This Saturday’s Stand Up to Racism and Fascism protests are a chance to push back racist scapegoating.
Mohammed Saleem, 82, was stabbed by a Nazi as he walked home from mosque in Birmingham last year.
Fazia Saleem, his daughter, told Socialist Worker, “The media really angers me. My father died about the same time as Lee Rigby. But they didn’t treat the cases the same at all.”
Fazia thinks the marches can make a difference.
“You have to stand up and voice your opinions otherwise you just get what is in the media,” she said. “It is against us all the time. There seems to be an attack on Islam in the press every day.
“But what does the government do? It watches Muslims like a hawk, but not Nazis like the one who killed my father.
“Think about the effect on the next generation. My father’s death had a huge impact on our family.
“We have to get people to see beyond what the politicians and the media say about Islam. In the end it’s down to what we do ourselves.”
It’s not just Muslims who are under attack. The Tories’ nasty new immigration bill was being debated in the House of Lords as Socialist Worker went to press.
It sets out to divide people. Its passage through the Lords is contested, but more because of unhappiness about how it affects bosses than out of principled anti-racism.
The committee stage debated “unfair recruitment practices” by “rogue employment agencies”.
They mean firms that employ “foreign” labour on poverty wages instead of British-born workers on poverty wages.
Landlords object to being recruited as border agents and threatened with fines if they don’t check tenants’ right to remain.
This will make it harder for anyone who looks like they might be a migrant to rent a home. But that’s not what the Lords are worrying about.
Saturday’s marches are backed by Unite Against Fascism, the TUC, unions and migrant organisations.
Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of UAF, told Socialist Worker, “The first thing we need to do is get rid of Nazi MEPs Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons in the European elections on 22 May.
“We also have to stand up to the racism of Ukip and the way mainstream politics is adapting to its bigoted views.”
Weyman called Ukip leader Nigel Farage “the Enoch Powell of our time”.
He said, “He is whipping up racism and blaming Eastern Europeans for austerity, unemployment and a housing crisis that were caused by his banker friends in the City.
“Farage says he will resign from politics if Ukip don’t get an MP in the 2015 general election. That’s a gift we can campaign for.”
Join the demonstrations on Saturday 22 March
- London: Assemble 11am by the Nelson Mandela statue in Parliament Square
- Glasgow: Assemble 11am in George Square
- Cardiff: Assemble 11am at Riverside, Clare Gardens
More information at standuptoracism.org.uk
Rallies the world over
Protests were planned in countries around Europe and beyond on Saturday of this week.
An international day of action was called to support anti-fascists in Greece.
Saturday is also the United Nations anti-racism day.