David Mackintosh MP has issued a rallying call for communities in Northampton and beyond to come together in a show of unity and celebrate their diversity.
Speaking at a meeting of the Northamptonshire branch of the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh (CFOB), he urged communities to think about how they can work together for the good of their area.
The Conservative MP for Northampton South, who joined more than 30 members of the Bangladeshi community at Saffron in Castilian Street on Thursday to break their fast during Ramadan, said the country as a whole faced some ‘big decisions’ in the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union.
He added: “Ramadan is a time for peace and reflection and I think we could all do with a bit of peace and reflection at the moment.
“We’ve been through a very busy time as a country and I know it has affected all our communities. Now it’s time for us to come together and to reach across all those communities and think about our future collectively.
“We should celebrate the diversity we have in our communities, particularly here in Northampton, and I am very grateful for all the positivity that the Bangladeshi community brings. I know that the spirit of Bangladesh is alive and well here in Northampton.”
Naz Islam, chairman of the Northamptonshire branch of the CFOB, said it was vital communities continued to integrate and respect different cultures.
He added: “It’s a difficult period for the whole country, there’s a sense of nervousness about what’s around the corner and nobody really knows what is going to happen.
“We have already seen a rise in reported hate crimes and we need to ensure that is stamped out immediately. All our communities should be able to live together harmoniously, there is no excuse for racism and a referendum result does not legitimise it in any way.”
The meeting saw dozens of Northampton’s Bangladeshi community come together for ‘iftar’ – the meal which breaks the daily fast of Muslims during Ramadan.