Not In Our Name

Not In Our Name Community Event

Introduction
This event was held as part of the Not in Our Name set of conferences across the Borough and which is supported by the Safer and Stronger Communities Board in Enfield. The event was aimed at Turkish speaking communities and was held in Edmonton at the end of the third week in January and in partnership with Suna Karakurt.
Approximately 43 people attended the event and there was a mixture of Turkish and Kurdish communities that attended and there was a 60:40 female to male ratio. The session was broken up along the following lines:

  • Introductions and objectives of the mini-conference (looking at the achievement of Turkish speaking communities, issues that were affecting them, faith as a mechanism against extremism etc).
  • Discussing personal experiences and examples of getting communities to work together and to understand each other’s perspectives.
  • Understanding the need for strong cohesion on which resilience building may take place against extremism and violent extremism.

It must be noted that a prayer by an Imam started the session and a translation was also provided for the non-Turkish speaking individuals.

Key Responses of the Group
There were personal reflections on the impacts that international conflicts had, though there it was strongly re-enforced that the dynamics and the politics of the UK is significantly different and based on peaceful social and political discourse. Finding the ‘middle way’ of resolving difficult issues was also discussed in detail and this was also reflected back onto the way that the Ottoman Empire in Turkey undertook diplomatic negotiations to find ‘a common path.’

There was also much talk about a lack of aspiration and hope particularly with Turkish speaking young men and the impacts on the home environment. Faith and Islam were used as examples of motivators which enabled people to feel empowered and to take charge of their lives. This also led to some women talking about how faith had generated new paths for them around working to support their local friends and neighbours.

Speakers also looked at the commonality of faiths and the need to look at narratives that brought faiths together. The Our Faiths and Our Shared Futures project was mentioned by Faith Matters staff as an example of faith leaders coming together to utilise key scriptural strengths in faiths and to put them into practice so that cohesion and resilience building can be enhanced.

Finally, some elements around the demographics of young men arrested within terrorist related incidences were discussed and the role of women in countering extremism was highlighted by Suna Karakurt. She talked about her experiences of seeing attacks in Bosnia and the Middle East and the role of mothers in trying to promote positive influences on their young sons at times when geopolitical conflicts threatened to engulf regions. She also talked about the need for Turkish speaking women to empower themselves and she is somewhat of a role model for them.

Key Outcomes
There is a need to:

  • Hold a larger conference for the Turkish speaking communities since there are issues of cohesion and citizenship that continuously show up in discussions. Turkish speaking participants still feel that they are not really active and participant members of local areas in London and the UK and that families are still in the ‘limbo’ of thinking that they will be going home soon – home in this case being Turkey.
  • Look at the gender specific issues affecting Turkish speaking women particularly around employment, ESOL provision, how to work with statutory authorities etc. This sense of exclusion certainly helps no-one.
  • Set up programmes that help Turkish speaking young people through diversionary activities after school or during early evenings. This is the time when some of them are most vulnerable to negative and damaging influences and this was raised by some of the women participants.
  • Religion is seen as a sense of empowerment by the participants. Understanding the true nature of Islam and its ability to inspire acts of social justice was also a theme of the discussions.