Lynne Featherstone MP on Saturday took part in a march organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Over 10,000 people in total took to the streets in central London to stand up to racism and hate crime.
The Liberal Democrat MP was joined at the march by members of the ‘Ethnic Minority Lib Dem’ group and the Justice Minister, Simon Hughes MP.
The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green is currently spearheading a local campaign to promote unity between different communities and search for solutions to radicalisation and hate crime.
Alongside marching with UAF, the local MP has visited local Mosques, Synagogues, community groups, youth groups and more to start conversations and encourage community cohesion in the face of events like the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“In a truly fair society, no-one should be discriminated against or attacked because of their race or religion. It is so upsetting to hear reports of further attacks on synagogues, and to hear from local Muslim women that they do not feel safe.
“That’s why I joined the March on Saturday to stand up to racism – and why I’m pushing the agenda in my constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green.
“The Liberal Democrats are the party of equality. We are the polar opposite of parties like UKIP, and we will continue to stand up to racism and hate crime.”
In a truly fair society, no woman or girl would be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It is gender-based violence – it is unacceptable and it needs to stop.
But over 60,000 girls in the UK are vulnerable. That’s why I recently held a conference for North London professionals to discuss working together to end FGM.
You can watch a video from the conference here:
As you can see, over 100 health workers, social workers, teachers, police and community group representatives gathered at Hornsey School for Girls.
It was a great event – with sessions for each sector, mixed sessions to discuss an integrated approach to tackling FGM, speeches from survivors and a presentation from students.
There is still a lot of work to do to raise awareness and to protect vulnerable girls. But conferences and conversations like this are important steps in the right direction.
Earlier in the week I posted a video of Paddy Ashdown and Maajid Nawaz talking about tackling extremism. I’ve received some very interesting feedback – thank you for your views!
I agree with Paddy and Maajid – that tough conversations and community cohesion are the best ways to respond to extremism and to prevent radicalisation.
That’s why I’ve put words into action in our local area. Here’s a video featuring just some of my local visits to Mosques, Synagogues, community groups, youth groups and more:
This is just a starting point. There is still a long way to go, even in a place like Haringey, where we have such a proud tradition of standing up to both extremism and intolerance.
If you part of a community or religious group, and would like to hear more about this work to promote unity, or even take part, please let me know!
The news is currently dominated by reports of hateful actions, terrorism and conflict. Radicalisation and the rise of far right movements – these are happening in our society and it is terrifying.
And the emerging ‘dialogue of division’ from some media outlets and parties like UKIP is not helping – it’s pushing communities apart and will make the situation worse.
Please do watch this video, to see what Paddy Ashdown and counter-extremist Maajid Nawaz have to say about the situation:
As Paddy says, the Lib Dems are uncompromising when it comes to standing up to UKIP and the dialogue of division.
We are the polar opposite of them, and we will continue to search for solutions to extremism by having tough conversations. We’ll also tackle racism and hate crimes by promoting unity within our communities.
On Wednesday, look out for a post from me. It will contain another video showing the work my team and I are doing locally to put these words into action.
In the meantime, can you share this video on both Twitter and Facebook?
Lynne Featherstone last week visited the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green, to speak to users of the centre.
The Centre provides a range of services including a lunch club, meals on wheels, classes, training and advice services. The Centre also runs the Cypriot elderly & disabled group, which provides day care.
During the visit, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green discussed the upcoming elections and her current local campaigns, including work she is doing to promote unity within Haringey.
As part of this campaign, the Liberal Democrat MP is visiting local community centres, religious institutions, youth groups and more – to discuss finding solutions to extremism and to promote unity and community cohesion, in response to incidents like the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The local residents at the centre backed the local MP’s approach – agreeing that keeping in touch and having conversations is the best way to alleviate tensions and prevent division in society.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented
“I have visited the Cypriot Community Centre on a number of occasions – and I’m always so impressed by the services provided for local residents.
“The managers at the centre do a fantastic job and are so inclusive – it’s exactly what you want from a community organisation. I really enjoyed visiting and discussing the issues of the day with local residents!”
Lynne Featherstone MP last Thursday joined in with the Jan Trust’s Community Champions Day.
The Trust – who are based in Lynne Featherstone MP’s constituency – held the day as part of their ‘Against FGM’ project.
During the visit, the local MP joined a roundtable discussion on how to raise awareness of FGM, and watched a number of presentations by the community champions.
In Government, the Liberal Democrat MP has launched a £35 million programme to support the African-led movement to end FGM. She has also announced mandatory reporting of FGM for frontline professionals.
The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green also recently held a local conference – attended by over 100 North London professionals – on working together to end FGM.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“Four years ago, very few people had heard of FGM. Now, thanks to the work of brave campaigners, it is very much on the agenda. So many people are working hard to raise awareness and end the unacceptable practice for good.
“We’re really leading the way here in Haringey. It was great to have Jan Trust staff at my local FGM conference, and to attend their community champion project just two days later.
“By working together in Haringey and beyond – we will raise awareness and end FGM.”
Lynne Featherstone MP last week visited the London Central Mosque on Wightman Road to discuss any concerns about divisions within local society.
Members of the congregation told the local MP that they are aware of an increase in ‘anti-Muslim’ rallies – and that the Muslim community here feels more vulnerable after the actions of extremists in other countries.
They expressed further concerns about how some political parties and some media outlets are portraying the issues, which is causing further division.
However, the members of the congregation were encouraged by religious leaders, the Borough Commander and the Liberal Democrat MP all working together to find solutions and encourage unity.
The visit is one of many being undertaken by Lynne Featherstone MP, as part of her ‘unity’ campaign. The campaign based around searching for solutions to extremism and promoting community cohesion in Haringey.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“In a fair and equal society – no community would feel more vulnerable than another. So it is really upsetting to hear that the local Muslim community currently feels at risk, because of events in other countries.
“That’s why I’ve started the unity campaign. I’m visiting communities and young people across Haringey to discuss ways to prevent both extremism and intolerance.
“It is really encouraging to see the Mosque taking an active role in encouraging people to report hate crimes, and also to be vigilant in order to prevent extremism. These are real actions which could prevent further violence.
“From day one – my party the Liberal Democrats have stood up to UKIP and the anti-immigration rhetoric from the other parties. It simply is not welcome here in Haringey.”