Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
My Lords, first, I join with the noble Lord and I am sure I speak for all noble Lords when I say that we were all appalled by the events that took place in Colombo, with worshippers and people who were enjoying a holiday being attacked. It shows again the importance of unity in standing up to those extremists and terrorists who seek to divide us. We have experienced it here in the United Kingdom, and it is tragic that this is a worldwide scourge which we need to unify against.
On the noble Lord’s specific questions, we continue to work very closely with the diaspora communities here in the UK as well as the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The noble Lord will know that I am a member of that community; I have been working very closely with it and identifying its concerns. The situation for the refugees is very dire at the moment—indeed, they are taking refuge in a police station, a centre and an Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque in Colombo. I have raised these questions directly with the high commissioner and she has assured me of her co-operation.
I will share a poignant moment, if I may. The noble Lord talked about multifaith organisations. On Sunday, I attended such an occasion in a church near me in Putney: the high commissioner and the deputy lieutenant were present, and it was very poignant to hear readings from Christian communities and representatives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, who reflected on the need to stand up against those who seek to divide us, and prayers for those who have passed in these attacks.