The minister for Faith and Communications Baroness Warsi was in Leicester today as part of her integration road show.
The event was hosted by the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) in partnership with the St Philip’s Centre and University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Crime Studies. The aim of the event was to open up discussions regarding Islamophobia, Religious hate crimes and integration in the UK. Around forty people attended the roadshow including the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, as well as different religious communities, members from the city council, Leicester City Lions and Community projects.
During the discussion, guests at the event voiced their concerns on issues which ranged from the lack of integration in smaller towns, the discrimination some Muslim women face and media representations of the Asian community, with one member of the audience stating that she was ‘’really concerned about the way we are being portrayed’’. Speaking at the event about media representations of community groups, the Baroness said that she believed that it was important for such groups to begin ‘’rebutting’’ stories printed in the media ‘’which aren’t true’’ and she believes that this can be done by utilising social media which will allow community groups to have a voice and effectively combat false stories and representations.
After the discussion, Baroness Warsi spoke to Pukaar News and said the Roadshow, which has already visited cities such as Birmingham, Bradford and Luton, is a ‘’real opportunity for me to take a temperature of what communities on the ground are feeling’’ as well as a chance for her to ‘’Road test some of the government policies to see how they are playing out’’. The Baroness said she also hopes to ‘’take back further ideas that people feel we could be putting in place’’ to London.
Speaking to Pukaar News after the event, many of its attendants gave positive feedback about the roadshow with one gentleman saying it was ‘’so encouraging to listen to Baroness Warsi’’. Another guest of the event stated that he was ‘’pleased and privileged’’ that the Baroness had paid Leicester a visit, but did admit that he found some ‘’shortcomings in what she said’’. However, Suleman Nagdi of the FMO said the day was ‘’extremely fruitful’’ and that ‘’it was a wonderful event’’. The Baroness’ roadshow continues with the next discussion being held in Oxford.