Greg Hands, Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham, visited the Chelsea Muslim Community at their local Hub on the World’s End Estate on Friday 29May.
Dr Mustafa Abu-Lisan, Chairman of the Chelsea Muslim Community Hub, welcomed Greg Hands to the community centre, along with other representatives from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, including Borough Police Commander, Chief Superintendant Ellie O’Connor, Leader of the Council, Nicholas Paget-Brown, Chelsea Riverside councillor, Gerald Hargreaves, and Stephen Morgan, Head of Community Engagement Team at RBKC.
During the visit, which took place immediately after the Community’s well-attended Friday prayers, Greg’s constituents had the chance to meet their newly re-elected Member of Parliament, and to pose questions to the panel of guest speakers. The questions ranged from housing to the provision of youth facilities, and Greg welcomed the chance to discuss their shared responsibility to combat extremism. Greg’s constituents were also keen to find out about his new rôle as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
According to the 2011 census, 10% of the population of RBKC self-describes as Muslim, and approximately 15% of the residents of what was then Cremorne Ward (now Chelsea Riverside), are Muslim.
Greg Hands says, “As someone who has travelled widely through the Islamic world, from the Maghreb to Central Asia, and from Syria to Bosnia, I welcomed the chance to attend the Chelsea Muslim Community on Friday and to meet constituents from a variety of Muslim backgrounds. Furthermore, as someone who likes to speak languages, I am particularly happy to hear that the Hub offers free Arabic classes to the wider community.
“I am also pleased to hear that the Chelsea Muslims’ mission is one of uniting the community based upon the concepts of tolerance and social interaction, and within a socially cohesive and law-abiding framework. In addition, I support the efforts of Dr Mustafa and others who contribute to the Bi-Borough counter-radicalisation strategy.”
After the panel satisfied the local residents with their answers, Dr Mustafa provided sweet green tea and a selection of baklava for the guests.
Greg Hands now looks forward to working with the Chelsea Muslim Centre in the future, and wishes his Muslim constituents well for Ramadan, which is due to begin the evening of 18 June.