"However brutal the challenge of racism, we never loseheart."

The Rev. David Deeks, General Secretary of The Methodist Church,will call for "hope, not hate" at this weekend's Unite AgainstFascism event in North London. Mr. Deeks will join a range ofspeakers including Simon Hughes MP and Nicky Gavron at the event,which will also feature music, poetry and children's activities. Ittakes place at Ponders End Recreation Ground on Sunday 23 May from1-6pm. Other speakers include Claude Moraes MEP and FrancisO'Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC.

Mr. Deeks will say that, despite differences in beliefs and waysof worship, all the great world faiths "want to work together forthe common good. We stand shoulder to shoulder againstdiscrimination of every kind. For us all, God is the creator ofevery single human being."

Mr. Deeks will call for hope for the future, rather than hatredof others. "We know what we are against: we challenge the evil ofracism. We know what we are for: we believe in human societies thatare enriched when people live together in peace, and where all arewelcomed - especially the stranger.

"We know what we hope. However brutal the challenge of racism,however vicious may be any campaign of hatred and division, wenever lose heart. Our dream is God's dream. So it can become real.We have nothing to fear from one another. Our message therefore isthis: Hope, not Hate."

The Methodist Church, along with other churches and faithgroups, has been active in countering political extremism andracism. Individuals, ministers and groups have worked, both aloneor with other churches, to raise awareness of the importance ofvoting and the dangers of extremism.  

· The Methodist Church in Bradford is one of a group oflocal churches issuing Rainbow Ribbons to all their congregations.These will be worn as a statement of inclusivity and againstdivisive politics.
· The Revd Paul Flowers, Superintendent of the Bradford (GreatHorton) circuit, recently told the West Yorkshire Synod to votetactically in order to prevent any BNP gains. He said that the bestdefence against extremism is voting: "not voting only aids the BNP,but a higher turnout will hurt them."
· The North Lancashire District Synod has asked all of itschurches to prepare materials on the elections and encourage peopleto vote. The district churches will produce and distribute materialbefore postal ballots arrive in voters' homes in the week beginning23 May.
· The Revd Geoff Reid runs the Methodist Touchstone centre inBradford and has been busy alerting the area to the dangers posedby the BNP. He says, "the simple message we need to get across isthat this is not just another political party with the mainstreamparties ganging up against it. It is a political party that in itsconstitution and core beliefs is contrary to Christian gospel andhostile to the basic tenets of democracy itself."
· In Clitheroe, Lancashire, the Methodist Circuit of churcheswas part of an ecumenical and inter-faith campaign at the lastlocal election aimed at countering apathy and extremism. Thecampaign helped boost turnout to over 50% and ensure that noextremist candidates won.
· In Sheffield, the Superintendent of the Brunswick Circuitorganised a letter signed by 10 church leaders from manydenominations warning against voting for racist parties.