Socialist Worker

Packed meeting to defend multiculturalism

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2242

On Wednesday over 260 people packed into a meeting to oppose David Cameron’s recent attack on multiculturalism and Muslims.

The meeting followed the launch of a petition to defend multiculturalism that has been signed by over 5,500 people.

The audience reflected the diversity of the speakers. People from all backgrounds came together to, in the words of joint chair and author Hassan Mahamadallie, “defend and extend our society and the rights we enjoy.”

The message from every speaker was clear: there is an urgent need for a united defence of multiculturalism and to oppose racism and bigotry in all its forms.

The mood of the meeting was defiant. Ismail Patel from the British Muslim Initiative said, “Their [the government’s] failure is not our failure or the failure of multiculturalism. The challenge we face is enormous. Scapegoats is what they are looking for, but it is a turning point, a chance for us to unite.”

Speakers included Weyman Bennett joint chair of Unite Against Fascism, Edie Friedman from the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, Dilowar Khan the executive director of the East London Muslim Centre, Billy Hayes the general secretary of the CWU union, Zita Holbourne from the TUC Race Relations Committee and Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts, broadcaster and author Mike Rosen and Martin Smith from Love Music Hate Racism.

Kevin Courtney from the National Union of Teachers praised the success of, “vibrant state school multiculturalism”. He said, “Our schools are a success—to see pupils interacting without the poison of racism gives us a vision of what the world could be like without racism.”

A series of meetings on multiculturalism are being rolled out across the country and a book will be launched with a series of contributors.

For a full report see next week’s issue of Socialist Worker and for video footage go to www.swp.org.uk/video/latest

The French government is going to bring in a law banning the wearing of the veil in public on 12 April. UAF, along with a number of other anti-racist organisations, will be holding a protest outside the French Embassy in London—more details to follow


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Fri 11 Mar 2011, 16:10 GMT
Issue No. 2242
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