Socialist Worker

Anti-racists organise after attack on mosque in Essex

Arsonists tried to burn down Harlow Mosque, and their plans don’t end there. That’s why we must march against the racists in London, says Annette Mackin

Issue No. 2368

Harlow Islamic Centre in Essex after an arson attack on Monday of last week

Harlow Islamic Centre in Essex after an arson attack on Monday of last week (Pic: Mick Patrick)


An entrance of the Harlow Islamic Centre, in Essex, has been left scorched after an attempted arson attack in the early hours of Monday morning.

It was a serious attempt to destroy the mosque. 

Users say the shutters over the windows and doors were sealed with insulation foam, which was then set alight. 

Luckily, the blaze didn’t take hold, and only a wall and a door suffered minimal damage. 

The arson attack was discovered when people arrived for prayers early on Monday morning. CCTV footage shows three people at the scene.

Worshippers are convinced it is a result of the racist backlash and scapegoating of Muslims that has been on the rise since the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in May.

“It is a culmination of the things,” Ajaib Hussain, chair of the Harlow Islamic Centre, told Socialist Worker. “It’s racist in the sense they have targeted Muslims. It’s a hateful attack.”

Support

“Members are shocked and disappointed. But we have been very encouraged by all the local support we have received. It has been tremendous,” Ajaib said.

Essex Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has called an emergency public meeting on Thursday of this week. 

This is the second mosque in Essex to be targeted. The Al Fanah mosque in Braintree was attacked by racist Geoffrey Ryan.

He wielded two knives and hurled a smoke grenade through a window. 

Mosques have also been attacked around Britain. 

The Bravanese Community centre in north London was destroyed in an arson attack in June. “EDL”—initials of the racist English Defence League—were found daubed on the ruined wall. 

More details at uaf.org.uk

More details at uaf.org.uk


The Redditch Central Mosque in the West Midlands was also broken into and its walls and windows sprayed with a swastika, “EDL”, “NF” and “KKK”.

Cradley Heath Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, also in the West Midlands, was sprayed with racist graffiti in July.

The slogan “Never surrender” and “EDL” were sprayed on its walls.

The attack on the mosque in Harlow shows why activists must join the UAF demonstration against the EDL in Tower Hamlets on 7 September.

The EDL want to march on the London Muslim Centre, in east London to stir up race hate.

UAF campaigners leafletted the nearby Brick Lane last weekend and were joined by Battle of Cable Street veteran Max Levitas.

UAF are calling on local residents, trade unionists and activists to mobilise to keep the EDL out of east London.

Essex UAF emergency meeting Common Room, Gibson House, Bishopsfield at 7.30pm, Thursday 29 August. Speakers include UAF joint national secretary Weyman Bennett.

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