Saturday, 24 December 2011

A resolution for peace in our borough during Britain's Olympic year!

Campaigners for peace will be setting a marker for peace during 2012, by remembering victims of violent crime in Redbridge on the first day of the year.

A 1 minutes silence to commemorate victims of fatal attacks in the borough will take place at 3pm at the Redbridge Peace Monument, Winston Way.  This will be followed by a lament played by a Scottish bagpiper,  A number of humanitarians including Anti-knife crime campaigner Parvin Mahmood, and Ann Oakes-Odger (MBE) will be in attendance.

Memorial plaques will be installed to commemorate the lives of Westley Odger and Kashif Mahmood and two descriptions of the purpose of the monument.  It is hope that young people will be moved by the written words and will divert from the type of behaviour that leads to violent crime.

The event will also an opportunity to launch a borough-wide painting competition, that will culminate in creative mosaic designs, focused on peace hope and unity and produced by local children and young people.  We intend to install the best designs to the base of the monument during next years "London Week of Peace"

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"We hope that our art competition will inspire young people to think about the world around them and how to make it a better place."

Friday, 23 December 2011

Police meeting on 22nd December 2011

 Two of the Clementswood Safer Neighbourhood Teams described the nature of crime locally.

At the end of the meeting my daughter Hannah recited a Christmas poetry - well she did insist!

Last night two officer from the local Police team spoke of crime in our community and preventative programmes.  This was our last meeting before Christmas and visitors were entertained by a Christmas poem, via my daughter Hannah at the end of the meeting.  Around 12 visitors described crime issues they were facing and a number of free crime prevention devices and leaflets were distributed. We have retained extra copies in the community centre, for those of you who could not make it to the meeting.  

Due to the sensitive nature of topics discussed residents did not want to be placed in images of the meeting.  Before I post the topics of discussion, I am required to have my article checked by the Police due to sensitivity and confidentiality issues.  I hope to post the details of the meeting sometime in the new year and to reproduce them in our next newsletter.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Interfaith Quiz and Christmas Celebration

39 local residents joined us for our Festive party and Interfaith Quiz.

A wonderful time was experienced by all those who ventured out and joined us for our Christmas celebration and interfaith quiz.  We were pleased to see that so many local families brought out their children as it was a great opportunity for them to learn about religious diversity, in a fun atmosphere.  

Our original quiz was deemed to difficult for the large number of children who joined us.  As a consequence we decided alter the event and simply had 20 questions each on Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.  Adults were separated and told to supervise groups of around 5 Children each, who themselves had been separated from siblings.

The winning team was called "Dynamite" and pipped "Dragons and Sparkles" by 1 point in a closely contested quiz in which the lead changed hands several times.

4 Muslim families two Christian families and other local residents including a wide range of cultural identities made this event a diverse occasion.  

Quiz participants scored highly in the sections on Christianity, Sikhism and Islam but knowledge of Hinduism was limited.  One young Girl commented;

"This quiz excellent it will help with my Religious studies course"

To address the lack of knowledge of Hinduism we are inviting Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group to give a talk in January.

At the end of this event a game of Musical chairs was organised for the Children.  By the end of the night many adults were joining in. 

At the end of the evnt all those that attended spoke of the fun they had. 

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"It is grassrooots programmes such as this one t,hat will inculcate positive enrichment of culture in a relaxed and cohesive atmosphere."

Monday, 19 December 2011

British Sikh Council described sacrifice of the 9th Guru "Shield of India"

We were graced with the presence of Mr Baldev Singh and Mr Sangha at our latest Interfaith Harmony meeting on Thursday 15th December.  They came to describe the sacrifice of the 9th Guru who gave his life to protect minorities from forced conversions under Emperor Aurangzeb.  They described the events that led  to the Guru's death:

In historic India, millions of people were denied this human right.  The Mughal emperor of the time, Aurangzeb held a desire for a pure Islamic state. The Emperor’s ambition was to convert non-Muslims by force starting in the region of Kashmir. In desperation, a group of Kashmiri Hindu high priests (brahmins), approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji ((9th Guru) and pleaded for help. 

