Muslim’s initiative celebrates World Refugee Day in Parliament

26th Jul 2019
Muslim’s initiative celebrates  World Refugee Day in Parliament

Bone marrow donation awareness activist Asma Meer and award-winning actress Emily Watson OBE (Photo courtesy of Sarah Sheriff)

Sarah Sheriff

Past winners of a Muslim News Award for raising awareness about Bone Marrow donations from BME communities, Asma and Sameel Meer, held a successful ‘jam-packed’ event at the House of Lords on June 20 to celebrate World Refugee Day. Asma and Sameer, founders of the ‘Peace of Cake’ initiative, have been bringing communities together over tea and cake ever since the Paris terror attack.

Along with the tea and wonderful homemade cakes, the Citizens of the World Choir sang. Their serenade was likened to “having a bath in the opposite of hate,” by famous actress Emily Watson.

This observation so aptly describes this ensemble of many voices with many stories from our world today – brought together by choir-master Becky Dell who had attended a Welcome to the Mosque event held in Lewisham and supported by Peace of Cake.

After meeting Imam Shakeel at the Mosque, Asma and Citizens UK group who have worked with Lewisham Mayor, Damien Egan to make Lewisham a sanctuary borough for refugees, the idea of continued cooperation was born.

Asma said, “Becky Dell just attracts so much good around her. Her partnership with Lord Roger Roberts of Llandudno was formed as a result of the Government’s failure to honour the Dubs Amendment which was a promise made to refugees.

It is reported that they had been appalled by the treatment of families fleeing war and violence and closure of the refugee camps in Calais and its inhumane aftermath.

Their answer was well, “to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
The choir is 50 per cent refugee as part of a formula of giving all people an equal voice – the message: to share equally in our world today.

It was after participating in one of the ‘Peace of Cake’ events that Lord Roger had exclaimed, “Let’s have one of these at the House of Lords” – and the rest is history.

It was observed, There is an essence to the choir that encompasses the beauty of humanity. Listening to them sing together in English, Arabic, Yoruba and modern pop intertwined with poems written by young refugee children: It strips you of arrogance, greed and your petty little problems and motivates you to do more to make the world a nicer place for everyone by starting, just taking the first step into believing that this can actually happen one day we will all ‘learn to sing in perfect harmony.’”

And the initiative works. In one incident well-known to Asma, a woman who had harboured EDL sympathies in the deprived Downham area of Lewisham, came to a Peace of Cake event and her prejudices were blown away by conversations with women in hijab and niqab.

 

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