Redbridge’s Iranian community come to the fore

“THEY’RE hiding in their shells,” says Iranian-born Peggy Cassalli as she talks about her strategy to bring to the fore an untapped Redbridge community.

The 60-year-old says friends have been “amazed” by the number of Iranians found to be living in the borough since she established the UK Iranian Cultural Society at the beginning of the year.

The mum-of-four, of Leyswood Drive, Newbury Park, wants to bring Iranian culture to the masses, and dispel the myths and stereotypes which plague the nation.

“Ayatollah, Ahmadinejad, stoning, beating, terrorism, that’s what people think about Iran,” said Mrs Cassalli.

“But it’s a beautiful country with lots of culture.

“We need to show them what it’s about.”

The society has more than 40 members, and its chairman Mrs Cassalli is full of ideas of how to bring out Redbridge’s Iranian side.

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She said: “I want to show the culture to non-Iranians and help people to interact. People hear all these bad things but we have tradition and something to offer.”

One idea under discussion is to set up a school to teach young people and adults Farsi – the most widely spoken Persian language.

Ideas for an exhibition showcasing Iranian culture at Redbridge Museum, Clements Road, Ilford, area also being discussed.

Mrs Cassalli, who moved to the UK 40 years ago, said: “Nobody even knows they’re living here. I’ve had the idea to set up a cultural society for years. Now was the right time to do it.

“It’s something I’m very passionate about and I’m open to ideas.”

To contact the society, call 07960 582 168.

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