The Guru told them that he had a vision that to stop the tyranny on Non- Muslims a huge sacrifice would have to be made of a holy man's life.  This was said before Guru Gobind Singh (10th Guru), who remarked that no-one could be more holy than Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Mr Singh said;

"Guru Tegh Bahadur sent a message to the Mughal authorities that all Hindus would willingly embrace Islam, if he himself did the same."

Emperor Aurangzeb issued orders for his arrest as soon as he had been told of the challenge. The Guru was arrested, along with some of his followers: Bhai Dyala Ji, Bhai Mati Das Ji and Bhai Sati Das Ji. The arrest was made in July 1675 and the Guru was kept in custody for over three months during which time He was held in a very tight iron cage (in brutal conditions).

The Guru was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he would accept Islam. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith to save himself from persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. Like many that have followed since, the Sikhs who were with the Guru Ji were also executed:

  • Bhai Mati Das Ji offered himself as the first sacrifice and asked for his head to be turned towards his Guru as he prayed the Japji (universal song of God composed by Gur Nanak Dev ji, the founder of the Sikh faith).  A saw was placed on his had and he was cut form the head to the loins.
  • Bhai Dyala Ji was trussed up into a ball and  boiled alive in a cauldron he recited the Japjiand turned to face his Guru through the ordeal.
  • Bhai Sati Das Ji condemned the brutality and as a consequence was hacked to pieces limb by limb.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he would accept Islam. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith to save himself from persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. On his refusal, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675. 

In closing Mr Singh said;  

"Guru Ji is also known as 'Hind Di Chadar' (the shield of India), suggesting that to save Hinduism, Guru Ji gave his life."

Friday, 16 December 2011

National Day of Protest ‘UK Uncut Christmas Special’ Information for Businesses

More details of the protest can be found here:

We have reproduced a Scotland Yard report on how they intend to police tomorrow's "National day of Protest":

UK Uncut has recently announced an event entitled ‘Christmas Special’, which is being promoted to take
place on Saturday, 17 December 2011 between 1300 hours and 1700 hours. The stated aims of this protest
are to highlight the government austerity measures and non payment of tax. It is their intention to target
high street retail business premises. Recent events have shown that this has predominately taken place in
Central London. We would advise all retail sectors within Greater London to consider the following
guidance, which is by no means exhaustive.

The Metropolitan Police Service is fully aware of the potential impact of any major event on the local
business community and is well equipped to deal with events like this. We have an appropriate and
proportionate policing plan in place and are working closely with our strategic business partners to ensure
that any disruption is kept to a minimum whilst at the same time aiming to police and facilitate peaceful

The following guidance has been produced to help businesses to prepare for any incidents which may arise
as a result of this activity in the Metropolitan Police Area.

Keep up to date with latest information

For live updates on the progress of this event you can also subscribe to the official free police community
messaging system at

Follow the MPS updates on the day on Twitter @CO11metpolice

Contact numbers:

In the event of an emergency call the emergency number 999.
In the event of a situation that does not require an emergency response, please call 101 (calls to 101 from
landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long your call
If you have information about crime, you can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Security Advice

Ensure that all staff are fully briefed.
Security officers, where possible, should have a visible presence at premises.
It would be advisable that a senior manager make himself/herself identifiable to police in the event of an
incursion into your business premises.
Ensure that your exit/entry points are monitored and that you are able to lock and secure any points of entry
if required to do so.
Be alert to large groups forming outside of business points of entry and ensure staff remain vigilant and
report any suspicious activity to security and/or police.
Check that your emergency equipment supplies and radio communications systems are stocked and fully
operational at all times.


If you identify any unusual markings on your building please report immediately to police.
If crime is committed or an incursion takes place in your premises consider the preservation of evidence,
where possible, on the advice of police.
Ensure CCTV coverage is fully operational and can provide the highest possible recorded resolution.

What you can expect to see:

You may notice officers outside some premises this is because during recent protests some buildings have
been targeted and damaged.
The officers are there to protect these buildings and to assist those inside to go about their daily business
and to deal with any incidents of crime and disorder.
All officer will be uniquely identifiable by a series of numbers, letters or both which will be visible

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ilford is on the map!

Ilford's Town hall a majestic building, is it responsible for a significant increase in travel popularity to our town?!

I found an interesting article on the website of TripAdvisor that highlights the popularity for travel to Ilford in recent times.

Here is what ITV London said:

(click here)

Here is the report from TripAdvisor which I have copied for you:

I have copied it her for you:

LONDON, UK – 8th December, 2011 – TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today reveals the European destinations that saw the biggest increase in traveller interest based on traffic uplift on TripAdvisor over the past yearBritish destinations in particular have seen asignificant soar in interest, laying claim to eight of the ten destinations in the list, including the top finisher, Ilford.

“These destinations may not all be most obvious tourist hotspots, but for one reason or another they’ve sparked rapidly rising traveller attention this year,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “For the British destinations, and especially Ilford, it’s encouraging news – and it’s likely we can attribute much of this spike in traffic to increased interest generally in the UK as excitement builds around next year’s Olympics.”

Ilford in East London tops the European list, followed by Valras-Plage in France, with the UK’s Trafford in third place. Other UK destinations in the list include Tamworth, Brandon, Salford, Warrington, Warminster and Hounslow in fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth places respectively. 

Europe’s top ten fasting growing destinations for 2011 are as follows*:

  1. Ilford, Essex – UK
  2. Valras-Plage – France
  3. Trafford, Greater Manchester – UK
  4. Tamworth, Staffordshire – UK
  5. Brandon, Suffolk – UK
  6. Yalta – Ukraine
  7. Salford, Greater Manchester – UK
  8. Warrington, Cheshire – UK
  9. Warminster, Wiltshire – UK
  10. Hounslow, Middlesex – UK

Here is what the Mail on-line said:

(Click here)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Islamic New Year and the Importance of Muharram

Imam Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad and Reverend George Hargreaves speaking for peace, unity and restoration on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at Redbridge Carnival.

Around 40 visitors attended Imam Hafiz Abdullah's presentation on the importance of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.

A spirit of unity amongst diverse people.

On the 6th December 2011 a gathering of around 40 people from a diverse mix of at least 4 faiths, attended an interfaith meeting with guest speaker Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad from Ilford based "Quran Study Group."

The British Pakistani Christian Association together with other faith groups, are holding a series of similar events, to create a better awareness of the variety of faiths represented in our locality.  Our goal is to dispel myths about "other faiths" and to create a better awareness of festivals and practices, that local people might share the goodwill that enshrines such festivities.

Hafiz Abdullah spoke of the "cultural enrichment" that communities open to other faiths benefit from and commended the work of the BPCA in organising the meetings.  Our funding was gained very much as a result of the progressive partnerships we have with groups such as Quran Study Group, the British Sikh Council and the Hindu Human Rights Group.  We are grateful to all these groups.

In his address on the Islamic Calendar, Hafiz Abdullah described how the English word ‘month’ comes from the word moon and the Islamic Calendar is based on the Lunar Calendar that many Ancient Civilisations as well such as the Babylonians, Jews, Greeks, Egyptians, Aztecs, Indians and Chinese. Each month is just over 29.5 days long, the period it takes for the moon to complete a full cycle of the Earth.   The Islamic calendar is therefore 10-11 days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar.  A result of this is the difficulty to coordinate holidays in the UK, as Eid and other dates move forward by a week and a half each year.  An advantage of the Lunar Calendar is that religious periods such as Ramadan and Hajj are subject to climatic variations with "different length of hours in submission to Allah where human imagination plays no part."

Hafiz Abdullah informed us that the Islamic Calendar was initiated by the second Caliph Umar in 16 AH/ 637 AD.  He said:

"The event of the Hijrah, the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Makkah to Madinah in 622 AD, was chosen to begin the Islamic Calendar."

Hafiz Abdullah explained when setting the calendar the Caliph and his advisors wanted to select an important event and it was believed that the Hijrah was the first major sacrifice made by the early Muslims for the preservation of Islam in its formative years.  He said;

"The Hijrah year reminds Muslims, every year, of the sacrifice made by the first Muslims and should prepare them to do the same."

Hafiz Abdullah described the period of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar and one of four sacred months.  He informed us that although not obligatory, it is recommended to fast during this period as there is Prophetic Tradition that states:

"The best fast, after Ramadan, is in the month of Muharram"

Hafiz Abdullah further explained that this fasting was originally done to thank God for liberating the ancient Jews from the oppression of the Pharaohs and the Jews remember this event during Passover.

Hafiz Abdullah also mentioned that the Prophet’s younger grandson Imam Hussain was tragically martyred on the 10th day of Muharram 680 AD.  He said;

“The heroic martyrdom of Imam Hussain demonstrates to Muslims the need to uphold justice and to fight against tyranny and evil.  They should be prepared to give their lives in similar cause if the need arises not just for Muslim's but for all people”. Hafiz described the peaceful message of the Quran and gave examples of the mercy shown by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) towards his enemies.  This is in total contrast to a minority of extremist people who carry out atrocities in the name of religion.  He also spoke about the tolerance of Islam and quoted the Quran (2:256):

"There is no compulsion in religion, for the right way is clearly from the wrong way”.

After the meeting, all visitors enjoyed a period of fruitful discussion over a warm buffet.   Hafiz Abdullah will be returning sometime in the New Year to present on other Islamic celebrations. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Squatters Fright! Caught unawares....

 Gloomily walking through the streets these women set off to find their next victims!
 Wilson Chowdhry with his loud Buskers Pa shouting "We are all watching you, you will not be allowed to continue your crime on our roads!"
 A 3 hour eventual eviction was extremely demanding!
 Police noted a lack of road tax on vehicles used by the squatters.
 Small children being groomed into a very insalubrious lifestyle - why were social services not present?  
 Over 10 beds were found and in excess of 30 people exited from the property.
 Their amassed furniture and luggage blocked the streets prohibiting normal use of pavement area.
Tragic image of a community that is at odds with societal norms and with a lower moral code.

On Monday 5th December 2011 Mayfield Ward Police, with the assistance of officers from Goodmayes and Seven Kings, removed the squatters from 22 Gordon Road.  In excess of 30 people exited the property and simply dumped their possessions on our streets while they awaited relocation to their next Fagan's Den.    This group who originate from Romania are a closely linked criminal group who originally moved from Littlemoor Road to Cavenham Gardens and have also entered several vacant properties on Green Lane.  

Each time they have introduced high levels of criminality and antisocial behaviour.  The group have been viewed attempting to remove items from unlocked vehicles, by checking car door handles.  They have on several occasions been seem stashing stolen items at the Gordon road premises and regularly rummaging through junk left on the forecourts of local houses.  

A number of calls form myself and other residents ensured that local police knew that this property had become a hive of illicit activity, placing high on their policing priority list.

Local residents met to discuss the problem at the Clementswood/Mayfield Community Centre on Thursday 1st December.  At which I informed them of the impending eviction of the 5th that would be facilitated by the local Police.  We all agreed to meet with the unfortunate son of the former resident to support him and give the group a stark warning that we would not allow a continuance of their crime on our streets.

The occupants awoke to a big surprise on Monday as they were asked to leave.  They seemed bewildered and unprepared.  Usually after a court eviction the court bailiffs can take up to 12 weeks to evict illegal occupants.  this whole process took less than 3 weeks, a local record I am told and that because of the very cooperative Mayfield ward Safer Neighbourhood Police.

I brought my mini PA so that they could be told that their criminal activity would be watched by our road and a number of residents took pictures of the felons so that thy could be easily recognised in future.  We warn residents that they must be vigilant, it has been noted by many that the woman with the pushchairs are acting like finders, seeking empty properties and forecourt waste to be searched for valuable items.

They are all equipped with mobile phones and can force open a door in seconds.  We know this as the vacated property was locked and my brother in law agreed to stay last night, to look after the property.  The property has only an external toilet which was not accessible due the need to secure the damaged rear door. As a consequence when my brother in-law left the property to use our toilet a group of 3 men who must have been waiting for the opportunity, broke back into the property.  They did not know my wife Juliet was watching the property and another resident.  Both went out to approach the men who ran off on being seen. 

They then loitered with another 3 men at the top of my street until I led a group of 4 residents to meet with them, as emergency police failed to arrive despite regular calls to 999.  We had not intended violence only to warn them that the Police were on their way.  The men left before we reached them and we all sighed a breath of relief.  

I checked the property for tresspassers with the same group of four and after checking it was in good order, (except the missing lock) I returned home.  My wife placed my brother in-law in one of our vehicles, from here he could monitor the property in relative safety (unlocked home was vulnerable).  No more incidents occurred during the night and I will assume the criminals now know our community is both vigilant and aware of their deeds.

We will be reporting the children out of schools and young lad in the pictures- who has been drinking on the streets while underage -to the local truancy officer and social services.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Tell British Gas to: "Read the Meters!"

British Gas is demanding higher payments than are due.....instead of reading meters.

Let's campaign for HELP FOR PENSIONERS, THE ILL AND DISABLED who may not be able to get outside and down to meter-level, especially in the cold of winter.

Will you, your local councillor or MP join in asking British Gas to take on their responsibilities, read all outside meters, and rescind all bills where they have not bothered to read a meter which is located outside a property and fully accessible?

Miss. Jill Beeton from BRCASIG who met with us at our community meeting 1st December 2011, started the campaign which is now boroughwide, by speaking up at local community meetings trying to bring to councillors' and residents' attention matters related to the 200 pensioner deaths a day nationally during the winter; and her own idea for a campaign to go some way to help.  British Gas has been sending out estimated bills locally, and no doubt across the country, as it did last year: even where meters are outside and perfectly accessible to read if only the company bothered to ensure it was done!  

Miss. Beeton told of one bill last year where the estimated bill was three times the actual due, and another where the pensioner paid the £150 extra being demanded on top of what should have been the maximum due.  Yet this year the estimated bills have started again, and when she phoned British Gas to ask for a meter reading at one occupant's address the call centre operator said that he cannot do that!  She was not asking to discuss the bill, just for him to note it had not been read and that a meter reading needed to be taken before the occupier was billed.  So now reminders are coming out from British Gas for undue amounts, even where someone tries to get a correct reading, with British Gas threatening added costs on top! 

Getting people to do their own meter readings is simply not possible in many vulnerable people's circumstances.  As Miss. Beeton said, "Pensioners and the disabled cannot necessarily get outside, nor down to meter level!  There are plenty of people, elderly or with sight difficulties who could not read the numbering even if they could get to the meter." 

Jill asks, "Why should the elderly and vulnerable, those who are ill, injured or disabled, be asked to go outside in the cold over winter, and risk slipping and freezing to death in their own gardens, something which  unfortunately happened to some poor souls last winter?"  Why is British Gas not sending staff out, whether their own staff or contractors?  "The fuel companies simply should not be allowed to send out reminders where they have not read the outside meters in the first place!"

Surely Britsh Gas is in breach of the Equality Act 2010, by sending out demands and threats of extra costs when they have not even bothered to read an accessible outside meter?  In then not accepting a request that they do get someone to read an occupant's meter they are adding further failings, and unecessary inconvenience and stress to people who may be very vulnerable.

Will you ask your local councillor or MP to join in asking British Gas to take on their responsibilities, read all outside meters, and rescind all bills where they have not bothered to read a meter which is located outside a property and fully accessible?

Or contact British Gas themselves on Freephone:

0800 107 1211  
Mon - Fri 08:00 - 20:00 and Sat 08:00 - 18:00