In a message to be published in this week's "Scottish Catholic Observer" Bishop John Mone, Bishop of Paisley and President of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, calls on Scottish society to welcome "the strangers in our midst" and to see migrants as an enrichment to our society not a challenge to our stability.
"FIRSAT DAG: was only 22 years old and had been resident in Glasgow for only two weeks when his life was brought to an abrupt and horrible end. He was a young man who had to leave his homeland because of political and racial persecution.
The right to political asylum is enshrined in treaties to which Britain is a signatory. Our Government, at local and national level, has a moral and legal obligation to welcome and protect such people So do we as citizens of our country."
Bishop Mone also calls on local and national authorities to properly prepare the ground for the arrival of refugees by consulting with the local community and by ensuring that they were "on board" with the arrival of the strangers in their midst, this consultation appears not to have happened.
"It is important, therefore, that we recognise that racism is alive and active in our country. We may claim that it is only the ignorant few among us who are racist however, it only takes good people to keep silent for evil to flourish. Have too many of us been too quiet about this for too long ? Does it take a murder like this for us to waken up and speak up?
Shortly before his death the late Cardinal Winning expressed his horror of racism and of the treatment of refugees. He said that he was almost ashamed to say that he lived and worked in Glasgow. I believe that he spoke for the vast majority of the people of Glasgow and of Scotland. I deeply regret the existence in Scotland of a strong minority who speak the language of discrimination and hatred. They delight in exaggerating the alleged bad behavior of a tiny minority of refugees. I strongly resent the efforts to label all refugees as untrustworthy liars and spongers by labeling them as "BOGUS".
Pope John Paul said in his message for World Peace Day this year that, "the prime value which must be ever more widely inculcated is that of SOLIDARITY".
We really do need a better human response and a quicker and fairer system of assessment of political refugees. We also need to respect their human and civil rights, which I am afraid, we are not doing at the moment.
I pray that this will be our aim and objective as citizens of the new Scotland as we try to build a society which recognises the stranger among us as a fellow citizen and an enrichment of our multi cultural, multi racial and multi religious society."
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