Nigel Farage has accused the organisation HOPE not hate of being extremist.

In an interview with LBC, Mr Farage said the widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, Brendan Cox, was part of an extremist group. “[HOPE not hate] who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”

The chief executive of HOPE not hate, Nick Lowles, said in a blog post, “even by his standards, Farage’s comments were disgustingly offensive.”

HOPE not hate are raising money to take Mr Farage to court. On their website it states:

Our lawyer has just sent Farage a letter demanding he retracts and publicly apologises or we will begin legal proceedings against him.

We attended a training session with HOPE not hate in Cardiff to find out more about what the organisation does.

Some participants from the training event in Cardiff with Tom Godwin from HOPE not hate and Steve Huxton from Global Justice Wales

The training session took place at Chapter Arts Centre. It was attended by a group of men and women from different backgrounds, some who had travelled from the Valleys and Barry. It was organised with the group Global Justice Now.

In the session, HOPE not hate’s Tom Godwin discussed ways to break out of our bubbles and have conversations with people who have different views. He told us about a campaign the organisation runs where participants knock on doors in the Adamsdown area of Cardiff. They discuss the topic of immigration with residents, but primarily listen to what the residents have to say. Adamsdown is home to the Trinity Centre, a Methodist Church where refugees and asylum seekers go for conversational English classes and various other events. When speaking to people about immigration, Mr Godwin says they get a mix of responses.

Adamsdown is quite a diverse area so we don’t hear that many really negative things. Views can be more extreme in areas like the South Wales Valleys, because people don’t live in communities where they come into contact with people from different cultures or faiths. Some of the standard responses most of us hear are things like ‘I’m not racist but I see them on the streets, they’re rude, there’s too many of them.’ They’re issues that we can tackle by having a constructive conversation with someone.

Mr Godwin talks about a conversation he had with a woman in the Caerphilly area of Wales. Through listening and asking questions, he was able to understand where she was coming from, before discussing his views and the views of HOPE not hate.

Mr Godwin says the media’s portrayal of asylum seekers and refugees is different to what he sees, having worked with them.

In the training session, Chris from the Valleys said she tries to challenge any hateful or aggressive talk that she hears.

Grace, from Roath, said she overhears conversations in the school yard where parents say “why can’t I get my child into school? It’s people coming in and taking up spaces.”

Another member of the group said that someone put a note on her door after Brexit saying ‘immigrants out. Go home!’ She said that this makes her look at everyone with suspicion.

The group discussed tactics of how to deal with comments like these, and how to engage in difficult conversations about issues like migration.

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