Young Muslim rapper rejects Downing Street Eid celebration invite over Theresa May's foreign policy and Grenfell tragedy

‘I’ve been deeply disappointed by your policies towards minorities and the vulnerable in our society,’ says Khaled Siddiq

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 19 June 2018 11:48
Muslim Rapper Khaled Siddiq fuses hip hop and faith to create an inclusive musical environment

A young Muslim rapper and a charity worker have both rejected formal invitations to celebrate Eid in Downing Street, citing opposition to Theresa May’s foreign policy.

Khaled Siddiq, whose Youtube page boasts more than 28 million views, said that while he was “honoured” to have received the invitation, he had been “deeply disappointed” by the prime minister’s “policies towards minorities and the vulnerable in our society”.

The 25-year-old, who also featured in a 2008 BBC documentary Boys Don’t Sing, posted on his Instagram account that it was unlikely he would have the opportunity to engage with Ms May on “any meaningful level” at the event on Monday afternoon.

“So prime minister, while I wish you nothing but good and success in leading our country, my management and I have decided to turn down your invitation,” he said.

“I’ve been deeply disappointed by your involvement in our foreign policy, your treatment over the Grenfell disaster and your policies towards minorities and the vulnerable in our society.”

He continued: “I respect my country, and in fact my faith commands me to honour my place of birth. It’s the country that gave me the opportunity to become someone recognisable enough to be invited to Downing Street.

“I also respect the decision of those who decide to go – I’m sure many of those have noble intentions. In conclusion, I’m grateful for the opportunity, but just as I said to Prevent when they approached me a couple of years ago, thanks, but no thanks.”

Madiha Raza, an activist and humanitarian aid worker, also told The Independent she had turned down the Downing Street invitation to mark the end of Ramadan.

“I’m not anti-political engagement,” she said. “I think it’s very important to engage in dialogue politically with things you do or don’t agree with. If it had been like a parliamentary conference or some kind of other event, then that would be different.

“I just think an Eid reception, in particular, for me would be quite hypocritical given that my day job is to pick up the pieces of the remnants of what the UK government does around the world.”

Ms Raza said there had also been “no satisfactory response” to allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party and the demand from the Muslim Council of Britain for an urgent inquiry into the issue.

“I cannot in good conscience bring myself to accept an invitation to celebrate Eid at 10 Downing Street on Monday, knowing that the Eid of children in countries like Yemen involved bombs, death and destruction supplied by the UK government,” she added on her Twitter account.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister is proud that Britain is home to people from diverse backgrounds. Last night’s Eid reception was an opportunity to recognise the contribution British Muslims make to this country and to bring communities together to connect with one another and mark this important festival.”

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