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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:56 pm on 30th March 2009.

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Photo of Michael Jabez Foster Michael Jabez Foster Labour, Hastings and Rye 8:56 pm, 30th March 2009

It is right that in Hastings, Sierra Leone, and Sierra Leone generally, there is a two-faith society, Christian and Muslim. What impressed me was that, in all their public affairs, both the Muslims and the Christians are part of the show. I asked why it was that they got on so well, and a Roman Catholic priest made it clear that it was down to respect. That might be something we can learn from.

This face-to-face, town-to-town, school-to-school contact is so different from putting money in a box, and as I said at the beginning, every pound raised goes to the purpose, and it goes with love. It so happens that Hastings UK is one of the poorest towns in Britain—indeed, it is among the 30 poorest—and thus we appreciate that the cash we can offer will always be limited. But as Mr. Kamara, the head teacher of the Kankaylay Islamic school, said on the recent visit,

"no help is too small to make an impact on rebuilding hope".

We certainly hope that our small contribution will make a difference to our fellow world citizens in Hastings, Sierra Leone, and I commend the twinning concept to all.

If anyone feels enthused to join in the celebration, we in Hastings UK can offer barn dances, and on 4 July there will be a town-wide sing-song in Alexandra park, to which all are welcome.

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