Leeds’ ‘cohesion held back’ by lack of funding

Lord Tariq Ahmed talks to women at the QED Foundation in Bradford. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Lord Tariq Ahmed talks to women at the QED Foundation in Bradford. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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Diverse parts of Leeds need more financial help to support projects which promote community relations, a minister was told yesterday.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, a Conservative member of the House of Lords and a junior minister, was in Leeds to meet community representatives.

During a visit to the Woodsley community centre in Hyde Park, Lord Ahmad was told about projects which promoted cohesion, including a cricket scheme for Muslim and Jewish players.

Qari Asim, imam at the Makkah Mosque, said the minister was interested in “self-help” projects which could be successful in times of austerity.

Mr Asim said Lord Ahmad was told that extra help was needed to help European immigrants settle in Leeds,

“A lack of funding for projects was a theme that ran through the meeting,” said Mr Asim.

Also discussed were the situations in Iraq, Syria and Palestine and issues around the child sexual exploitation.

Lord Ahmad also visited the QED Foundation in Bradford to hear about the Quest for Integration Yorkshire project which is helping migrant women to settle in the local area.

Dr Mohammed Ali, of QED, said that “positive action around integration is crucial at this time of increased Islamophobia.”

Lord Ahmad said the QED project ensured Muslim women “become a valuable asset with a positive contribution to British society.”