SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.

 

The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018) http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/ilford-manager-will-put-up-more-england-flags-after-abusive-letters-1-5574492

IMAGE CREDIT: 

“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014) https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4099318

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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MINI MAYOR: Ilford boy becomes London’s first ‘children’s mayor’

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan beware, there’s a new kid on the block, and yes, he is actually a child. In a first for the city, London has witnessed the swearing into office (unofficially) of its first ‘children’s mayor’ – as part of a promotional campaign by a new kid-friendly theme park. Kishan Shah (no relation to the reporter), aged nine, and hailing from the upmarket Ilford suburb of Chigwell, has been elected mayor for youngsters with the help of children’s activity centre KidZania, his local newspaper the Ilford Recorder reported this past Thursday.

 

Shah beat off thousands of other entries and amazed judges at KidZania with his manifesto of improvements he would make to his city if he won. Among his manifesto pledges, Kishan suggested that people waiting in queues should be offered free fruit while they wait, the introduction of new clear signage for public water fountains, and helping children to interact with their new mayor via a suggestion box.

Kishan’s election was the result of a nationwide search by KidZania, an indoor theme park for children in west London, for a ‘KidZania London city mayor’ as part of their launch of a new annual pass that gives children unlimited access to their activity centre for twelve months. To celebrate Shah’s new ambassadorial role, KidZania will be giving his entire class a trip to their centre, a gold birthday party package for the new mayor himself, and even his own set of mayoral robes and keys to the KidZania City. Shah will also be the first recipient of the new KidZania yearly pass.

Kishan’s new job will be largely promoting KidZania activities, including the official opening of new attractions by the activity centre. The youngster was said to be thrilled at being chosen to be mayor, telling the Recorder: “I would make an excellent mayor as I am calm, friendly and approachable.

“I am also prepared to put in the hard work that being mayor would involve.”

Kishan’s mother Brijal added that the family were proud of their son winning the competition. She said: “He is an incredible boy with so much to give and I know he’ll do a brilliant job for KidZania”

The chief executive officer of KidZania London, Eddie Kemsley, also commented on the new mayor: “We received so many wonderful applications for the mayor position and we thank everyone for their efforts.

“However, there can only be one mayor and we are so happy for Kishan to come on board the KidZania London team.

“His personality really shone through in his application and we loved his ideas about introducing a mayor’s comment box in the city.

“We know he’ll be an enthusiastic voice for the people and we can’t wait for him to get started.”

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Chigwell boy with manifesto becomes newest children’s mayor in London” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (30 May 2018) http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/chigwell-boy-with-manifesto-becomes-newest-children-s-mayor-in-london-1-5541137

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:KidZania pilots thumbs up while playing in a cockpit simulator.jpg” – KidZania Mumbai, Wikimedia Commons (9 October 2017) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KidZania_pilots_thumbs_up_while_playing_in_a_cockpit_simulator.jpg