LONDON, 23rd September 2019 – The East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre hosted Dr Cevdet Yılmaz, current Deputy Chairman of the AK Party in Turkey and former Deputy Prime Minister.

The evening began with recitation of the Qur’an by Shaykh Mohammed Mahmoud, Senior Imam at the East London Mosque, followed by a welcome address by its chairman, Muhammad Habibur Rahman, who reminded a diverse audience of Muslim leaders of the importance of community engagement, listing the many ways the East London Mosque strives to serve the community, including the recent non-Muslim annual dinner and the Muslim Charity Run.

Abdurrahim Boynukalın, Chairman of the AK Party UK which launched recently, emphasised community engagement across ethnicities, which is one of the purposes of their new London office. Boynukalın is the former head of the AK Party Youth, a former MP in Istanbul and a Deputy Minister. He thanked the East London Mosque for the great work it does in reaching out and catering for all: “We are working here to be a part and parcel of the Muslim community, we want to better understand and appreciate the concerns, the challenges and opportunities for Muslims in Britain.”

The chief guest, Dr Cevdet Yılmaz, who is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey and a current Deputy Chairman of the AK Party, spoke of the “bond of Islam that transcends ethnicities and nationalities”. He highlighted, “as Muslims across the globe, we face persecution but we must find unity in our diversity, and work together against oppression.” He mentioned how far the AK Party has come since its inception to bring change in Turkey; from abolishing the ban on the headscarf, to giving greater accessibility to Islamic schools and curriculum.

He talked about the current challenges and issues faced by Turkey, including confronting terrorism, and finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis that will lead to a stable, unified Syria. He closed his speech by applauding the East London Mosque’s efforts in community engagement, with specific reference to its Archives project and the CPD-accredited Islam Awareness course.

After a short Q&A, guests enjoyed dinner before the evening came to a close with traditional Turkish tea.

(L–R) Abdurrahim Boynukalın (Chairman, AK Party UK), Dr Cevdet Yılmaz (Deputy Chairman, AK Party), Dilowar Khan (Director, ELM), Habibur Rahman (Chairman, ELM), Dr Abdul Bari (Trustee, ELM)