• Friday, July 19, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Kingsbury Temple a beacon of compassion: Starmer

Starmer assured his party will always be committed to building a Britain where people from all faiths feel safe and respected

Labour leader Keir Starmer at Sree Swaminarayan Mandir in Kingsbury, London on Friday.

By: Shajil Kumar

LABOUR leader Keir Starmer visited the Sree Swaminarayan Mandir in Kingsbury, London on Friday (28) and interacted with the local British Indian community.

In his address, Starmer described the Kingsbury Temple as “a beacon of care and compassion” and lauded the way it treats all people, irrespective of their backgrounds, with dignity.

Starmer recalled his last visit to the temple in 2021 after he took over as Labour party leader, at the height of Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was just blown away by the work you were doing in the community,” he said.

starmer temple

Kingsbury Temple was the first temple in the UK to serve as a vaccination centre. It was also providing hot food to homeless families and had opened blood banks to help NHS.

“You played a central part in leading us out of those difficult days. So, I can only say thank you for all you did.”

He lauded the temple for taking inspiration from His Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and putting ‘society before self’ and its tradition of ‘seva’.

Starmer assured that a Labour government would work for the British Indian community and support them.

Hinduphobia

The Labour leader expressed concern over the rise in religious hate and assured there is no place for Hinduphobia in Britain.

“Any efforts to divide us, to stoke hatred, to demonise people, will not – and never will be – tolerated,” he said.

He said his party will always be committed to building a Britain where people from all faiths feel safe and respected, “where diversity is celebrated”.

Starmer said he was proud that there is a record number of Hindu candidates standing for election next week.

He exhorted the gathering to support Labour candidate Primesh Patel, who is contesting from nearby Harrow East.

“He’ll be the first Gujarati MP in London. Let’s make that happen,” he said.

Starmer said if candidates like Patel get elected, “They will stand – with the entire Labour party firmly behind the Hindu community, representing your concerns, listening to your voice, working with you, on issues here at home as well as on the global stage.”

“As we build a new strategic partnership with India. As we work to make sure every person in this country has the opportunities they deserve and the support they need to succeed,” he added.

Starmer pointed out that many Hindus came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s to help rebuild the country from the devastation caused by the Second World War. He also lauded their contribution during the war.

“In the 1970s, another wave of Hindus came to Britain, and continued to enrich our society with deep culture, dedication, and enterprise. Your parents and grandparents perhaps.

“They came because they believed in Britain, a place where Hindu ideals of hard work and sacrifice were key to a better life,” he said.

Recalling his childhood he said he grew up during tough times, but his parents believed in hard work and education.

“I was the first in my family to go to university – the future would be better for their children. And I know you believe that should be the case as well,” he said.

Welfare

He pointed out that welfare measures such as the National Health Service and free schools were all implemented by Labour governments in the past.

Starmer pointed out that it was the Labour party that brought the first legislation for racial equality in Britain, that helped ethnic minorities build successful businesses and build strong communities that have now become part of the fabric of British life.

“And now we see a new group of Hindus: home-grown, British, thriving, often highly skilled. Some of them even support Manchester United – but we’ll forgive them for that,” he remarked.

But he pointed out that they haven’t forgotten their roots and “embody the best of all worlds”.

Starmer said if Labour comes to power next week, it will support their ambitions and aspirations.

Related Stories
Videos

Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…

Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…

Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…