Religious leaders in the UK have joined together to oppose Brexit, writing a letter claiming peace in Europe would be jeopardised if Britain leaves the European Union (EU) and warning their co-religionists that a vote to leave is a vote against a “fairer, cleaner and safer world”.
In a letter to the Observer, dozens of signatories — including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (pictured) and Professor Mona Siddiqui, who is chairing an inquiry into Sharia courts — claim that the EU is vital for combating world poverty, preserving peace between European countries and tackling the migrant crisis.
The pro-Brexit Church of England priest and Co-Chairman of Christians for Britain, Reverend Dr. Giles Fraser, commented on the letter that “there is something insufferably smug when the establishment acts as one.”
The religious establishment now signed up for Bremain. Like the rest of the establishment. All very cosy. https://t.co/8tIFelPm99
— Giles Fraser (@giles_fraser) May 29, 2016
The letter’s signatories wrote: “Faith is about integration and building bridges, not about isolation and erecting barriers.
“The past 70 years have been the longest period of peace in Europe’s history. Institutions that enable us to work together and understand both our differences and what we share in common contribute to our increased security and sense of collective endeavour.
“What’s more, so many of the challenges we face today can only be addressed in a European, and indeed a global, context: combating poverty in the developing world, confronting climate change and providing the stability that is essential to tackling the current migration crisis.”
In the last week alone EU boats have ferried 13,000, mostly sub-Saharan African, economic migrants to Europe from near the coast of Libya. Far from providing the sort of stability the religious readers want, the EU’s response to the waves of millions of migrants from poor countries has sent support for populist anti-mass migration parties to record heights.
The religious figures stated that those aims are what their various faith groups are “most passionate about” and warned their co-religionists and others that a vote to leave the EU is a vote to “undermine” efforts to make the world “fairer, cleaner and safer.”
“We hope that when voting on 23 June, people will reflect on whether undermining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals could conceivably contribute to a fairer, cleaner and safer world.”
Alongside Rowan Williams, the extensive list of signatories includes the Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Bishops of Ely and Liverpool.
The letter was signed by representatives of a wide range of faith groups, among them the City Sikhs Network, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Hindu Forum in Europe, the Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network and the Inter Faith Sub Committee of the Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council.