Launch of Labour Muslim Network at British Parliament
Dr. Mozammel Haque
Labour Muslim Network was launched at the British Parliament on 11th of December 2017. Rupa Huq, Member of British Parliament from the Ealing and Acton Constituency sponsored the Room in the British Parliament. It was attended by many members of the House of Commons and many members of the Muslim community. It was addressed by John McDonnell, MP, and Labour Shadow Chancellor and also by Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Opposition Party.
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Preparation is underway for the forthcoming general elections. Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition Party at the British Parliament, said, “When the election campaign will be underway we went out there with lots of enthusiasm; with lots of energy; two million people have registered to vote and some of those join the party which is excellent and we helped them getting the manifesto which is transformative; every one can see underway. The campaign is a combination of social media reach and public meeting and public opinion and offering to young people the real hope of enthusiasm for the future of this country. And the response we got is quite amazing; quite often day after day we have millions of people following us on social media; downloaded the manifesto; downloaded part of the manifesto and many people on social media engage in the debate on social media all the time.”
“Instead we offer to bring people together in a sense of hope and unity,” he said.
We give a sense of hope to people - Corbyn
Speaking about the issues Jeremy Corbyn talked about the “issues of migration; issues of communities; and the unsaid voice was somehow or other. He said, “I shall have and the words I used around now and everyone now rallies look around you; look around each other; who are you; who are you; you are young, you are old, you are black, you are white, you are Christian, you are Muslim, you are Jewish, you are guys, you got lots of enthusiasm and ideas, for the bubble you come together; that you are living in a country that brings your ideas together and gives you hope for the future. That’s what we did; we gave people the sense of hope in the election campaign.”
Jeremy Corbyn was serious and straightforward. He said, “The result we got was not good enough I know; not good enough; we did not gain a majority in the election, but we gained more votes in England than any time since 1970; before the three million votes across the whole of the country. We gained seats of the Tories; there was a biggest swing in favour of Labour since 1945.”
The Leader of the Opposition Party, Labour Party, at the British Parliament Corbyn MP expressed thanks to the Muslim Network that sprung up. He said, “The Muslim Network that grows up during the election campaign; the way you were able to send same people in the constituencies makes a big difference; and a big help. Constituencies; people were frankly worried about; you went in and knock on the door of all of those returned majorities of many many thousands as a result of it. You know what the enthusiasm is like during the campaign and on the doorsteps.”
The Leader of the Opposition Party at British Parliament said: “We don’t have to work out where we will go from here; because in areas with large Muslim communities your involvement and understanding are absolutely brilliant. And we live in a society where unfortunately there are instances of deep intolerance; anti-semitism; of Islamophobia; and of far- right racism in our society and it got worse since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the attacks we had during the election campaign in London and in Manchester mainly opposing the campaigning rightly so. And I went to Manchester a day after the attack and report thousands of people probably ten thousand people came to our square in a sense of unity and defiance.”
He mentioned about the unity and defiance of the entire community. He also mentioned, “Afzal (Khan, MP from Manchester) was there and others were there and the community; incredible sense of unity and many others. That feeling of the whole community came together.”
Attack on Finsbury Park
Jeremy Corbyn also mentioned what happened after the election campaign. He said, “After election campaign there was the attack on the people, the worshippers in my local mosque; the Finsbury Mosque Finsbury Park, people were going home from prayers late at night. I was home at that night and heard siren of the car going on the road; it happened all the time services on the road; sadly there were lots of fire police ambulances sirens and then start phoning around to ask what was going on. Then I heard the horror of the story emerged of what happened that somebody deliberately driven a vehicle into a group of worshippers and I went down there to talk to the people, talk to the police; going to the mosque; talk to the officials of the mosque; what was amazing was in the next morning, the whole community came out in school and had a discussion two days later in the primary school and they all decided that they wanted to do something. So they decided they would have a march round the area on the day of the memorial event and most of the people, they carried very very loudspeakers to play around they love. There were kids who understood the only answer to these sorts of things is to bring out people together and do things together.”
Muslims in the British Parliament
Labour Party Opposition Leader then spoke about the Muslim representation at the House of Parliament. He said, “We have nine Labour Muslim MPs in 2015. We have newly elected colleagues who have done an incredible amount of work in order to get elected to this Parliament and already making a big impact and what we do next as a party; we are dealing with the issues: complicated issue of Brexit; we are dealing with challenging Tories on the austerity; on housing; on poverty; on injustice; on inequality in our society. That the social equality and international solidarity message that we have to go.”
