Some of the ‘leading intellectuals’ cited supported wars in the Middle East and stayed silent in the wake of draconian anti-terror legislation, notes Liz Fekete

Some signatories to the manifesto on which you report (European liberal values face threat not seen since 30s, warn intellectuals, 26 January) were those who supported the wars in the Middle East and/or stayed silent in the wake of draconian anti-terror legislation that followed September 11.

It was the “civilisational racism” unleashed by these that provided the political space for the far-right parties that now blight the European landscape. And the signatories could note that since 2015, “ordinary” Europeans have taken part in the biggest wave of humanitarian volunteerism since the second world war – supporting refugees, many from Syria, desperate and dying at EU countries’ militarised borders. We need those with powerful voices to speak out not just to defend Enlightenment values in the abstract, but also on the many occasions that the human rights of ethnic and religious minorities, or foreigners, are denied.
Liz Fekete
Director, Institute of Race Relations

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