Socialist Worker

Stoke shows what happens when Nazis gain a foothold

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2117

Stoke resident Habib Khan was handed an eight year jail sentence last week for the manslaughter of British National Party (BNP) activist Keith Brown, his next door neighbour and a hardened Nazi thug.

The BNP is trying to present Brown, 52, as a “white martyr” and a “victim of Islamic jihad against Great Britain”.

The truth is that Brown and his son Ashley Barker, 20, subjected Khan, 50, and his family to years of racist harassment and violent abuse.

The Khan family were called “pakis” and their windows were smashed nearly every other day.

They had a panic button installed after one particularly vicious incident in which Barker – who is also an active member of the Nazi BNP—beat Habib Khan to unconsciousness.

Barker was convicted of assault last year.

On the day Brown died he was physically attacking Khan’s son, Khazir Saddique, 27, outside his home.

Khan saw Brown holding his son by the throat, grabbed a kitchen knife and went outside to protect his son. In the ensuing fracas, Brown was fatally stabbed.

Earlier this year a jury found Khan not guilty of Brown’s murder on grounds of lack of intent.

The judge, Simon Tonking, noted that “despite denials to the contrary, both Mr Brown and his son Ashley Barker were involved in acts of racial aggression towards members of Mr Khan’s family”.

The BNP now plans to hold a rally in the city on Saturday 20 September.

Stoke BNP councillor Michael Coleman spoke of “400 members turning up to give out leaflets” at the rally, which will take place at a “central location in Stoke-on-Trent” and be addressed by BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Earlier this year, Griffin pledged to use the rally to launch a national campaign of race hatred against Muslims.

In response the North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against Fascism have launched a unity statement that condemns the BNP as a fascist organisation dedicated to whipping up racism and division in Stoke.

Local people opposed to the BNP are planning a counter-protest against the fascists on the day, with a major anti-fascist rally in the city a few weeks later.

A delegation of local trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners will protest at the BNP march itself.

The BNP has nine councillors in Stoke and hopes to snatch the post of city mayor when it comes up for election next May.

It has steadily built up a base in areas of the city by posing as a “respectable” organisation and capitalising on widespread disillusion with New Labour.

lRotherham will host a Love Music Hate Racism “indoor carnival” at the Magna Centre this Saturday featuring The Kaiser Chiefs, Roll Deep, Reverend & the Makers and The Courteeners, among others.

The Rotherham gig follows two successful anti-fascist concerts held last Saturday in Hull and Liverpool.

For more details go to » www.lovemusichateracism.comand »

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Article information

Tue 2 Sep 2008, 18:37 BST
Issue No. 2117
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