Un International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:08 pm on 8th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 8:08 pm, 8th April 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. We live in the age of the false ideology of hate. We all experience it as Members of Parliament. It is clearly and utterly unacceptable.

Let me reflect on these words of Martin Luther King:

“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be...this is the interrelated structure of reality…all mankind is tied together…in a single garment of destiny.”

Those are inspiring words and thoughts.

May I conclude my brief remarks with reference to the experience that we have had in the Stirling constituency when it comes to embracing those who are different—and thank goodness for it? Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Islamic centre in Stirling with the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend Guy Opperman, and we had the opportunity to speak to those who had gathered for Friday prayers. It was inspirational for me and my hon. Friend to be present.

It brought to mind an experience I had some time ago when an imam shared with me this simple idea: as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers of a single type is, how much more beautiful is a bouquet of many varieties of flower? That is the vision of our society that I hold on to. In front of me in the Islamic centre in Stirling were stalwarts of our community. They run successful businesses and play a very active part in all aspects of the life of the various communities that make up the Stirling constituency. I am proud of them. Undoubtedly, to echo the sentiment of the hon. Member for Warrington South, they are part of us and we are part of them; we belong together; our home is their home and their home is our home.

I will conclude with a brief reference to the enrichment that comes through the arrival in Stirling every year of a fresh group of international students. They come from various countries, traditions and faiths, bringing colour and vibrancy to Stirling. Our lives are enriched by what they bring to our community. That is the nature of our society in modern Britain. We should rejoice in that. I invite the House to rejoice in those differences, because they make us what we are.