Monday, 11 January 2010
Cymru Fydd and the Muslim Vote
Muslims have existed as settled communities in Wales for at least 150 years, although one of the earliest recorded connections between Wales and the ‘Muslim world’ dates back to the early 12th Century. A Muslim prisoner called Lalys was brought back to Wales by Richard de Grandville of England, following the military campaigns in Spain and the Holy Land. In 1129, De Grandville had Lalys design the abbey of Neath in South Wales.
Can the Muslim vote make a difference?
There are now nearly 40 mosques and Islamic centres across Wales serving an estimated Muslim population of approximately 30,000. Muslims of Pakistani origin currently make up the majority of Muslims in Wales and are mostly settled in Cardiff and Newport.
A Council for Mosques and Muslim associations in Wales was established at the turn of the Millennium and many other organisations have been set up around Wales by Muslims to support a variety of social needs, including two faith-based Muslim primary schools in the Capital.
Muslims for Plaid:
Muslims for Plaid began as an idea amongst a couple of Muslim members of Plaid Cymru in Swansea. We felt that Plaid Cymru was a party putting the people of Wales first - ALL its people.
As Welsh Muslims we had been impressed by the principled stance the party had taken against the invasions and Afghanistan and Iraq at a time when those who supported the wars were congratulating themselves on what they believed would be a quick and efficient campaign that would bring peace and stability to the region with minimal civilian casualties. How wrong they were. The horrendous loss of life and chaos into which the countries quickly descended showed the manifest error of the politicians in Westminster, trading the 20/20 foresight of Plaid Cymru for the 20/20 hindsight that commentators now view the decision to go to war.
The nucleus of a Muslims for Plaid campaigning group was forming and felt that the attention of Muslim communities should be drawn to the stance that Plaid Cymru had taken on numerous issues of peace and justice over the years, issues that on many occasions were directly related to parts of the world that Welsh Muslims care passionately about. We decided that a working group was needed under the Equality Section of Plaid, as a vehicle to facilitate two-way communication between the Party and the Muslim community in Wales. It was envisaged that this working group, as yet without a name, would help to communicate Plaid’s existing policies to the Muslim community and provide the Muslim community with an opportunity to give input into future policies.
Commment: Moh. Asgher is best forgotten, as he will be...but Labour has largely lost the Muslim vote and the Tories, despite their overtures, will find it a struggle to win it, with their militaristic policies...Trident etc..
As we have stated before, identity with a nation does not depend upon the place of birth or necessarily being of Welsh descent, but primarily of allegiance....involving love of the culture, the way of life, the red dragon flag of Wales and the national institutions, past and present.