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Arab British citizens launch campaign for greater political representation

5 months ago

Arab British citizens launched a campaign 'Arab Voices in the Elections', on 28 February 2024 United Kingdom

Arab British citizens have launched a campaign — “Arab Voices in the Elections” — in a concerted effort for greater political representation that has already attracted the participation of numerous distinguished individuals. This initiative, spearheaded by the Al Arab in UK Platform, seeks to amplify the participation of British Arabs within the national electoral processes and, more broadly, within the political landscape.

In its founding declaration, the campaign advocates for a more pronounced Arab presence and influence, proposing the establishment of a volunteer cadre dedicated to enhancing the engagement of British Arabs in civil society. This effort aligns with the goals of promoting integration, fostering a culture of coexistence and championing equitable causes.

Adnan Hmidan, the director of Al Arab in UK Platform, extended an invitation to interested parties who were present at the project’s inaugural seminar on Saturday, 24 February, or those who have expressed interest in the project, to join a specialised task force in order to realise its aims and objectives.

The group has already attracted upwards of fifty-five eminent figures from the Arab community, representing a diverse range of regions across the United Kingdom. Hmidan articulated a vision for harmonising Arab endeavours to capture the attention of policymakers, with an emphasis on preserving Arab identity alongside advocating for integration and coexistence.

Speaking at the seminar, activist Omar Mufid underscored the necessity to assert and validate the presence, influence and demands of Arab citizens of the United Kingdom. He observed that other communities, for various reasons, have successfully established their prominence within societal and political spheres, achieving significant recognition and consideration. He expressed concern over a general reluctance among politicians to engage with Arab issues, attributing this hesitancy to regional conflicts and developments within the Arab world.

Moreover, Mufid proposed the strategic delivery of the Arab voice to political figures to affirm the community’s existence and essence, and the establishment of Arab interest groups within the Conservative and Labour parties. He also recommended forming prudent alliances with entities of similar or related ideologies, such as leftist groups and Islamic organisations.

Advisor Dr Mohamed Hassan pointed out that the core issue to be addressed in upcoming elections transcends the Arab community, suggesting an expansion of electoral focus to include other minorities that share common causes, traditions and societal needs. This broader coalition, he argued, would significantly amplify their collective voice and influence.

Arabs in the British parliament 

On the topic of Arab representation in parliament, parliamentary candidate for North Ealing Helmi Al-Harahsheh emphasised the imperative of Arab participation in the forthcoming and future General Elections. He advocated for representation that reflects the community’s political aspirations and contributions to society.

Jamal Iweida, a political activist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, highlighted the critical need for cohesive Arab coordination. He also criticised the Labour Party’s lacklustre stance on issues pertinent to the community, suggesting that a strategic response is necessary to realign the party’s priorities with those of the oppressed and marginalised.

While commending the campaign’s objectives, Dr Anas Al-Tikriti, president of the Cordoba Foundation for Cultural Dialogue, cautioned against reliance on current demographic statistics of Arabs in Britain, due to the absence of the Arab ethnicity classification in the national census.

The Arab Voice campaign continues to welcome participants from across the United Kingdom through this link.

It should be noted that the London mayoral election will be held in May. The UK General Election must be held before the end of 2024.

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