Beeston Reichlands? Nein Danke!

It’s not really my policy to write about a meeting I didn’t attend, but for very good reasons I’ll make an exception for this post.

I was planning to go to the Beeston Rylands  Hindu Temple meeting last week, a community meeting organised to introduce the new temple to residents and address any concerns that they might have. Unfortunately I had otr commitments at the time, and reasoning it would probably be fairly low-key and pass off without much event to report on, I’d give it a miss. It turned out to be anything but uneventful.

A bit of background first: the Hindu temple  has been created out of an unused church hall on West Crescent. As the site already had planning permission to be used for religious purpose, and would have otherwise fell into dereliction, it seemed a sensible choice. There were concerns regarding parking (and, bizarrely, fireworks), so provision was made to assuage these fears. Provisional plans were drawn up for the larger (approx 70 people) events to be serviced by a minibus; for smaller gatherings, various sites were looked into that would greatly mitigate any impact on local parking.

Thus the meeting should have gone without a hitch, with residents worried about parking listened to and responded to, and served as an introduction to Rylands residents to their new neighbours. So far, so simple. A previous CAT meeting had passed off without a hitch when the issue was raised, and concluded with a round of applause when one of the Temple Elders expressed gratitude for being made so welcome.

Yet the meeting last thursday wasn’t graced with anything like this goodwill. A small but highly-vocal portion of the room tried, and succeeded to dominate proceedings by shouting down others, and, according to my source at the event, showing their true colours by shouting ‘Get back to your own country’, while the Labour councillors that serve Rylands   told that ‘It’s your fault for letting these people come here’. Ah, the unmistakable whiff of fascism, as potent as sulphur and brimstone but less pleasant.

Yes, it looks like the scummy BNP managed to infiltrate and hijack the meeting.  The bigoted views are not representative of Beeston, which is by far Broxtowes most multi-cultural centre, and one which has embraced and benefited from the influence of other cultures, notably East Asian. The BNP managed to lose their deposit at the last general election (cheers for the cash, knuckleheads!) and keep well away from local politics. The hilarious yet depressing case of Sadie Graham has been well documented here (she got elected to the borough council for the BNP several years ago, got kicked out for failing to attend meetings then launched an attack on Nick Griffin in that amusingly predictable paranoid way the far-right does so well; with her partner leaking the complete membership online).

I don’t doubt there are sympathisers here, but they are by far a tiny minority. So who were these people at the meeting?

Want to feel like you need to soak in Dettol for hours and have your computer fumigated? Then do what I did the other day, and have a trawl round some of the nastier, paranoid and outrightly rabid reaches of the internet where the far-right message boards wallow in their own filth. It’s a depressing thing to do, but do it I did, and it doesn’t take long to see that the Hindu temple has been an issue there, and a BNP-affiliated website has been keeping it on the agenda for some time. It seems like they organised to infiltrate the meeting and use it as a paranoid platform. It’s traditionally Islam the BNP focus on, but maybe they feel affronted that Hinduism has original dabs on the swastika as a peaceful sign, rather than there arm-band of choice. This style of infiltration is a common tactic of the far-right: they are too cowardly to admit there allegiance so attempt to pretend they are merely ‘concerned citizens’, despite not being local or at all representative of the community they attempt to cuckold.

Its depressing to think that this happens. Its even more depressing to hear that the stained glass windows of the temple were recently smashed in what could well have been a pointedly racist act of vandalism. Yet, there is hope, and there is a way to beat this, and show our new neighbours that they are welcome, that we are only intolerant  of small-minded, gimlet-eyed right-wing idiots who demonstrate the irony of believing they are the Master Race while struggling to walk without significant damage to their knuckles.

Heres what to do- it’ll take five minutes. Send the Temple a ‘Welcome to Beeston’ card. Grab a card, tell them that you have no problem with them being here, and beat the nazis with simple goodwill.  Go on, do it now. You’re bound to have a card knocking about somewhere that will be fine, pen a greeting, bang it in an envelope and address it to

The Sri Thurkkai Amman Temple

West Crescent 

Beeston Rylands

NG9 1QE 

Drop it in a postbox and know that in a  small but significant way that you have pushed a bit of hate out of the world. Then tell your friends to do the same via Twitter, Facebook, or, if you’re one of the local politicians who read this, via your newsletters. Beeston is a place of tolerance and freedom, lets prove it on a scale that shows the small-minded bigots they may be loud, but we are louder.

20 thoughts on “Beeston Reichlands? Nein Danke!

  1. patranne says:

    What a shameful thing to happen. I’m going to write my Welcome card right now, hope many others will do so too.

