I have seen many anti-hate individuals and organisations trip themselves up by trying to fight for the rights of one group or community at the expense of denigrating another. Few things frustrate me more than the view that fighting hate has to be about taking sides or the implication that defending one group automatically assumes the attacking of another.
Our anti-hate community have managed to integrate together our very different beliefs in an environment that allows us all to be true to ourselves without infringing on the rights of one another. We have created a space where we can ask and answer honest questions about our different faiths and where we can debate topical news items without fear of seeming ignorant or prejudiced. This has enabled our members to learn from one another about other cultures which in turn has helped eliminate prejudice and ignorance from our organisation.
What deeply frustrates me is the fact that the wider world is struggling so much to overcome their differences to integrate in the way that our members have demonstrated is so achievable with the right attitude. Our Christians and Atheists are capable of discussion without argument. Our Muslims and Jews can discuss the problems in the Middle East without personal conflict. Our homosexual and heterosexual members respect one another’s sexual orientation without judgement. The unifying factor among all our members is the categorical opposition of all forms of hate and discrimination. Every single member of Resisting Hate believes that the only way they can expect respect and tolerance toward others is to offer it first.
Only last week I saw a self-professed ‘activist’ tackle his objective of fighting Islamophobia by making offensive and inaccurate comments about Jewish communities. I have seen the same mistake made by supporters of Jewish rights against Muslim communities. These tactics are counterproductive. They encourage people to believe that they must take one ‘side’ or another and to see those with differing beliefs as the opposition. For these limited people the world has not progressed very far from the concept of “If you are not with me, you must be against me.” A world in which everybody who thinks differently is the enemy.
There are some excellent organisations who do not approach anti-hate with the aim of division but there are still too many people using the guise of support to oppose, discriminate and condemn those of whom they disapprove.
At Resisting Hate we believe that the only way to achieve peace and unity in the world is to find a way for all races, faiths, cultures and belief systems to integrate and work together. This is not me mouthing platitudes, I have put my money where my mouth is and co-founded an organisation that has achieved exactly this. We have proven that it is possible for people with widely opposing world views to come together and unite under the principle of accepting our differences and co existing in harmony.
If we can do it, so can everybody else.
Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of many of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK