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Joan Ryan MP calls for recognition of Alevi community as All Party Parliamentary Group is launched

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Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP has called for a debate in Parliament to acknowledge the “positive contribution” the 300,000 strong Alevi community has made to the UK, on the day the All Party Parliamentary Group for Alevis was inaugurated.

Speaking on the floor of the House of Commons, in the morning of Thursday 3rd December, Ms Ryan also drew attention to the situation the community faces in Turkey, their country of origin, where “Alevis nor their religion are recognised.”

Later in the afternoon, Joan Ryan was joined by colleagues to launch the APPG for Alevis at a packed event in Parliament’s Jubilee Room. The meeting was attended by more than 150 representatives from the community, including Turkish MPs from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), İsrafil Erbil, the Chair of the British Alevi Federation, and many others.

Joan Ryan has been appointed Chair of the APPG. Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West), Catherine West MP (Hornsey and Wood Green), Meg Hillier MP (Hackney South and Shoreditch) and David Burrowes MP (Enfield Southgate) are Vice Chairs of the Group and Kate Osamor MP (Edmonton) is the Honorary Secretary.

The APPG for Alevis is the first of its kind for the community outside Turkey. The APPG will seek to promote Alevi issues in Parliament, engage with the community in Britain and elsewhere, as well as work with Alevis to help ensure that their legitimate, socio-political aspirations are recognised.

Joan Ryan MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Enfield North, said:

“The vibrant and fast growing Alevi community in the UK has made an immense contribution to our society and our economy.

I am proud of my long association with the Alevi community and the British Alevi Federation.

And, as the Chair of the newly formed APPG for Alevis, I look forward to working closely on many issues important to the community in the months and years ahead.”

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1. An APPG consists of Members from both Houses of Parliament who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. APPGs provide a valuable opportunity for parliamentarians to engage with individuals and organisations outside Parliament who share an interest in the subject matter of their group.

2. Please find the link to the video of Joan Ryan MP’s question on Alevis, during Business of the House questions, on Thursday 3rd December: http://goo.gl/p1gKyu

3. The link to the Hansard record of Joan Ryan MP’s question and the answer by the Leader of the House, Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP, can be found here (the transcript is also provided below): http://goo.gl/c1MmRa

Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): Later today, I will host the inaugural meeting of the all-party group for Alevis, Alevism being a philosophy, a religion and a social and cultural identity. Sadly, neither Alevis nor their religion are recognised in Turkey, their country of origin. May we have a debate in Government time on the positive contribution that more than 300,000 Alevis living in this country make to this country as well as about the situation under which they live in Turkey?

Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell) (Con): One of the fundamentals that characterises our society is the desire to defend the interests of religious minorities. We are a liberal democracy that believes in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of worship. I commend the right hon. Lady for the work that she is doing, and I am sure she will seek to use one of the occasions available to her in this House to provide a greater platform for the work she is doing with that all-party group and for the communities she is seeking to represent.

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