Tag Archives: hina bokhari

Lib Dems mark Black History Month

Black History Month starts today and this year its theme is “Time for Change: Action not words”

From the Black History Month UK website:

To get to a better tomorrow, we can’t just focus on the past. The past is in the past. We can acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.

This year’s Black History Month in October is more important than ever. It’s not just a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world. It’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.

For those of us looking to be better allies, the message is clear:

Being an ally means moving beyond short-term or performative gestures and taking real, long-term action. In the workplace, in places of education and learning, and in the public sphere, this means having policies in place that achieve real outcomes.  As an individual, it means actually practising what you preach. In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, many organisations and individuals committed to tackling racism.

This was done around the world by taking the time to learn about the black experience and additionally, in the UK, this included learning about the historical legacy of colonialism and slavery. That was an important step forward, but it won’t fundamentally change institutional racism today.A number of recent reports have called out racism across a range of sectors, from international aid and education to healthcare and policing. As a society, we all know there is a problem with institutional racism. Now we need to work together to tackle it.

Stonewall have produced a really good guide on being a good ally to black LGBT+ people.

Lib Dem AM Hina Bokhari set out what Black History Month means to her:

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Leaseholders still at risk of having to pay huge sums for cladding replacement

We don’t often reference the Daily Mail here on LDV. But this week they published a generally supportive article (with photos of both Ed Davey and Hina Bokhari): Campaigners call for more help for cladding-hit flat owners and a proper overhaul of leaseholds after latest vote on Building Safety Bill.

Leaseholders across the country, particularly in cities with high rise blocks of flats, are concerned that they will have to pay for the replacement of dangerous cladding.

The Government insists that leaseholders are protected from the costs of dangerous buildings.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Housing Michael Gove said leaseholders ‘are blameless, and it is morally wrong that they should be the ones asked to pay the price’.

However, recent Government amendments to the Building Safety Bill include some caveats, meaning many leaseholders could still have to pay life-changing sums for the remediation work.

A recent survey by the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign of more than 2,200 properties in buildings over 11 metres suggested that 64 per cent of leaseholders outside of London and 83 per cent of leaseholders in London will not be protected from all costs to fix non-cladding fire safety defects.

The item includes a photo of Ed Davey addressing the rally outside Parliament earlier this week and two further ones of London Assembly member Hina Bokhari with protesters. Hina is quoted at length:

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Hina Bokhari AM writes: Being a Muslim candidate during Ramadan

When I reminded my Lib Dem colleague, Richard Poole, that I was going to be fasting for the next four weeks of the elections, he asked immediately how they should support me and how to show respect to Muslim voters during the campaign. So I thought it would be useful if I shared some useful facts and insight into the month of Ramadan and how it may impact Muslim candidates like me and voters in the next phase of the election campaign.

Firstly, I want to thank Richard for showing an interest. When I was younger, few would ask about my faith. Now I have friends who want to join me in fasting and come over for Iftar, the meal at the end of the fast, at sunset. Lots has changed in people’s perception of Islam, sadly because of some very negative Muslim imagery in the media after the New York September 11th attacks. But from this difficult time also came positive curiosity, a genuine keenness to understand and to learn.

As a Muslim woman in politics, I am proud to talk about my faith and encourage people to learn and participate in our traditions and customs. I’m so proud that during the first lockdown we held the Lib Dem Iftar which included MPs, councillors and members fasting along with other Muslim Lib Dems. It was a great immersive learning experience which I would love to do again.

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Hina Bokhari AM interviewed by The Guardian

Hina Bokhari, Lib Dem London Assembly Member, has been interviewed in The Guardian along with other female Muslim politicians. This is in response to the report that Nusrat Ghani MP was sacked as a minister because of her “Muslimness”.

Hina says:

I had never experienced racism until 9/11: I was walking home when someone shouted: “ go home” not far from my doorstep. After that it got more frequent. During the 2018 World Cup, a drunk man got right in my face saying: “Listen , go the fuck home.” I’ve had problems on the job, too. When I was campaigning I would hear those same phrases about going home. And there would be micro-aggressions such as: “Your name is too difficult” or supposed banter about immigrants taking our jobs. Brexit was a particularly bad time.

Sometimes Islamophobia is a lack of understanding. So, in 2020, I wanted to get people within the Liberal Democrats to experience Ramadan for a day. People – including Layla Moran and Ed Davey – fasted for a day and tweeted throughout. Streams of hatred came back in response. People were asking Ed if he wanted four wives – and saying far worse to Layla. Ed and Layla felt not just the experience of fasting, but the hatred too.

I was shocked that I was the first Muslim woman elected in Merton council – and one of the London assembly’s first Muslim women. Are Muslim women less likely to be elected? Or less likely to put themselves forward? When I talk to Muslim women, there’s a fear of being abused.

People have said in the past I should change my name. But I would never do that. When Michael Fabricant said that Nus Ghani wasn’t obviously Muslim, I tweeted: “Yeah – coz all us Muslims look the same!” I think what he meant was that she was the kind of Muslim that didn’t make him feel uncomfortable.

In the London assembly we’ve got a very good understanding of Islamophobia. It helps having a Muslim mayor. But there is still inconsistency. Whether you are Jewish, Muslim or from any minority group, you should be heard, respected and, if there’s an incident, action must be taken. Our struggle is a shared struggle.

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Hina Bokhari writes: My first 100 days as a London Assembly member

100 days ago I had the honour of being elected as a Liberal Democrat London-Wide Assembly Member. We doubled our representation at City Hall and became a group again, with Caroline Pidgeon as the leader. 

I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of hundreds of members and activists, the fantastic team of GLA candidates, team members led by Anood Al-Samerai and the inspiring Mayoral candidates Luisa Porritt. Thank you to all who achieved this result. 

Now that there’s two of us in the London Assembly we can double our efforts, double our reach and even double our votes. 

That’s why it’s been important for me to get noticed and that’s not by just wearing lots of yellow and orange!

I didn’t plan to go semi-viral thanks to a photo of me sitting next to the former Tory Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey at our first public meeting. We were discussing how cold it was in the chamber but the Labour group spread rumours of us hatching a coalition plot – there was none. Labour had a strop over chairs of committees, they then refused to chair any. In any case, as a result, Caroline is chairing Transport and Oversight and is a member of the Police Committee, I am Deputy Chair of Economy and a member of the Environment and Fire Committees. My job is to scrutinise the Mayor and to raise our London Liberal Democrats’ campaigns. 

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On Hina and ice-cream

Last Thursday, LibDem London Assembly member Hina Bokhari invited me to spend the day with her. My goals were to get to know Hina better, learn what the London Assembly does, and create a video for my YouTube channel we could share with the world.

At one point Hina says “there’s nothing particularly remarkable about me.” I think this video shows pretty clearly that this isn’t true – she is actually an extremely remarkable person. As LibDems, we should all be very proud she represents our party in the London Assembly.

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