Archive for September, 2009

Red Ken condems mosque protest in “return to 1930s” panic

September 11, 2009

Ken Livingstone condemns anti-Muslim protest in Harrow and warns of ‘return to the 1930s’

Ken Livingstone, chair of Unite Against Fascism and former mayor of London, spoke out today against the anti-Muslim rally called by far right organisations outside Harrow Central Mosque this Friday. Livingstone said:

“If anyone were to call a demonstration outside a synagogue or church, this would rightly provoke a national outcry. There should be exactly the same response from the government, politicians, all religious faiths and the media to the call for a demonstration outside a mosque. The only possible meaning of this event is a protest against Muslims and Islam – a religion followed by more than a billion people in the world.

“People should wake up to the fact the protests outside mosques are taking us back to the fascism of the 1930s when fascist thugs marched against Jews and their places of worship. This demonstration should be condemned and banned on the grounds of blatant religious discrimination and a threat to public order.”

The anti-Muslim protest has been called by groups such as the BNP-linked “English Defence League” – which ran riot in Birmingham last weekend, throwing bottles at Asians and making Nazi ‘sieg heil’ salutes – and “Stop the Islamisation of Europe”, which declares that it is against all Muslims and all forms of Islam. They are calling their protest on the anniversary of the 9/11 in an attempt to whip up hatred against all Muslims by falsely branding them as terrorist sympathisers.

Unite Against Fascism has called a vigil and rally to defend the mosque from these anti-Muslim bigots. Speakers at the rally include Tony McNulty, MP for Harrow East, and Navin Shah, the London Assembly member for Brent & Harrow. The anti-racist vigil is backed by a variety of local community organisations and trade unions.

Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said: “Nobody should be fooled by the bigots when they claim that they are ‘not racist’ or ‘peaceful’. They are here for one simple purpose: to intimidate and abuse the Muslim community. Back in the 1970s the National Front would march through black areas on the pretext of opposing ‘mugging’. Today the racists and fascists use opposition to ‘Islamic extremism’ in the same way.

“We all have a duty to show solidarity with Muslims in the face of these racist provocations. We will bring together people from all of Harrow’s different communities to send a clear message to the racists: we will defend our multiracial and multicultural society – and anti-Muslim bigots are not welcome here.”

UAF press release, 10 September 2009

“If anyone were to call a demonstration outside a synagogue or church, this would rightly provoke a national outcry.”

Maybe. But possibly not from Left-wingers like Ken Livingstone.

What about a protest outside a church over alleged Catholic Church abuses of children?

Or how about a protest outside a synagogue that is known for supporting Israel’s attacks on Palestine?

Would Ken and his fellow socialists condem that and call for those protests to be banned?

It’s doubtful.

Of course protesting outside churches and synagogues would be pointless as it would fail to offer any real soloutions to those issues.

To suggest a handful of skinhead brainless idiots protesting outside a mosque over something they really do not understand is evidence of a return to 1930s style Nazism is ridiculous.




Protest against Stop Islamification Of Europe protest

September 10, 2009

UAF appeal: ‘Defend Harrow Central Mosque from anti-Muslim racists’

Defend Harrow Central Mosque from anti-Muslim racists
assemble 4pm, Friday 11 September, Harrow Civic Centre

Speakers include: Tony McNulty MP, London assembly member Navin Shah, NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear, Jo Lang from Harrow Teachers Association, Unite convenor and bus worker Abdul Omer Mohsin, Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism

>>> download the leaflet HERE
>>> download the poster HERE

Racist bigots including the BNP-linked English Defence League and “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” are planning on holding an anti-Muslim protest outside Harrow Central Mosque on the evening of Friday 11 September. Unite Against Fascism has called a solidarity vigil in response to defend the mosque from racists and fascists.

We are calling on everyone in London who opposes the racists and wants to stand up for Harrow’s multicultural and multiracial society to assemble on Friday at 4pm outside Harrow Civic Centre on Station Road, just north of the junction with Rosslyn Crescent (postcode HA1 2UA, nearest tube Harrow & Wealdstone). Please bring union banners.

