Social and political engagement: refugees and the referendum

Oct 10, 2016

There is a long established tradition of ‘Engaged Buddhism’ and in my own practice I’ve been reflecting on social and political issues more over the last year or so.

As part of this process, I made a short film about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Bradford and gave a talk about some of the issues raised by the EU referendum.

Millions of people have been displaced by the war in Syria. A few thousand have come to the UK and around two hundred are in Bradford. I’ve been concerned about how refugees and asylum seekers have been presented in the parts of the UK media and was keen to speak to some of the people who’ve arrived in the city to learn more about their lives first hand.


When things are tough, we look for scapegoats. This might make us feel better for a bit but doesn’t address our real problems. Two days after the referendum to leave the EU, I explored these ideas and reflected on our divided society, our current problems and our hopes for the future. While the talk is based on some Buddhist ideas, I hope it is useful and relevant to all whatever our beliefs or background.