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QUESTIONING: Prince Ali of Jordan says he is ‘perplexed’ at FIFA’s decision to disband their anti-racism programme

QUESTIONING: Prince Ali of Jordan says he is ‘perplexed’ at FIFA’s decision to disband their anti-racism programme

FIFA cancels anti-racism task force

Former FIFA presidential candidate, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, has labelled plans to wind up the football governing body’s anti-racism programme as ‘worrying’ and ‘shameful’.

The disbanding of the task force was confirmed at the Soccerex conference in Manchester this past week by FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, who said that goals had been reached by the team.

“We will turn its work into a strong program of zero tolerance policy toward discrimination of any kind, including violation of human rights,” she said.

“We can live with perception (created by disbanding the task force) but we are taking very firm action.”

However, Prince Ali, who has twice run for the presidency at FIFA, said that ‘the notion that the current FIFA leadership believes that the task force’s recommendations have been implemented is shameful’, adding that the announcement was ‘incredibly worrying’.

“Never has the need to combat racism and racial discrimination been more evident than it is in the world we live in today,” Prince Ali said in a statement.

“It is not something that any governing body with any semblance of responsibility can down play or deny.

“The reality, as with many programs within FIFA, is that the task force was never given real support since its conception and its role was more about FIFA's image than actually tackling the issues.”

It was Nigerian broadcaster and lawyer, Osasu Obayiuwana, who first broke the news after publishing a letter he received from FIFA on Twitter announcing the end of the task force.

It said the task force had achieved the goals which were set out for it when it was created under the leadership of disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2013.

Among the critics of the programme’s cancellation is Britain’s Kick It Out anti-racism group, which stated it was ‘perplexed’ by FIFA’s decision.

Citing the upcoming Russian World Cup as an example, the charity said the country was ‘notorious for racism and abusive activities toward minorities’ and the idea to disband the team now was ‘deeply disheartening’.

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Championing Anti-racism

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AARTY: Pupils from Horton Grange Primary School have been involved in a number of art projects as part of their annual Stephen Lawrence Week, pictured with equalities co-ordinator, Mrs Niela Ahmed

AARTY: Pupils from Horton Grange Primary School have been involved in a number of art projects as part of their annual Stephen Lawrence Week, pictured with equalities co-ordinator, Mrs Niela Ahmed

Stephen Lawrence week teaches about all cultures

A primary school in Bradford, which has previously been commended for its work on promoting anti-racism, held a number of special activities throughout last week as part of its annual Stephen Lawrence Week.

Pupils at Horton Grange Primary worked with local artists to create artwork and canvases, exploring different ethnicities and religions, with the aim of learning about other cultures.

Culminating in a unique exhibition for parents, children and the community this week, all the work completed will be on show at the school.

Horton Grange was awarded its Stephen Lawrence Standard Mark previously – an award given to schools that achieve cultural tolerance and respect.

TOLERANCE: Pupils have painted pictures of famous figures as part of their anti-racism lessons

TOLERANCE: Pupils have painted pictures of famous figures as part of their anti-racism lessons

Niela Ahmed, equalities co-ordinator at the school, initially introduced the project in 2012 and has since seen pupils take part in a range of activities looking at different cultural issues around the world.

Explaining why the pupils celebrate the week every year, Mrs Ahmed said: “It's really important that the whole school gets involved in initiatives such as this because we are asking children to develop the skills of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance of all people from different ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures.

“Stephen Lawrence week allows the school to celebrate differences, raise awareness of the issues of racism and to promote the ethos of equality, cohesion and diversity.

“It is key for us that children understand the importance of treating everyone with respect no matter what the colour of their skin is.

“By learning about these issues in society the pupils know that they are, and feel safe, in school.”

Last year, pupils took part in fair trade workshops and learnt about child labour in different countries around the world.

Events planned for this year focussed more on understanding other’s religions, cultures and backgrounds closer to home.

Some pupils painted famous figures who champion anti-racism, such as Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X, whilst older children sewed messages of tolerance on canvases.

Mrs Ahmed added: “The children have loved the art based workshops that have focussed on anti-racism.

“They have enjoyed making stained glass windows, portraits of famous figures and the sewing projects, all of which will be showcased at an anti-racism art exhibition for parents and children at the end of the week.”

 

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