News from Navin Shah: Local Assembly Member and Deputy Mayor host interfiath roundtable

11 July 2019

Local Assembly Member and Deputy Mayor hold community engagement and interfaith roundtable discussions

 

Local London Assembly Member, Navin Shah AM, co-hosted a community engagement roundtable this week (Monday 8th) to boost interfaith dialogue and discuss topics of priority such as security around places of worship and the barriers faced by community organisations. The event was held at the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe’s (ZTFE) centre in Harrow, where Mr Shah was joined by co-host, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Debbie-Weekes Bernard, alongside community and faith group leaders from the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities. Representatives from the Community Security Trust, Thrive London and Met Police also made contributions to the discussions.

 

Participants from over twenty-five Hindu, Jain and Sikh organisations from across London took part in the roundtable to engage in discussions on a list of core topics. These included safety, security, health and wellbeing in the community as well as how City Hall can continue to closely engage with faith and diverse community groups across the capital and the funding support available to such organisations. 

 

The event began with keynote speeches from Mr Shah and Deputy Mayor Debbie Weekes-Bernard on the importance of London’s diverse communities, Dan Barrett from Thrive LDN on its wellbeing programme and a representative from the Community Security Trust (CST) around the safety of religious spaces.

 

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Christchurch and Sri Lanka and a number of hate crime incidents across the capital, the issue of security at places of worship was high on the agenda. Roundtable participants also raised the burglaries that have recently taken place at local temples.

 

To discuss these security concerns in further detail, the event was also attended by a representative from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), and officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and Secured by Design, a police initiative seeking to reduce crime through design solutions.

 

The latest data from the Metropolitan Police’s hate crime dashboard shows that in the twelve months to May 2019, there were 1,033 recorded religious or racially motivated hate crime incidents recorded in Harrow and Brent.

 

In November last year, Mr Shah raised concerns with the Met Police and Harrow Council after the London Ayyppan Temple in Harrow was attacked and vandalised on two separate occasions. Following joint support from Mr Shah and Harrow Council, the Temple was able to access Home Office funding to boost security. Currently, Mr Shah is supporting other temples in the capital to improve their security.

 

In March, the Government doubled its places of worship fund to £1.6 million, set up to provide financial support for faith groups to introduce physical protective security measures such as fencing, lighting and CCTV.

 

In June, the Mayor of London published a new report setting out his findings from City Hall’s counter-violent extremism programme in the capital which examined the dynamics of radicalisation in both religious and political environments.

  

Local London Assembly Member, Navin Shah AM, said:

 

“In these tumultuous and divisive political times, it was positive to hold this discussion with community organisations and faith groups from across London’s Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities.”

 

“The event allowed us to set out ways that City Hall can more closely engage with faith communities, and to discuss in detail, key concerns surrounding the security of worshippers in the wake of a worrying tide of hate crime incidents in the capital and the horrific terror attacks in Christchurch and Sri Lanka.”

 

“The discussions clearly flagged up the need for greater partnership and sharing of good practice between community and faith organisations, but demonstrated the barriers they face such as funding issues and a lack of local facilities.”

 

“I am committed to working with the Mayor of London, local councils and stakeholders to support our community organisations and faith groups who contribute so much to the wellbeing of Londoners and promotion of culture and spiritual values.”

 

“I would like to thank Deputy Mayor, Debbie Weekes-Bernard, for her invaluable support in co-hosting this event and to all the guests, speakers and attendees who took the time to attend and contribute.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

  • The latest data from the Metropolitan Police’s hate crime dashboard shows that in the twelve months to May 2019, there were 1,033 recorded religious or racially motivated hate crime incidents recorded in Harrow and Brent;

 

  • In November last year, Mr Shah raised concerns with the Met Police after the London Ayyppan Temple in Harrow was attacked and vandalised on two separate occasions;

 

  • In March, the Government doubled its places of worship fund to £1.6 million, set up to provide financial support for faith groups to introduce physical protective security measures such as fencing, lighting and CCTV;

 

  • In June, the Mayor of London published a new report setting out his findings from City Hall’s counter-violent extremism programme in the capital which examined the dynamics of radicalisation in both religious and political environments;

 

  • Navin Shah AM is the London Assembly Member for Harrow and Brent.

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