The vigil starts at 1.30pm, so please get there earlier if you can. We want a dignified but determined demonstration that will show the racists that they are not welcome in Harrow. There will be a public rally with speakers starting at around 6pm.

Click to read more …

Instead of pointless protesting and placard waving it would be better to examine and challenge excactly what SIOE is protesting about.

What do they mean when they say the “Islamification” of Europe? Does mosques being built in European countries show that Islam is “taking over”?

Taking those views on board and producing counter arguments would be far more effective than shouting, placard waving and calling for the police to ban these protests.
.Inciedentally we’ve noticed, with some humour the Socialist Worker complaining this week that the police did nothing to stop the EDL protestors from hurling bottles and violently abusing Asian people in the street.

The Socialist Worker is very vocal in it’s view that the police are all “fascist pigs” and the very idea of law and order is oppresive and there to “uphold the property of the rich.”

Yet now they are clamouring for the police to act.

It seems the police are good for something when it’s people the Socialist Worker want nicked.

Anti-Muslim demo violence

September 6, 2009

EDL’s anti-Muslim provocation results in violent clashes in Birmingham

Officers were trying today to identify more people involved in violent scenes at a right-wing protest which resulted in dozens of arrests.

More than 30 people were arrested in Birmingham city centre yesterday when anti-fascist campaigners fought with supporters of a rally against Islamic fundamentalism by The English Defence League (EDL).

The disorder involved around 200 people and spilled on to the adjoining Bennetts Hill, a street lined with a number of pubs popular with shoppers. West Midlands Police said a group of more than 20 men were arrested on a bus in Digbeth High Street. Later a “significant” number of people were also detained from buses that left the Bennetts Hill area. They were taken into custody at stations across the city.

Earlier this week the force, along with Birmingham City Council, obtained an order from the Home Secretary banning protesters from the Bullring area of the city, under section 14a of the Public Order Act. Under the same legislation, Chief Constable Chris Sims passed an order restricting the protests to two locations – Lancaster Circus and Old Square.

But after meeting on Broad Street in the city’s entertainment district, demonstrators proceeded to New Street, around half a mile away, and trouble ensued.

Mail on Sunday, 6 September 2009

More than 30 arrests, countless innocent citizens terrorised, dozens of traders facing drastically reduced takings. The grim statistics of another visit to Birmingham by the English Defence League on a day the police promised would be “business as usual”. Still, at least the democratic right to protest has been upheld. But for who?

Although the EDL’s leaders insist the target of their venom is only Islamic extremism, that message clearly didn’t get through to all their followers. Hence the banners saying “No More Mosques” being paraded around the city centre.

A leaflet handed out by the group deliberately blurred the line between “fundamentalist” and ordinary Muslims. It said, “Islam is a threat to us all. Don’t let this oppressive religion go unchallenged. Time to make stand”. Are these the words of a group which deserves to have an unprecedented police operation deployed to preserve their free speech?

David Hughes wrote on The Stirrer Forum, “About 50 to 60 EDL supporters attacked some Asian youths by throwing glasses and beer bottles at the top end of New St. The EDL supporters emerged out of an alleyway throwing abuse, beer bottles and glasses. They were aiming at Asian youths and bystanders who had gathered at the junction of Bennetts Hill and New St.”

This account was confirmed by others in the vicinity, giving the lie to the claim that the EDL supporters were simply innocent protestors targeted by extremists from the other side of the political fence.

We must get away from this notion (forcibly promoted by the BBC and the police among others) that there are two equal groups of extremists at work here. It’s simply not true.

There is a group – the English Defence League – who are abusing their right to free speech by coming into a diverse, multicultural city to stir up hatred, and they are, quite understandably, meeting resistance from those who feel under threat from their message. Should we condone this violent resistance? No. Can we understand it? Of course we can.

And if the police continue to peddle the line that there’s nowt else they can do, all their hard work to promote community cohesion will come to nought.

The Stirrer, 6 September 2009

What’s clear is that anti-fascists (are the EDL really a fascist group? It’s debatable even with the alleged links with the BNP)  and anti-racist campaigners have no arguments to debunk the paranoia of the EDL and much of their opposition relies souly on shouty shout protests which often result in violent clashes like this.