"It is always such a privilege to attend the annual Alevi Festival - one of the most important dates in the British Alevi calendar. The events held around the country, concluding with the celebration of Alevi culture at Hackney Downs Park in London, on Sunday 12th June, are a wonderful showcase for the fantastic contribution the 300,000 strong Alevi community makes to our way of life here in the UK.
Now in its sixth year, the festival continues to grow in popularity. This will be my third time at Hackney Downs Park and I know that it will be a great occasion filled with music, dancing, fun and great food!
The festival also provides an important opportunity to reflect upon the situation faced by the community in Turkey where Alevis nor their religion are recognised.
It was as a means to raise greater awareness of these issues, and to support the Alevi community in Parliament, that I and fellow parliamentarians came together to form the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Alevis last December. As a group our aim is to:
_‘ensure that British Alevis are represented in Parliament by giving them a platform to express their legitimate socio-political aspirations, ensuring that they achieve the recognition for their rights and religion in Britain, Turkey and elsewhere.’_
Since the APPG was established, we have organised events and panel discussions in Parliament on important Alevi issues.
As the Chair of the APPG, I look forward to continuing our work with the community in the months and years ahead, and the Group as a whole is a proud supporter of the 2016 Alevi Festival.
I hope everyone has a fantastic time over the week of festivities and I look forward to meeting old and new friends alike on Sunday 12th June."
RT. HON JOAN RYAN MP
LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR ENFIELD NORTH
CHAIR, ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP FOR ALEVIS