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'St George is for everyone’

26 April 2013

PA

Asparagus fans: celebrating the launch of the British asparagus season on St George's Day, at Bretforton

Asparagus fans: celebrating the launch of the British asparagus season on St George's Day, at Bretforton

A COALITION of faith groups issued a statement on Tuesday, St George's Day, calling for England's patron saint to be reclaimed from racists and extremists.

The signatories of the St George's Day Statement included the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Christian Muslim Forum, and the Hope Not Hate campaign.

The statement says: "As patron saint for England, St George is there for everyone living in England. Too often he has been . . . used as a symbol of triumphalism and division by those on the extreme Right.

"Although the English national flag, bearing the Cross of St George, was carried by the Crusaders, St George actually lived before the birth of Islam and should not be associated with any hatred of Muslims. He is respected by many people in the Middle East because of his origins there."

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, speaking in Stockton Parish Church, said: "The feast of St George should be a day of real celebration, and I would like to encourage everybody to rejoice in this great land that we live in."

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