  2. Gailsman says:

    I didn’t even know there was a temple there. Lets hope it is just a one off and everyone will live together in peace

  3. Ravi says:

    Great post, found this by googling news for Beeston. You made the point well, when it was a Church they didn’t mind and all of a sudden its something else it becomes a “parking problem”. Hinduism has great similarities to Western culture, many Hindus have assimilated into British culture better than any other religion – and vice versa, Hinduism has given us Yoga and various other facets too. We should appreciate everyone as long as they have peace to offer.

  4. David Watts says:

    Great idea for the welcome cards Matt, if you don’t mind I’ll use this (properly credited to you) in my newsletter next Saturday.

  5. Tamar says:

    Done and done.

  6. Bill says:

    Great Idea about the cards, mine’s gone.

    Everyone please pass it on – to your church group, workmates, coffee circles, book clubs, everywhere. Let’s kick racism out of Beeston for once and for all.

  7. Kate Ames says:

    How utterly disgusting, thanks Matt for letting us all know and for subjecting yourself to the online filth.

    The card idea is simple but very effective, am going to write one now and will pass this on.

  8. andy pearce says:

    Well said. My support guaranteed.

  9. Donna Jeays says:

    I will also write a card. I am ashamed that our new neighbours have been subjected to this.

  10. Cllr Steve Barber says:

    Sadly their windows were put through again last night.

  11. Dr Sharmini Krishanand says:

    “Firstly, we, the members of the Beeston Hindu temple, would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the people that have supported us recently. We have received beautiful cards, encouraging emails and many personal messages of support from within the community of Beeston and also nationwide. It is encouraging to receive so many from local residents who live in the Rylands.

    When we first set up the btemple, we aimed for the Beeston Hindu temple to be a focal point within the community, acting as a meeting point for worshippers of all faiths. We also hope that all members of the community will benefit from using its facilities. Hinduism welcomes everybody.

    Our opening ceremony is on Sunday 8th April 2012, an auspicious date based on the lunar calendar which also coincides with Easter Sunday, another important holy day. It will be an exciting time for everyone and we would like to cordially invite you all to join us in the grand opening of The Sri Thurkkai Amman Temple. If you do drive, may we, out of consideration for our neighbours ask you to park further afield? There is a bus service to close to our temple.”

  12. sapphire says:

    Thank goodness that this community is showing that we are not all bigoted pigs. Lost hope in the meeting and was so ashamed to live here, but this is putting my faith back a little.

  13. Zangief_Streetfighter says:

    Having looked at google street map as to where this temple is, Im not sure why there are concerns regarding parking as there does not appear to be any parking restrictions, whilst most of the residents have private driveways, and the road appears wide enough to provide ample of off-street parking….and out of principle, the temple committee shouldn’t be requesting people who are coming to the temple to park further afield, as everyone has a right to be able to park, as there are no restrictions, and if the driver’s pay their road tax every year that is their privilege to be able to park where they are allowed to do so! Obviously as a driver, be respectful enough not to block people’s driveways.

    With regards to the vandalism of bricks being thrown in, it is unnecessary and what is actually achieved at destroying other people’s property apart from a few moments of calming an unstable person’s anger and frustration of their pittance of a life? So if you are one of the moron’s reading this that have vandalised this or under taken any other act of vandalism, you are just a joke and the rest of society pity your measly insignificant life!!

    Good luck with the opening, and for the record, Hinduism also gave us the Kama Sutra too!!

  14. jmk_ftm says:

    The only consolation we have from this grim (and worrying) tale is that the BNP and their sympathisers seem to be a bit mentally challenged to say the least. On that basis I expect those involved in the serial window breaking to be eventually caught. Bless ’em: they really aren’t the brightest.

    Sadie Graham is a prime example of the British Numpty Party and I recall a similar outcome when the BNP won a seat in Tower Hamlets many years ago. At the time fellow councillors recalled how the BNP totally recoiled from the prospect of having to sort out finances, roads, education, refuse collection etc. – the sort of things councils are responsible for running day to day. They were genuinely horrified at having to deal with any of this things – the sorts of issues and public services most people care about. Eventually those people also stopped attending council meetings – I also recall a fellow councillor at the time referring to them as “pondlife”. As I say, they’re not MENSA members tho’ (bizarrely) Oxbridge educated Griffin probably is (with all the advantages he’s had in life he really should know better).

    I also heard a few weeks back that the EDL were meant to be involved in the planning of this incident at West Crescent: this is an organisation that would have us believe they were only set up (supposedly) purely to challenge “the introduction into the UK of Sharia Law” – a group that insisted they had no other racial axe to grind. Well with racists that’s rarely if ever the case.

