RACIST abuse of asylum-seekers in Rugby has been slammed by a spokesman for Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (RTUSC).
Asylum-seekers who are staying in the town while their status as refugees is assessed have received abuse on social media – described as ‘very worrying, but sadly not surprising’ by RTUSC secretary Pete McLaren.
He said: “These refugees are fleeing the horrors of a war-torn country and are trying to escape from persecution. Many worked as interpreters for western forces and would be obvious targets of the new regime. They were encouraged to leave Afghanistan for their own safety – yet, disgracefully, a minority in the Rugby area apparently hurl verbal abuse at them from the safety of their social media accounts.
“We are very disappointed that some comments suggest we don’t have any responsibility to house asylum seekers in Rugby. The UK helped create the problems that now exist in Afghanistan, and we are delighted Rugby is taking its share of those fleeing war or persecution.
“Asylum seekers and other immigrants contribute more to a local economy than they take out. They pay more in taxes and consumption, long term, than they cost in terms of services or benefits. There is no need for any negative effect on local public services.
“Our problems are more to do with austerity and government policies from politicians from all persuasions.
“All asylum seekers should be welcomed here while their asylum claims are being assessed, and then subsequently if able to stay.”
In July – after a decision by the Home Office to house a group of asylum seekers in Rugby sparked a social media backlash – the Chair of Rugby homelessness charity Hope4, which was formed by a group of local churches, called on the community to ‘embrace all who come to call Rugby home’.
Diana Mansell said: “At the heart of the Christian message there is a desire for us to care for those who are on the margins of society – the widows, orphans, foreigners, the homeless, the hungry, the refugee.
“I am sure that we along with all those in Rugby will embrace those who have risked their very lives to flee from horrors we have never had to endure. Many have been separated from or lost loved ones along the way.
“Over the last year and a half we, as a community, have been attuned to the heartache of separation and bereavement. Everyone in Rugby has been incredibly compassionate throughout the pandemic. I hope this spirit of caring for our community will continue.”