Speaking about the international issues, Jeremy Corbyn said, “I want to lead the Labour government; the government that says the cornerstone of what we do internationally is about human rights, peace, justice and democracy. I don’t like the government should involve of sending people into war. I want to stop wars but looking at the causes of war in the first place. And that means voting people who are refugees, fleeing from the conflict not on their making; but it also means to engage when injustice takes place. For example, the way which the Rohingya people were driven out of their homes and sent them into Bangladesh and now many have been possibly returning in the near future. I am very pleased with the Labour MPs who have been there; went out and help the charities there. We got a very thorough report what is going there because we are unable to raise that in the UN. We will continue to raise it and we are continuing.”
66 million refugees in the world
Jeremy Corbyn mentioned all the meetings that were held in the weekend, the most distressing one for him is when he talked with the Head of the United Nations Refugee Authority. Speaking about this meeting, he said, “The Head of the United Nations Refugee Authority who told me the total number of refugees around the world is 66 million. Think about it; 66 million refugees; refugees somehow or other around the world. What we are doing? They are going to the International Olympic Committee arguing with them that since the refugees are so numerous around the world, they should represent the Olympics with their own team, good message. Good message; millions of people will be watching the Olympics; you see refugee team running in the Olympics; having represented the people the number of people around the world that have lost their homes, forced to flee, because the war, environmental calamites, natural disaster, human rights abuses, tyranny, many many other things.”
“We can assure and must do much more to support refugees wherever they are around the world but also to look at the causes; look at the causes in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and that’s it, “ he said.
Speaking about the domestic issues, Jeremy Corbyn talked about real wages fallen; the number of people sleeping roughly homeless has risen; on the NHS and the lack of house building means more people homeless.”
Issues to be told
He explained the strategy to be followed. He said: “So we get that message out; bring us all together; bring all the communities together; so we say to the Muslim communities – yes Islamophobia is a problem; yes, there is too many young Muslims have stopped and searched; yes there are very disturbing issues about discrimination against young Muslims; come together as a community. We welcome all the other communities, to create that kind of inclusive, caring cooperative and supportive society, that in turn help us to realise the Labour government.”
Social Campaigning Movement
“We need Labour party which is big, which is inclusive; that is a social campaigning movement that is there, every day in every community helping and supporting people. Because just knocking on the door last three weeks in the election campaign voter ID is very important; absolutely crucial but; but you have to have conversation and the sense of inclusion well before that; well in advance of that in order to win people out. People will not give a fair win in the next elections,” Jeremy Corbyn said and added, “We will not get any support from the Daily Mail or the Daily Express or the Daily Telegraph or the Daily anything else. For that matter, we do have a support of many people; we do have the support of many people on social media and we do have the ability to bring people together and make them exciting. It’s not young people; it’s not old people. Give young people a chance of education; older people security of knowing that there will be a care service there for them should they need it. But above all of this society will not alone live on poverty.”
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Talking about the preparation for the forthcoming elections, the Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell mentioned, “We got to be ready. What we are doing at the moment; literally going through the last manifesto; looking at every policy, turning into implementation manual; get legislation drafted on the shelve; but that manifesto was the last election. We got to think about the next election; we have to get make sure that manifesto is re-drawn; is radicalised; and actually goes into much more detail about the gender things etc.; it’s come off to the point you made which is really. We have to have a deep database access to our own communities; what are the issues they face people?”
Mr McDonnell said, “The idea is when we go into government next time; I keep saying this we all going into government; all going into government. I take my constituency into what’s happening in the Muslim community I have been in my constituency for more than 40 years; I am really old. I have been in my constituency for more than 40 years; it was the Labour party that helped found the local mosque. It was the Labour councillor found the premises for the local Muslim community mosque; Muslim came together and found the mosque.”
Speaking about the Muslim community and prevent, he said, “We are dissatisfied the way the prevent strategy is implemented. So we brought together two local mosque, Gurdawar and other religious groups. We think we have better network here and how we work together very grassroots level to identify any problem that accrued. There was a community we came together to protect the mosque and to work together humbly but thinking how can we implement our own prevent strategy more effectively.”
Speaking about the Muslim community to join the Labour Party, Shadow Chancellor Mr. McDonnell mentioned, “I think this is the most exciting time to come into Labour Party; the time to change and we can accomplish that. On the ground, we have got such a mass movement now; a mass movement of young people especially building for the next generation So a number of you in future be a member to come to this meeting and a number of you in future years will be meeting down that corridor of the Parliamentary Labour Party because what we want the people to say I can represent Labour as well. I can stand for office within the party; I can stand for the office of the council; I can stand for the office; in charge of parliament ministerial office as well; because we want to reflect the wider community.”
Welcoming the Labour Muslim Network, McDonnell said he wants to see more members of the Muslim community in the Labour Party. He said, “We need many more members of Muslim community to be as partner assistant in going into office that every one wants. I welcome the Muslim Network. I really welcome the discussions that we have. I also welcome the policy decisions; we have to follow that decisions that we have made government together.”
Rupa Huq, MP
Rupa Huq, Member of British Parliament, mentioned that she was proud to sponsor the room at the Parliament.