Posts Tagged ‘Balsall Heath’

Roger Godsiff fails to turn up at community husting

Balsall Heath in carnival mood

Salma Yaqoob at the Balsall Heath Carnival (Photo courtesy of Paulo Riddle)

Salma Yaqoob at the Balsall Heath Carnival (Photo courtesy of Paulo Riddle)

Birmingham Sparkbrook councillor Salma Yaqoob joined hundreds of carnival revellers in this years Balsall Heath Carnival.

There were a wide array of stalls on display including Balsall Heath Local History Society. If you missed it this year, make sure you don’t next year!

More information and pictures here.

Midlands: Gaza events this week

EVENT: Public Meeting: Aid Gaza! Boycott Israel
SPEAKERS: Respect Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq, Ray Gaston
VENUE: St Andrews Methodist Church, Pump Street [off High Street], Worcester
DATE: Tuesday 27th January 2009 | TIME: 7.30pm
CONTACT: 07966866837

INFO: Jointly organised by Worcestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Worcester Stop the War Coalition, Worcester Palestine Group.
Facebook event page:


EVENT: Building Real and Lasting Links with Palestine
VENUE: Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1
DATE: Wednesday 28th January | TIME: 7.00pm

INFO: The Birmingham-Ramallah Twinning Initiative is hosting a practical public meeting on how to build grass root links with Palestine. Find out how you can help.
Facebook event page:


GAZA EVENT: Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Keeping up the pressure for Gaza and Palestine…
VENUE: Muslim Student Institute, Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, United Kingdom
DATE: 29th January 2009 | TIME: 7.00pm
CONTACT: 07812172885

INFO: Continuing the pressure on the Israeli state for the massacre in Gaza and the daily war crimes committed in Palestine, the next step is a meeting to establish a stronger and broader Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.
Convened by Stop the War Coalition, Salma Yaqoob, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Association of Britain.
Facebook event page:

Salma Yaqoob’s Christmas Commitments

Salma Yaqoob and residents sing Christmas carols in Sparkbrook, Birmingham

Salma Yaqoob and residents sing Christmas carols in Sparkbrook, Birmingham

Birmingham’s Cllr Salma Yaqoob spent the week before Christmas out carol singing and delivering hampers to the needy – and hopes it will inspire others to seek out new ways to create a more united community.

“I went out carol singing [18th Dec] to some of our local old people’s homes in the ward on Thursday evening! Some people may think it is odd as I am a Muslim so let me explain. Firstly, Muslims do believe in the Virgin Birth, and indeed view Jesus as a Messiah, so many of the carols are relevant, and I can genuinely share in some of the spiritual significance of Christmas. Theology aside, however, it was just a wonderful experience to see the genuine happiness that such a small act brought to some of our elderly residents.

“There was a group of us – some from Balsall Heath Forum, some from local churches, as well as some other Muslims. I took my eldest son Hamza with me, and really enjoyed seeing how he was touched by the responses of many of the residents who shook his hand and had tears in their eyes (although he did point out that could have been because of my bad singing!)

“I do have to point out though that as Muslims are strictly ‘monotheistic’ – believing in the Unity of God – I had the delicate job of ensuring Hamza and I avoided singing anything which contradicted this, resulting in some uneven singing! Upon such details are interfaith experiences built…
Overall though it was a lovely, genuinely uplifting evening, and I would highly recommend it!”

On the evening of 17th December, Cllr Yaqoob was invited to the Institute of Asian Businesses‘ End of Year dinner at Sher Khan’s in Star City, Birmingham, describing the event as “a good opportunity to network as well as to meet a few old friends”.

Salma explained she was struck by the number of businesses approaching her concerning raids on their shops in relation to the possible employment of illegal immigrants.

“They were concerned about the aggressive and frequent manner in which this was happening, saying they understood that the police have a job to do, but that they could do the same job in a more subtle way. For example, in one raid twenty officers turned up, and closed the shutters down just to check which staff worked there (nothing illegal was found). Observers may well have thought a terror raid was happening, and it could impact on the reputation of the business. I shall certainly be taking up this issue, as clearly it is causing a lot of distress,” she said.

Cllr Salma Yaqoob delivers Christmas hampers in Birmingham

Cllr Salma Yaqoob delivers Christmas hampers in Birmingham

Earlier thet day, Salma joined Balsall Heath Forum wardens who were delivering Christmas hampers for elderly people in the area. Over 100 vulnerable residents had been identified and were being visited over the Christmas period.

The food for the hampers was gathered by local schools, Ombersley Road Mosque and local church groups.

Of the effort, Salma explained: “One of the things I love about my job is seeing how the community comes together, and the difference being made. The banter and camaraderie in putting the hampers together, delivering, talking to residents is great!

“One elderly black lady questioned Abdullah, who works as a warden and is Asian; ‘Why are you giving me this when I’m not one of yours?’ He replied: ‘But you are one of ours!’ She broke down in tears and gave him a big hug. This simple exchange is not the kind of thing you see in the scaremongering headlines, but is certainly the stuff that makes me proud to me a Brummie!”

Salma Yaqoob campaigns to save Birmingham’s Friends Institute

Salma Yaqoob Friends Institute protest

Salma Yaqoob heads the campaign to save the Friends Institute

Salma Yaqoob is currently defending and campaigning to save the Friends Institute in Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, against hypocritical Birmingham City Council plans to close the establishment amid claims of financial trouble, despite recently spending £8,000 to resurface the building’s car park.

Please read all of the following news stories:

Boost to City Living – 09.10.08 (Neil Elkes, Birmingham Mail)

Reprieve for Friends Institute in Balsall Heath – 26.09.08 (Jasbir Authi, Birmingham Mail)

Friends not Friends – 25.09.08 (The Stirrer)

Friends debacle has proved a shabby episode – 19.09.08 (Post Comment, Birmingham Post)

Anger at near-certain closure of Institute – 19.09.08 (Birmingham Mail)

Birmingham City Council wants to sell Friends Institute – 18.09.08 (Paul Dale, Birmingham Post)

Salma Yaqoob is defending the Friends Institute

Salma Yaqoob is defending the Friends Institute

Fight goes on to save a Friend to our city – 17.09.08 (Letters to the editor ‘Salma Yaqoob’, Birmingham Post)

Row over Friend’s Institute car park cash – 17.09.08 (Birmingham Mail)

Friends Institute boiler ‘can be repaired’ says council – 07.09.08 (Paul Dale, Birmingham Post)

Benefactor needed to save Friends Institute Building – 03.09.08 (Paul Dale, Birmingham Post)

Campaign launched to save Friends Institute in Birmingham – 01.09.08 (Paul Dale, Birmingham Post)

Join the ‘Friends of Friends’ facebook group here.