This is why I was saddened to see the third in line to the throne, wearing a Nazi uniform with a Swastika armband at a party during Holocaust Remembrance Month.

I had formed EMMA in 1997 to unite and appreciate our collective humanitarian objectives. As a teenager, I faced racism from my own diverse Asian community, for having too many “Black” friends.  As an adult, I am now, ironically being attacked by a small “Black” right wing group for recognising “White” celebrities within EMMA. As a British Muslim I have always believed in justice, equality and racial harmony; recognising all creeds, religions and colours through their characters, for their joint social contributions beyond distinctive tribal and social groups, by fighting any form of racism and by allowing “Whites” to be positively active, and not just passively stand by when it comes to racism regardless of political allegiances.

EMMA has always involved people from all races and religions, directly and indirectly for their multicultural “characters”, whether they are Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Christian or Muslim etc. People from all racial groups have participated and contributed to the multicultural cause named EMMA. The shortlists of finalists have reflected this from day one. Independent judges with respected media backgrounds and convenors that are respected by the British community oversee the Awards. EMMA has grown through private funding, so as to avoid any hidden agendas and ensure equality, whilst acknowledging individual achievements in a society sadly turning towards racism.

The EMMA winners selected by the public, not only symbolise our collective support for their achievements in terms of racial harmony, but professional excellence as role models for our future generation, fighting any form of bigotry. This is why it is very important to recognise; Tom Cruise , not only for his performance in the last Samurai, but for his positive racial campaigning, Vanessa Feltz for her brilliant radio work as a Jewish minority and David Beckham for fighting any form of racism in football in Eastern Europe and recently Spain. I was heartened to find that Elvis Presley has also faced right wing attacks against him due to his support and promotion of “Black American” music, the KKK boycotted his records and campaigned against his performances in their towns. This did not deter Elvis, and history ultimately helped the world to appreciate him better through his global fans; so there may be hope for me yet, in a community based upon material wealth as opposed to spiritual and social growth.

I understand the conservative pressure group frustrations, when their religious lifeline is attacked needlessly, not because freedom of speech isn’t important, but the feeling of alienation does creep in if the system does not reflect a balanced opinion. In these regards an average hard working person is ultimately alienated, when governing or professional bodies are quangos, trying to legitimise their so-called objective position. As EMMA has found, their legitimacy can be miss-guided and its neutral objectivity can also be compromised against public opinion by the few, on behalf of the many. We have celebrated global icons that have touched all our lives like Nelson Mandela, Ray Charles, Muhammad Ali, Dr Maya Angelou and Yolanda King (daughter of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr) to name just a few, who have worked with “White Liberal - civil rights” campaigners, and also acknowledged EMMA with pride alongside our many patrons and loyal ‘anti-racists’ sponsors.

Peace Be With You for 2005

Bobby Syed

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