On Wednesday 16 March a party of nine boys and five adults set off from Minhaj-ul-Quran London in Romford Road, Illford, London for the House of Commons. They were heading to meet local MP Stephen Timms so that the boys could present him with a very colourful and evocative picture. 14 boys aged between 6 and 14 collaborated on the painting in the course of the Minhaj art class.
The theme of the picture had been chosen by Mr Stephen Timms MP for Newham: he picked the story of Prophet Yusuf PBUH and Aziz e Misr (Firaun) as his subject because it occurs in both the Quran and the Old Testament. Yusuf - or Joseph as he is called in the Bible - held a special significance for him, he said, because faith had sustained Joseph through his trials and then his later success. Many people had warned Stephen Timms that faith and politics do not mix, but he believes the contrary to be true.
The party was entertained in Mr Timms’ office overlooking the Thames in what used to be the old Scotland Yard building, haunt of Sherlock Holmes. The MP seemed genuinely pleased by the painting: he asked each boy about his contribution and showed exactly where he would hang it, replacing a dull electoral map.
Mr Timms had to make a short dash in the middle of the meeting to vote on the new NHS bill in the House of Commons chamber. It brought to life the parliamentary process which Siar Painda, one of the boys, memorably described as a kind of ping pong between Commons and Lords. Ms Allegra Owen (an Oxford graduate and ex-wife of Boris Jonson Mayor of London) who is the Art Teacher at Minhaj-ul-Quran London for past five years was also present at the House of Common. Amongst the other member of Minhaj-ul-Quran London were present , Mr Sajid Hussain, Mr Usman Ghani, Mr Ali Khan, Mr Baber Javed Butt.