    Following this approach up I remember Nick Griffin also trying to court the Hindu and Sikh voters at the last General Election as part of a supposedly “anti-Sharia Law” (in reality, an anti-Muslim) alliance. According to Griffo Sikhs and Hindus were all cool – it was only the Muslims the BNP objected to. A piece of calculated and sinister shit stirring if ever there was one: designed to divide ethnic communities and provoke trouble in the Dagenham by-election. These statements are only representative of a shift in tactics by the organised racists rather than a genuine change in their views. The reality is they still pretty much hate everyone who’s not white and “British” (and that’s their definition of British.

    As for the apparently imminent “threat” of Sharia Law it would be equally relevant to protest against the reintroduction of Danelaw to the East Midlands. None of these laws are actually ever going to go on the statute book in parliament.

    The thought that 326 M.P.’s are going to vote Sharia Law in is fanciful to say the least. It’s a racist fantasy designed to conjour up a sense of moral panic and anger amongst racists and latent racists.

    These carefully constructed scares are all hot air but great for acquiring new recruits. Sharia Law will never be the law of the land in the UK. What’s more I’m pretty sure that, if challenged, the EDL couldn’t even articulate a case for how this would actually happen in reality.

    And as for the people who take to the streets in “protest” for these causes I’m sure a lot of them just like a drink and a fight (the EDL is mostly populated by self declared football hooligans). A lot of them would happily fight each other (and used to!) if non-white or anti-nazi targets weren’t easily available.

    As for the remainder of the EDL who are thick enough to actually buy into these scares I am gradually coming around to the opinion that they actually are more to be pitied than hated.

    We mustn’t forget that blind hatred is at the root of this sorry episode.

  15. Rk says:

    Excellent post =]

  16. Concerned says:

    I have never read such biased comments from, no doubt, people who are not affected by this temple and have not attended any meetings. This HAS NOT been a racist ‘problem’ and if you think it is then I suggest you ask the many different nationalities of businesses and residents who have lived in the Rylands for years to see if they have had any racial incidents. I can’t however speak for the ONE narrow minded person at the first meeting who did make a nasty comment and if you were at that meeting you would have heard the WHOLE audience boo this person; nobody I spoke to even recognised them as a Ryland’s resident.

    If anyone dare complain about something, when another nationality is involved then it has to be racial doesn’t it!!!

    Nobody complained about the church parking before because if was hardly used so it didn’t cause any problems. And yes windows did get broken but they did before BEFORE anyone from the temple moved in and I can vouch that the alarm went off on a regular basis, AGAIN before ANYONE from the temple moved in. We stopped reporting it to the police when they said they had no control over alarms unless we went to check nobody was breaking in, so to use this as an excuse for racism is pathetic and a cop out.

    The problem about parking has been the fact that since Thursday we have had numerous problems such as:

    Cars pulling up, dropping off, banging card doors from early in the morning (one resident heard them from 6am) until 10.40pm (which has been the latest time up to now); Remember these cars have four doors and a boot and nearly all are banged when arriving and again when leaving so times 10 bangs with the 16+cars that have arrived each day and evening so far. This was apart from Sunday when the road was constantly busy with cars, mini buses and taxis from early morning (7.07am on a Sunday) until late into the evening.

    Too many taxis, mini buses and cars dropping people off to count. A constant stream of people walking down the street says that more that the reported 150 people attended.

    Cars double parking restricting access.

    Temple staff placing their own barriers in the road to prevent residents from parking.

    This is in addition to the cow, the drums and guitars every 20 minutes throughout the day and all night, the bright lights shining into bedrooms throughout the night, the spitting, anti social behaviour, litter, cooking smells, smoke, overflowing rubbish and last but not least, the chanting (using a microphone) throughout the day.

    What has angered the local residents most, and I really don’t believe you can comment unless you are DIRECTLY affected by this, that the temple have lied to residents by promising that they would close at 9pm and there would not be any music or drums, and those of you that were at the meeting would have heard these promises.

    These are just the problems we have experienced and those that live closer have had many more but that is up to them to say.

    For any of you still all for it still then I am sure there are many people on this street that will be willing to sell you their property but I can guarantee you won’t be moving in to a quiet residential area anymore.

    To summarise, the temple staff lied to residents about the noise, opening times and that is what they have met with such annoyance. And for those that have used race as an excuse to why people are reacting to the temple, I ask you to go and speak to ANY residents and business owners to ask what their experiences of the Rylands have been and then pop into Beeston police station and under the Freedom of Information Act, ask how many racial incidents their have been in the Rylands!

    Before you start slagging residents off again, ask yourself one question; would you put up with this from your neighbours???

  17. Concerned says:

    It will be interesting to see if this post gets through moderation or will it be selective journalism again?

  18. […] is a wonderfully inclusive faith and they’ll make you very welcome indeed. Full story here […]

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