The importance of footballers like Raheem Sterling standing up to racism – Imran Hussain

The example of footballers like Raheem Sterling, in condemning racism, need to be applauded, says Imran Hussain MP.
The example of footballers like Raheem Sterling, in condemning racism, need to be applauded, says Imran Hussain MP.
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IN this country, where ​we pride ourselves on our tolerance, we still see alarming levels of racial discrimination and hatred.

Even as we implore other countries to do more to tackle racial discrimination, we ourselves must never be complacent and must always do much more.

Nowhere is this alarming racial discrimination and the disturbing
lack of action to tackle it seen more clearly than in the rise of the far-right in this country.

We are seeing the resurgence of fascist ideologies and extremist groups that we fought off decades ago. They are now returning with the same hatred for other races, ideologies, backgrounds and religions.

Let us, as a House of Commons, come together to celebrate the fact that in the face of hatred and division of any kind, 
we stand in unity and make sure that those who seek to divide us never ever succeed. We reaffirm that principle here today.

As we have seen repeatedly over the decades, every new example of the rise of the far-right needs to be combated by each new generation.

Just last month, the Security
Service and the Met police identified far-right terrorism as a key threat 
to the safety of our country, with the police having stopped a number of far-right terror attacks over the past few years.

The Hope Not Hate report, State of Hate 2019, echoes that, finding not only a continued rising trend in traffic to far-right websites and in followers of far-right social media accounts, but that the far right is getting younger and more extreme.

I will not mince my words: we are witnessing a dangerous resurgence of Nazi ideology. When we talk about racial discrimination today, we cannot avoid that topic.

We also cannot avoid the fact that racial discrimination has been encouraged and the far-right emboldened, normalised and even legitimised by the media and others who must share the blame.

In very many instances, broadcasters and newspapers have given airtime
and column inches to those who
spread hate, giving them the means
to do so in the name of balanced
coverage.

Nothing is balanced about the far-right, extreme views of those who seek to divide us and share more with neo-Nazism than with a modern, tolerant society, so that practice must end. We must give no platform to those who spread hatred.

Furthermore, we must not just call out and shut down racism, hatred and extreme far-right fascist views where we see them, but press authorities to do much more.

Right now, they are doing nowhere near what is necessary to tackle the resurgence of fascism, with a dangerous over-reliance on tip-offs or mistakes by extremists.

That was demonstrated most
recently in the case of National
Action, which was brought down
and brought ​to justice through the
work not of agencies but of Hope Not Hate.

I pay tribute to that organisation, which has a long-standing track
record of fighting against racism. It continues to do that work. However, we should never be in the situation
of third sector organisations doing
more to combat extremism than
those we should trust to keep
us safe.

Finally, like others, I commend the example of high-profile individuals like Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling for speaking out and taking a stand against this vile abuse. But it is not
good enough for us simply to wring
our hands whenever this issue is raised and depend on the courage of a vocal
few.

They have made it clear that 
racism will not defeat any sportsmen,
on or off the pitch. I pay tribute to
them.

Imran Hussain is the Labour MP for Bradford East. He spoke in a House of Commons debate on 
racism – this is an edited version.