Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Respect For All Faiths And Communities

By Navin Shah AM

RESPECT FOR ALL FAITHS

AND COMMUNITIES

During the GLA election campaign and since I’ve read with concern, dismay and hurt, the comments on the issue of Islam attributed to Ken Livingstone. Let me put the record straight.

Ken did not at any point say "I will make London a beacon of Islam". His comments were taken out of context and were completely misrepresented in the Daily Torygraph. I firmly believe that comments condemning Islamaphobia should not and must not be taken as ‘giving one community preference over another’. Ken Livingstone has always stood for the principle that all faiths and cultures contribute to the prosperity and attraction of London.  

Ken made a commitment to Londoners during the election campaign stating: “If I am elected my policy will not be to promote one faith or community over another, as has been suggested, but to promote interfaith and inter-community dialogue. I want my mayoralty to be at the forefront of encouraging dialogue.”

Any suggestion which propaganda from one politically-motivated smear campaign sought to promote was that somehow the Labour Party and Ken Livingstone are not interested in Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. This is total rubbish. The facts, if one is prepared to consider them objectively, are as follows:

The Labour Party is a true champion of justice, fairness and equality for ALL. The same is true for Ken Livingstone. I’m proud of Labour’s record which is second to none.

It was Ken, during his eight years of Mayoralty, that established the celebration of London’s diversity and pioneered the principles of inter-faith work and community cohesion. It was Ken who commenced religious celebrations in Trafalgar Square including promoting the values of the Hindu religion through Diwali and Vaisakhi celebrations. If he was anti-Hindu, which the detractors are portraying him to be, he would not have bothered promoting the values of the Hindu faith.

To an audience in excess of 1000 people, on 7th April 2012 in Harrow Ken gave a commitment that he would celebrate the Jain values in Trafalgar Square and organise an annual celebration in City Hall to recognise the Jain religion as a worldwide religion. This was mentioned in Asian Voice but opponents failed to recognise this, as did the media because it was not a sensational, controversial story to attack Ken and the Labour Party.

 

Navin & Ken.jpg

 

If anyone cared to analyse Labour/Ken’s manifesto, they would find that it strongly promotes recognition and celebration of the contribution of all communities and guarantees promotion and support for London wide celebration of our diverse culture.

For my friends, analysts and well-wishers who’ve expressed concerns on this issue in Asian Voice I humbly plead with them to mull over the matters again. If they think that there is need for further clarification I’d be happy to have a further dialogue with them. No amount of adverse comments, politically-motivated campaign will detract or deflect the Labour Party and I from continuing our journey towards equality, community cohesion, fairness and justice for all.