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Government against racism

Last updated: 2003-10-28

Fiona Mactaggart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office, told the officers of the Board of Deputies that the government would continue speaking out against racism and antisemitism.

Board of Deputies President Henry Grunwald told the Minister that the current climate was more threatening to Jews than at any time in the past fifty years. The Board appreciated the British government's criticism of the recent antisemitic remarks of the Malaysian Prime Minister at the Organisation of Islamic States Conference, but regretted that no Muslim or other religious leader appeared to have condemned them; on the contrary most Arab leaders had applauded them.  Within the UK there had been a great increase in antisemitic incidents over the past three years particularly in terms of hate mail and street attacks.

The Board told Fiona Mactaggart how much they welcomed recent government initiatives to consult and engage with faith communities on issues of importance across Whitehall. Fiona Mactaggart welcomed recent moves by the Board to build up relationships with the Muslim Council of Britain. The Board also raised issues relating to the future arrangements for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Following the meeting Henry Grunwald commented, "This was an extremely useful meeting. We welcome Fiona Mactaggart's assurances on antisemitism and hope that she will be able to find an early opportunity to speak out on the subject.  We for our part look forward to maintaining our close engagement with the Home Office on issues like Holocaust Memorial Day and patterns of consultation between government and the faith communities."