans to hold against the “mass immigration and Islamisation of the West.”
Pegida, however, which is led by Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League, describes their march of protest as a “peaceful, silent walk.”
The church leaders who signed the “Hope not Hate” pledge counters that Birmingham has “a long and proud tradition” of diversity as a city that welcomes people of all faiths and cultures.
"As proud people of Birmingham, we wish to declare that Pegida are not welcome and have nothing to offer our city --- apart from a huge bill for policing and the clear up operation after they have gone," the pledge states, urging supporters "to arrange to sit down and drink a cup of tea with someone from another community that we do not know well and explore what we have in common" and "take pictures together with people from different ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds and post them with the slogan: 'We choose HOPE'."
Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart, the Bishop of Aston, Catholic Church leaders, the chair of the Birmingham Methodist District, representatives of Birmingham mosques and synagogues, and Members of Parliament from all parties are supporting the pledge.
Publication date: January 19, 2016