While a lot of talk after Britain’s General Election last week has been on the Conservatives special friendship with the DUP, or the Labour Party making big increases in the number of MPs they have in Parliament, there has also been some quiet appreciation of how diverse Parliament is finally becoming.
45 out of the 650 MPs openly define themselves as being LGBT
In 2015 there were 41 MPs from ethnic minorities and now there are 52
In 2015 there were 191 female MPs and now there are 208 women MPs who’ll sit in the House of Commons
There are no specific figures on MPs with disability
In 2015 only 43% of MPs were educated in the comprehensive system (i.e. not private and not selective) but that has increased in 2017 to 51% (this is compared to 88% of the UK population who received comprehensive education!)
Notable firsts are the first female Sikh MP, a blind MP and an MP with a richly diverse international heritage
#VisitMyMosque day is a national initiative facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), encouraging mosques across the UK to hold mosque open days. In Year 8 students first find out about the work of the MCB with an activity about Muslim denominations where we pretend the MCB has requested our school design a set of T-shirts and mugs to educate the British public about Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Well here is some real work by the MCB – organising a day where people of any faith or none can visit their local Mosque and get to find out what goes on there. The Independent reported today’s events by explaining how people had interesting questions and concerns – Are women allowed to visit? Yes. Do women need to cover their hair? Not necessarily, but it might be nice to try it out. Can couples hold hands? I don’t see why not. What about LGBTQ visitors? All welcome, as the invitation says. Visitors found out that mosques serve pastoral as well as religious needs. Alongside prayers and Ramadan gatherings, you’ll find food banks, soup kitchens and mother and toddler play groups. Newer mosques are being designed to be carbon neutral, or with theatres and restaurants for all the community – Muslim or not – to enjoy.
Woking’s Shah Jahan Mosque was open for the day so that visitors could see all the work that it does in the local community.