St George's Day should be for all, say faith leaders

© Peter Sanders Photography

It's time to reclaim St George's Day from strident nationalists, say faith leaders.

Representatives of the Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths are among those backing a campaign that features the striking portrait of a woman whose head is wrapped in a Union Jack flag.

The photo campaign is being spearheaded by the Christian Muslim Forum, which is encouraging people to use the hashtag #stgeorge4all to voice their support.

In a statement, the faith leaders say they want to promote a "relaxed and confident English national identity" and a country in which "a hijab is as welcome as bangers and mash".

"St George should be a figure of national unity and pride. That's why we – a coalition of English faith groups and campaigners – are 'reclaiming' England's patron saint and demanding he becomes representative of all English peoples," they said.

"We demand him back from those who promote racism and extremism, and from those who say that St George can only represent a single ethnic group."

They say that St George has too often been "hijacked" and "used as a symbol of triumphalism and division" by the extreme right.

"St George needs to take his rightful place as a national symbol of inclusivity rather than a symbol of hatred," they say.

The faith leaders are calling upon people to stand up against those who use St George to promote Islamophobia, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.

They conclude: "As the diverse people of England, we are comfortable with difference, and each other. St George's Day is a time for highlighting harmony and peaceful national pride."

Signatories of the statement are:
Al-Khoei Foundation
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Christian Muslim Forum
City Sikhs Network
Faith Matters
HOPE not hate
Islamic Society of Britain
Joseph Interfaith Foundation
London Baptist Association
London Boroughs Faith Network
Majlis-e-Ulama Europe
Muslim Council of Britain
Radical Middle Way
Religions for Peace UK
St Philip's Centre
Three Faiths Forum
Woman's Voice
Liz Carnelley, Programme Director, Near Neighbours
Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL

What Others Are Reading
  • francis-and-lisa-chan

    Francis and Lisa Chan fight for an ounce of holiness everyday

    It is so easy to peg pastors and church leaders as the epitome of Christian goodness and purity, but they would be the first ones to tell you that they're not and that they struggle with issues and sins too just like everybody else.

  • Former President Bill Clinton addresses thousands of Baptists at the ...

    Reference to Monica Lewinsky's dress hidden in Bill Clinton portrait

    Bucks County portrait artist Nelson Shanks is recognised far and wide for painting famous personalities, including the late Princess Diana, Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton. And while many revere his talent, the Clintons in particular hate the one he did on the former United States president. And Shanks recently told's news writer Stephanie Farr why.