A ROSSENDALE minister has hit out at residents using the European Union referendum result as an excuse to hurl racist comments.
Rev Paul Martin, district chairman for the Methodist Church in Rossendale, said that since the UK voted last month to leave the EU, he has become deeply worried that minority communities in the borough are feeling unwanted and threatened.
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Rev Martin took the decision to write to the Home Office following a rise in reports of racist incidents. He has urged people to write to their MP to call for respect and tolerance in the wake of the campaign.
He said: “As district chairman for the Methodist Church in Rossendale, I urge people to write to their MP and call for respect and tolerance in our national life in the wake of the divisive EU referendum campaign.
“I am deeply worried at the increase in racist incidents and the growing concerns of many minority communities within Rossendale that they are feeling unwanted and threatened.
“For some, the referendum has been an excuse to justify acts of racism and hate. The outcome of the referendum has isolated many people and divided our communities.
“As a Methodist, I am called to support our neighbours and communities and to seek justice for all. I believe that these are views shared by many.
“Together, we must ensure those in power do all they can to ensure that the worrying growth in race hate is dealt with quickly.
“These are very complex and, for some, worrying times and I urge those of all faiths and those of none to join us and stem the worrying growth of hate in our society.”
Residents in Lancashire are being asked to report all hate crime to police after a national rise in reported offences.
Bacup councillor Jimmy Eaton said: “It is really sad what is happening and people are blowing the EU result out of proportion.
“No-one expected the result but it has happened and we have to get on with it.
“I would urge people to contact police if they experience any abuse. It should not be happening.”
Ch Insp Ian Mills, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “While we have not seen an increase in reported hate crimes and hate incidents in Lancashire, there is clearly some concern in the community that these crimes may be experienced but go unreported.”