Eid festival in Burgess Park

DSCN0978Eid festival

Today I was delighted to attended the Eid celebration at Burgess Park and make the following speech…

I wanted to start by thanking Regina Motalb for organising this fantastic event. Eid Mubarak everyone!

I feel very privileged to be here representing Southwark Council. As Cabinet member for children, schools and adult care my day to day work is all about the people of Southwark. It is wonderful to be here with my family for one of the most important events in the Muslim Religious calendar.

As the child of Muslim and Christian parents I know all too well how Ibrahim as my father called him, or Abraham as my mother called him, proved his devotion to God and how God in turn proved his infinite mercy to humankind.

This event reminds us what a great borough we live in – the cultural diversity that makes our borough one of the best places to live.

In our schools celebrations like Eid are being taught in environments where diversity of cultures are taken for granted and celebrated – in schools where hundreds of different languages are spoken and many religions are practised.

The range of cultures in each and every one of our schools have increased year on year. Two thirds of our children, young people and families are of Asian, black and minority ethnic heritage and many of these are not only bilingual but multilingual. This is why we are better than most at giving children the best start in life and ensuring that more of our young people leave school with good qualifications.

Thanks to Regina’s hard work this event has been incredibly inclusive. And today this is more important than ever.

Recently Boris Johnson [PAUSE FOR BOOS]

Recently Boris Johnson made deeply offensive remarks about female Muslim dress – and his comments were not only absusive but have caused a definite and distinct rise in Islamophobia in Britain. He probably knew they would do that. He probably doesn’t care.

I was shocked by the increase in social media posts that were filled with hate against us. I am appalled by reports of Muslim women being abused and assaulted in the streets. Sisters: today let’s tell Boris Johnson and all these racist men: don’t you DARE tell us what we can or can’t wear!

We know, just as our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community know from the all too recent past, that in hard times desperate politicians will seek to blame minorities for the destructive effects of their own policies.

Well I am here today to say on behalf of Southwark Council and Southwark Labour that we will not allow an ‘open season’ against Muslims, that we are fighting it all the way! By opposing Islamophobia and racism, by positively promoting solidarity and community.

And so today on the Feast of the Sacrifice, we honour the poor, we honour our neighbours, we honour our families.

On behalf of Southwark Council I say As-salamu alaykum, may peace be upon you, and upon us all.

Jasmine's Blog
Syrian Refugee Support Game – Tickets on sale now

Southwark Council is working with the amazing Dulwich Hamlet, Southwark Refugee Community Forum and the British Red Cross on a Syrian Refugee Support Game.

Last autumn the British public showed their humanity in an unprecedented wave of sympathy for Syrian refugees, after heart-rending photographs emerged of three-year old Aylan Kurdi drowned on a beach.

But since then attitudes have started to harden again. The right wing press is running daily scare stories to whip up hate and fear. They are trying to undo the sympathy and solidarity we showed in September by associating the victims of terror with terror itself, to get us to turn our backs on refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

Meanwhile people continue to drown while our Tory government refuses to take anything like a decent share of responsibility for welcoming desperate victims.

It is time for as resurgence of sympathy and solidarity. Let’s encourage ordinary people up and down the country to organise clothing and money and basic support for people who have already suffered enough.

We need great examples to inspire people. So please work with Dulwich Hamlet, Southwark Council, British Red Cross and Southwark Refugee Forum to make sure the stadium is as full as possible on March 2nd. Every penny raised will go to refugees.

Dulwich Hamlet vs FC Assyria
Wednesday 2nd March Kick Off 7.45pm
Champion Hill Stadium, Edgar Kail Way,
London, SE22 8BD

Tickets on sale now!
You can pay on the day or show your support with advance purchase of your ticket
£5 or £2 concession
Please contact jasmine.ali@southwark.gov.ukIMG_4455 for your ticket

Bellenden Big Tree

image1Invitation to the Bellenden Big Tree 

Community members on Bellenden Road are excited about their first Bellenden big tree lighting and the gift collection for Southwark day centre for asylum seekers.

The lights come on at 5.30 12 December 2015 in the Sun Shine Garden on the corner of Choumert Road and Bellenden Road. Building on the success of the Bellenden Road big lunch, the Bellenden big tree was inspired by a local resident Anne Bowers’ memory of a similar event in her hometown as a child and a real appetite to build in the community spirit of the big lunch.

Everyone is invited and if you can please being a gift for the families that attend our local day centre for asylum seekers. Hats, gloves, socks, underwear, nappies and toys for children will be gratefully received

The event has been sponsored by local residents with a lot of support from the Bellenden Road businesses including Melange chocolate shop,Threads, Flock and Herd, In Car Multi Media, The Begging Bowl, Trio, the General Store, the Village Grocer, and Paul’s Custom Cycles.  Gareth James property have paid for the tree which is very generous.

The lights will be Christmas Tree light’s will be switched on at 5.30 by

Southwark Mayor Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE and our own Paula from the launderette

Please come and join local residents, our local businesses, the Mayor, me and my fellow Councillors Jamille Mohammed and Councillor Nick Dolezal.





Price and Prejudice – why is black Barbie dearer than white Barbie?

I noticed that my daughter’s letter to Santa included a request for a ‘Barbie doll’. I thought I’d help Santa out by doing some research. I was pleased to see that this type of doll had come along way since I was Franky’s age. I was shocked to see the price differentiation.

The ‘I can be president’ white blonde doll costs £12.95, the Asian doll with the same aspiration costs £79.24 and the same Black doll costs £97.65

It’s ironic that as a cash strapped mum I was searching for a bargain on ‘Black Friday’. I certainly got less than I bargained for as the Indian Barbie I wanted cost between £80 and £136.

I posted all of this on Facebook and got more WTF comments than I had seen before along with comments from economist parents who put it down to popularity driving price. But one of my friends wondered about the production costs, asking “What are the differences and then what is the mark up, profit on each doll per unit?”

Of course the price difference will and must impact on the popularity and therefore the sales.

So come on Barbie manufacturers! You at least acknowledge that Barbie can be more than just a glamour model. Since I last owned one they come in lots of nationalities and even aspire to be president. Now let’s have some equity of price so that our toys can help smash the gender and diversity glass ceiling by representing the little girls that own them.