The Lady’s Not for Turning

A phrase most commonly associated with Margaret Thatcher – also dubbed by a Soviet journalist ‘the Iron Lady’ for her uncompromising politics and leadership style and political and economic policies that became known as Thatcherism. I would say one of my close friends is a Thatcherite.

I’ve wondered whether to share this story but partners in the project think it’s important – so here goes and I hope it shows admiration for my friend not disloyalty.

My friend in her words is politically and socially diametrically opposed to me or at least many of the things I believe in and care about. She would say she is anti-immigration including being wary of Muslims she has never met. That said I honestly couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend who has been there for me and my family in a range of challenging times.

This friend started following Recipes for Ramadan this year and is suddenly engaged in a way I probably only dreamt of, asking if she can sign up to do cooking classes with Fatimah Omran and the Shahrouk Sisters.

Fatimah Omran cooking.

My friend asked me this the same day that I read about a podcast called ‘Tell Them, I Am’ that Michelle and Barack Obama are supporting through their company Higher Ground Productions. It aims to amplify Muslim voices. “The goal is for people to feel something for them and to fall in love with the people they are listening to,” says presenter Pakistani-American Misha Euceph. That’s the goal of Recipes for Ramadan too. To share food and to invite others to hear Muslim stories and to fall in love.

Fatimah’s carrot and pistachio cake.

I’m inviting my friend to an iftar that an asylum seeker friend and I have been planning and Yes – we’ll be booking into Fatimah’s next cooking class and another with the Shahrouks.

Good stories have happy endings!

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