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#FaithinPartnership

Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

The Free and the Brave

Donald Trump has hit the headlines again this week. This time, it’s not about Mexicans… it’s about the Muslim community in America.

Let me get something straight before I begin: I love the USA. I have some dear friends there, got engaged in the States, and my favourite programme of all time is The West Wing. I applaud the country it sets itself out to be, and I have nothing against it… but let me say this: Donald Trump is not about creating a land of the free or the brave.

The national anthem for the USA is something they are proud of. It’s sung before every sporting event with gusto, cheers and engagement from the audience. As the official anthem for the USA since 1931, originally coming from a poem written by Frances Scott Key, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ consists of 4 verses, the first being the most popular:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The final line of the first verse, “over the land of the free and the home of the brave”… well, Donald Trump – you’re not creating a land of the free and you’re certainly not brave.

This week, Donald Trump said that US should close its borders to any Muslims “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”. Surely that’s not creating a free country. That’s not being brave and leading the way against those that want to do harm. That’s segregating the country and alienating a group of people because of their religion – a religion that does not call for terrorism.

I live in East London, and through my life and through my work I’ve met with a number of Muslims, both individuals and groups. None of them have communicated to me that they want to bomb, hurt or kill Westerners – or me! In fact, they are lovely, welcoming and engaging. This week, I was really proud to be from East London when the Leytonstone attack was greeted with #youaintnomuslimbruv. This hashtag captured exactly how many of us in the UK feel towards these type of attacks.

So here’s the question I leave you with: I have a son, soon to be 3 years old – would I rather raise him in the country that Donald Trump wants to create, or in one where people are able to see, and say, things exactly as they are – hashtag or not… I think you will agree with me, it’s the latter.