06:55PM, Tuesday 27 February 2018
One of the town’s foremost strengths is its diversity – a community made up of smaller communities, each adding its own unique qualities to the whole.
Slough is a thriving multi-cultural town, with over a quarter of the population of Asian origin, and significant populations of African, Caribbean and Eastern European origin.
The effects have been widespread, from the variety of religious buildings in the town, to the election of Britain’s first black female mayor in 1984 (and the election of the first turban wearing Sikh MP), to the wealth of religious and cultural events which take place in Slough throughout the year.
Therefore, I was particularly disturbed when I recently heard reports of far-right ideologue Rafal Ziemkiewicz’s intentions to come to Britain and speak at an event in Slough.
Any individual who propagates Islamophobia, antisemitism or any form of racial discrimination is not welcome in Slough.
We will not allow those who try and sow disunity in our vibrant, multi-cultural and multi-racial town to succeed.
As I had said in my maiden speech in Parliament, the only way to fight such ignorance, to overcome the politics of hate and division, including the Islamophobia that is so prevalent in certain sections of our society and media, is to call it out and condemn it – and espouse the politics of integration.
It was therefore fitting that the weekend that followed marked ‘Visit My Mosque’ day.
It was a great pleasure to visit the Slough Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre to mark and celebrate the occasion.
The initiative, organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, encourages members of all faiths and none to visit their local mosque and see how the place of worship serves not only the local Muslims but also the community around them.
I was also pleased to have been able to extend my support to the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ educational event at the Emirates Stadium looking at what hate crime is and how football clubs can play a vital role in their communities to tackle it. Together we are stronger, and better off for it.
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