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Havering’s Muslims encouraged to get into politics at special political awareness event in Romford

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 April 2018

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

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Romford MP Andrew Rosindell was just one of a host of speakers at a special political awareness event aimed at convincing the borough’s Muslims to go out and vote on May 3.

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa PageThe Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

The Havering Islamic Centre in Waterloo Road, Romford, held a political engagement event on Saturday (April 7).

Esmat Jeraj, a Community organiser with for Citizens UK, served as the key note speaker expanding on the importance of engaging in local politics, explaining the local election system, along with myth busting stereotypes around poor turnout amongst Muslim communities.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell was representing the Conservatives on Saturday.

He said: “I was delighted to be asked to speak at the event, which was excellent, and I think it was fantastic of the HICC to open its doors yet again.

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa PageThe Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

“I’ve been working with the centre for 20 years now and I think that events like Saturday’s are what make Havering such a united, happy, community.

“We are so lucky to live in a borough where there aren’t divides based on class, religion or ethnicity – we are all British, and we all want what is best for our home of Havering.

“That is why it is so important in these upcoming local elections on May 3 that people vote for people who can run the council well.”

The Romford MP also pledged his support to the centre as it faces having to relocate as a result of the Bridge Close redevelopment in Waterloo Road, announcing his firm belief that the centre needed to stay in central Romford.

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa PageThe Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

Robert Ritchie, a Labour candidate standing for election in Brooklands ward on May 3, represented his party at the event.

He said: “It was great, it was brilliant to be welcomed to the centre and I was honoured to be invited.

“I was quite surprised by the turnout. I know the centre is always busy on Fridays but I wasn’t sure what to expect on a Saturday afternoon – it was standing room only!

“The message I wanted to get across was that it is Labour who will best represent their interests in council.”

The Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa PageThe Havering Islamic Cultural Centre in Waterloo Road held a political engagement event with Conservatives, Labour and Citizens UK. Photo: Melissa Page

Umer Sharif, a trustee at the centre, organised and chaired the event, which he said wanted to shine a light on getting more BAME women involved in local politics.

He told the Recorder: “It was a really great event and it was good to see so many people get involved – the centre was packed out.

“We even had quite a few new visitors to the mosque who saw the doors were open and that something was going on so came in and had a look around, and that was brilliant to hear.”

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