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Methodists launch resource to combat extreme political parties

 In the run-up to the European elections on 10 June, when extreme parties could win seats with as little as 9% of the vote, the Methodist Church has launched an online information resource for all churches and other concerned groups. Currently extreme parties are targeting selected councils and European constituencies, they warn. Noting that the BNP's political strategy is based in part on voter apathy, the site features ways of increasing interest in elections. It also demonstrates practical ways to enable voters to see the motivation behind the BNP presentation of itself and its policies. Anthea Cox, Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice for the Methodist Church, said: "Over the last eighteen months many local churches and church leaders have become fully engaged in trying to overcome political parties that promote racism and intolerance. This resource has been drawn from that experience. As the European and local elections approach the resource offers practical tools to enable people to consider the issues raised by parties such as the BNP." She added: "Local churches are placed at the heart of the community and people look to us for leadership. It is important that we underpin our commitment to social justice with theology and prayer and there are resources to enable this included in the web site." "The new web resource is the church's offering to congregations and individuals who recognise the need to consider such issues in areas where the BNP and other extremist parties are likely to field candidates in the June European and Council Elections. The resource offers information, case studies, prayers and group work to help congregations work through the challenging issues presented by this new trend in British politics." To access the site click on: www.methodist.org.uk/ and then go to the 'political extremism' link.