Cllr Rabina Khan will take the lead at tonight’s meeting of Tower Hamlets Council (22nd July) – the first scheduled Council meeting since John Biggs squeaked to victory in the mayoral election – and call on John Biggs to run a sensible strategy for safeguarding the local community.
In the last mayor election, John Biggs was just 1,492 first preference votes ahead of Cllr Khan – representing a lead of less than 1% of the electorate. The election, caused when the courts removed Tower Hamlets’ elected Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, saw the boroughwide Labour vote collapse my more than half – from 62,273 in the 2015 General Election to just 27,255.
Over the last four years, Labour councillors have often used procedural measures to stop motions from opposition councillors being discussed. We’ll see tonight whether the close mayoral vote has changed their attitude or whether they are still determined to stifle opposition.
Cllr Khan explains the rationale behind putting a motion on safeguarding the community against radicalisation. “David Cameron has outlined his strategy to counter extremism. Of course we all want an end to terrorism, but the Prime Minister risks further alienating British Muslims – the very community that can help most are being told that they are not doing enough and that they are not integrating.
Integration is a two way street: there are responsibilities on the host community as well as the minority community. That said, in Tower Hamlets the Muslim community is integrated and most residents of Tower Hamlets rub along well together.
“Although we are yet to see how the new powers will play out in practice, the Government must ensure that they don’t prove to be counter-productive. Let us not forget that Muslim values of charity, tolerance, hospitality and social cohesion are also British values.”
Cllr Khan has set out her concerns and addressed how we can develop possible positive strategies in a piece published recently by the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../rabina-khan/radicalism_b_7827060.html
•East London News hopes to report live from the Council meeting: we’ll update you on what happens to Cllr Khan’s resolution as soon as we can.
12.3 Motion regarding Safeguarding against radicalisation
Proposer: Councillor Rabina Khan
Tower Hamlets Council notes
- The recent tragic, brutal and shocking deaths – on 29th June 2015 – of British citizens who were on holiday in Tunisia
- The earlier tragic disappearance of local schoolgirls who are assumed to have joined ISIS in Syria
- The ongoing threat of ISIS to all – especially the young people
- The potential of radicalisation of youth by misguided and vile ideology of ISIS who do not represent Islam but have hijacked it and are abusing the name.
Tower Hamlets Council resolves
- To extend all our sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of those who so tragically lost their lives in Tunisia during this extremely difficult period
- To reaffirm our commitment to resisting the politics of hatred and division in all its forms, and in this specific case, the vile ideology of ISIS who have hijacked the name of Islam and are manipulating young minds. In particular, for ISIS to use the holy month of Ramadan – when Muslims are supposed to be extra conscious of the duties of charity, forgiveness, kindness and looking after all living beings – let alone human beings – for such activity demonstrate their clear and evil misrepresentation of Islam
- To deliver the following programme of work:
oContinue to engage local mosques and madrassahs to strengthen their capacity to safeguard residents and pupils from radicalisation;
oTo work with families through such projects as the Parenting Programme in order to highlight risks and how parents can protect their children from radicalisation;
oDevelop community resilience against online radicalisation.
- To continue to work together and get to know one another at personal and human level – from all religions and none – to dismantle any misguided perceptions, propaganda and misrepresentation of each other in our society.
- To observe a minute’s silence for the Tunisian and 7/7 victims at the full Council meeting (can be taken at the beginning of the meeting if felt appropriate)
- To work with all stakeholders to deliver the following:
oUndermining extremist ideology;
oSupporting vulnerable individuals;
To develop programmes of work to develop Young Leaders to challenge extremist opinions through increasing awareness and understanding of extremism among young people and their families to develop analytical thinking to challenge extremist material.
Write to local schools to launch a competition to hear from young people about their views and potential solutions and suggestions to the radicalisation issue – the winner should be invited to meet all Members/representatives of all three Groups in the Council and be given an opportunity to present the winning proposal in the Chamber at an appropriate Council meeting.