Socialist Worker

Gloucester anger over Sajid Badat arrest

Issue No. 1880

OVER 600 people, mostly local Muslims, turned up to try and get into a packed meeting in Gloucester on Monday evening. Only 400 could fit into the hall.

The meeting followed the arrest of Sajid Badat in the town last week after a massive police operation.

There is a real feeling of a community under siege among Muslims in Gloucester. The biggest focus of anger at the meeting was against New Labour's home secretary David Blunkett, who had decided that Sajid Badat was guilty even before he had been charged with anything.

When I spoke on behalf of Gloucester Stop the War Coalition, calling for Blunkett to go, the hall erupted in support and a succession of speakers took up the call.

A leaflet we had prepared for the meeting was eagerly taken. We argued that 'the government is desperately trying to portray Muslims as the 'enemy within'. How long before they create a Muslim Birmingham Six or Guildford Four?'

And we argued, 'We don't know whether charges will be pressed against Sajid Badat. What we do know is that Blunkett and the press have made outrageous statements designed to strike fear into the general population and isolate the Muslim community.' He should go now.

PHIL JONES, Gloucester Stop the War Coalition

Filthy arms deal

NEW LABOUR is signing new arms deals with Saudi Arabia, which taxpayers in Britain will pay for if the Saudi royal family lose power.

The arms sales are the latest under the lucrative Al Yamamah deals, which began under Thatcher's Tory government in 1985.

The arms firm BAe Systems is providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East. The deal is reportedly worth £2.7 billion.

Defence secretary Geoff Hoon backed the exports credit guarantee department signing for the project. That means, if Saudi Arabia defaults on the bill, New Labour will make taxpayers pick up the tab.

'There's no justice'

TWO PEOPLE were found guilty last week of the manslaughter of a 15 year old member of a traveller family.

John Delaney, aged 15, had tried to flee from the gang who attacked him in Ellesmere Port, near Liverpool. But he tripped and fell.

Two of them said John was 'only a fucking Gypsy' as they stamped on his head. Yet the judge claimed there was not a racial motive for the killing.

'There is no justice here,' said John's father. 'They were kicking my son like a football. Are they going to let this happen to another Gypsy?'

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Sat 6 Dec 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1880
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.