A packed room filled with councillors, community leaders, faith leaders and the police joined representatives from Croydon’s Kurdish community for an event in support of asylum seekers and refugees.
The event, held yesterday evening (Tuesday) at the CVA in London Road, followed the horrific attack on young asylum seeker Reker Ahmed in Shrublands. Representatives from communities across the borough stood together to send out the clear message – ‘hate crime will not be tolerated in Croydon’.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, introduced the speakers, which included council leader Tony Newman, MPS borough commander Jeff Boothe, Steve Reed MP for Croydon North, leader of Croydon Conservative Party, Councillor Tim Pollard, Ibrahim Dogus founder of the Centre for Kurdish Progress, MP for Croydon Central Gavin Barwell, the deputy mayor for policing and crime, Sophie Linden (representing the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan), and Bhupendra Solanki from the CVA.
The open engagement session saw members of the community asking questions, seeking reassurance and using their time to join speakers in declaring that ‘hate crime has no place here’.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“There is a real power in people uniting, and this event sent a clear message that all are welcome here.
“Like many I was appalled by the vile and cowardly attack on Reker, but I was also proud of the way our communities stood together in solidarity with him, and all asylum seekers and refugees who are part of our diverse community.”
Croydon has a long history of supporting asylum seekers due to its close working relationship with the Home Office, whose immigration screening centre is on Wellesley Road.
As a gateway borough, Croydon has taken in and provided care for thousands of unaccompanied young asylum seekers and refugees.