Religious leaders urge voters to shun BNP

Faith leaders in Manchester have issued an open statement, urging voters to shun the British National Party  at the elections to the European parliament this Thursday.  Their message comes days after the Archbishop of Canterbury  Dr Rowan Williams and  The Archbishop of York, also warned against voting for the BNP.

The  latest statement is signed by the Bishop of Manchester and the Catholic Bishop of Salford Terence Brain,  as well more than a dozen senior representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities. It is also backed by other Christian groups including the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, the Baptist church and the United Reformed Church.

The leaders say: "Our faiths all teach us to love our neighbours as ourselves - and to respect one another as fellow human beings, each made of equal worth and dignity.

"That view of what constitutes a just and health society is under threat in this year's European elections from the British National Party, who seek political success by preaching a message of division and hatred.

"They will use racism and other prejudices to challenge the very diversity which strengthens our local communities.

"They seek to exploit the difficult times which face our country to turn one community against the other.

"We urge you not to vote for political parties that promote racism."

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