Socialist Worker

Nazis given confidence by Belgian state's crackdown

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2497

A minutes silence was held in Brussels to remember the dead

A minute's silence was held in Brussels to remember the dead


Fascists attacked a crowd in Brussels that gathered last Sunday to remember those killed in the bombings in the Belgian capital.

The fascists from the “Casuals against Terrorism” group made Nazi “Sieg Heil” salutes and confronted Muslim women in a crowd near the stock exchange.

Silent vigils have been held there every day since the killings.

Belgium’s right wing prime minister Charles Michel said, “It is highly inappropriate that protesters have disrupted the peaceful reflection at the stock exchange.”

But the Nazis’ attacks have been fuelled by the Belgian state, which is cracking down on Muslims and dissent.

Following the Paris attacks last November Michel singled out the working class Muslim district of Molenbeek, which right wingers have now labelled “Europe’s jihadist capital”.

He said, “We’ve tried prevention—now we’ll have to get repressive. It’s been a form of laxity and now we’re paying the price.”

Demonstration

The day before the Nazi attack, the government cancelled a “March against fear” unity demonstration called by the Labour-type Socialist Party—because of a “lack of police resources”.

It was different with the Nazis. The police knew they were coming on Sunday, met them at the station and went with them to the stock exchange.

Meanwhile, at least 70 people were killed and 300 injured in a suicide bombing carried out by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group in Lahore in Pakistan last Sunday.

The group said it was targeting Pakistani Christians during Easter.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar split from the Pakistani Taliban group in September 2014 and said it supported Isis. This was partly out of opposition to the Taliban’s “peace talks” with the Pakistani government.

It rejoined the Pakistani Taliban last March.

At times the Pakistani state has been willing to negotiate—as have elements of the Taliban’s leadership.

But Pakistan has been pursuing a brutal ground war in the North Waziristan region since 2014, supported by US drone strikes.

There have been over 370 US drone attacks there during the presidency of Barack Obama, killing up to 1,000 civilians.

The neighbouring Punjab region has seen a string of attacks, Lahore being just the latest.

This latest bombing will be exploited by the state.

The Taliban’s attack on a school in 2014 killed 133 children and was immediately used by the current government to unveil new repressive measures.

A new military court system allowed the trial of civilians in secret sessions.

The government also ended a moratorium on executions.

Over 350 people were put to death. Only only one in ten were said to be “linked to a known militant group”.

US imperialism and its local supporters are fuelling more sectarianism and bombings in the region.


Tony Blair paves way for those who want to increase hatred of Muslims

New Labour war criminal Tony Blair responded to the Brussels attacks by saying that “many millions” of Muslims hold a viewpoint that is “fundamentally incompatible with the modern world”.

He called for Isis to be “defeated” by more military action. Yet in October 2015, when he was asked whether the invasion of Iraq was a “principle cause” of the rise of Isis, he said, “I think there are elements of truth in that.”

The US government will increase troop deployments to Iraq after the bombing.

Defence secretary Ashton Carter said the US will take “important steps” to prepare for “crucial battles to come”.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “Carter and I both believe that there will be an increase in US forces in Iraq in coming weeks.”

Racist rhetoric from the top is fuelling Islamophobia. Muslims told Socialist Worker how this was making them feel more “alienated” and “marginalised”.

Naima, a student living in south London, told Socialist Worker, “I haven’t been a victim myself, but I still feel unsafe.

“When I’m on the Tube I never stand near the edge of the platform—I’m fearful that someone might push me.”

Attacks

After the Paris and Brussels attacks the pressure is for Muslims to “condemn” and “apologise” for the actions of Isis.

Tayyabah from Waltham Forest in east London told Socialist Worker, “I get ridiculous questions. After the Paris killings I was asked, ‘What do you think about it?’

“Why would I think anything different to everyone else?”

Naima said, “There are double standards based on beliefs and nationality.

“There have just been terrible attacks in Brussels, but Muslims die regularly because of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ and no one recognises that.”

Tory and right wing media propaganda has given confidence to racists.

If Muslims stand up against the Tories or question Britain’s imperialist wars, they are labelled as extremist.

A teacher in Leeds told Socialist Worker, “I’m being marginalised and put in a box. If I go on a demonstration to support the junior doctors or against academies, I’ll be questioned more than a white colleague.”

But it is possible to push back the rising tide of Islamophobia. The teacher said, “Ask what they are trying to distract us from.

“We’ve got use our collective voice against the negative racist agenda, such as around refugees.”

 


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