Anti-racists are organising to make sure an attack on a Halal supermarket in Walsall doesn’t boost the racist right.
A “Molotov cocktail” was thrown into the Kashmir Halal Meat and Poultry shop in the West Midlands town on Monday of last week.
The suspect was described as white. Police have said inquiries suggest the attack was “not based on the victim’s membership of any ethnic group”.
Martin Lynch is Stand Up to Racism convenor in Walsall. He told Socialist Worker, “We have an active Stand Up to Racism group, which includes people who voted both Remain and Leave in the European Union (EU) referendum.
“We will need to bring together as many people as possible to stand against Islamophobia and racism.”
Activists in Stand Up to Racism in Cambridge also responded to racist cards against Polish migrants being handed out in the Huntingdon area last week. The laminated cards read, “Leave the EU—no more Polish vermin”.
A group of local residents organised a “Community Cake Exchange” and there was a constant stream of support from passing people and cars. The Stand Up to Racism group produced leaflets reading “Tu jest wasz dom” (Here is your home in Polish) and supported it.
The Leave vote was not primarily driven by racism. But some racists wrongly think that the vote means a majority are on their side.
The National Police Chiefs’ council says hate crime reports have risen by 57 percent in the wake of the vote. There were 85 reports in the four days after the referendum result compared with 57 over the same period a month ago.
The official Remain and Leave campaigns whipped up racism.
Recent racist attacks follow years of racism and Islamophobia being pushed by the Tories, some in Labour and the right wing media.
Catherine Heseltine from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (Mpac) told Socialist Worker, “It’s nothing new for those of us who’ve been campaigning against Islamophobia.
“We’ve already seen a rise in attacks, particularly on women.
“There has been a spike and it has become more acceptable, but Brexit has put such attacks in the spotlight.”
A new report by the Muslim charity Tell Mama showed that “offline” Islamophobic attacks rose by 200 percent in 2015. It recorded 437 “offline” incidents, up from 146 in the previous year.
Many others will have gone unreported.
Martin said, “The racist and fascist right have had some strength in the Black Country.
“But during the last 15 years we’ve waged a successful fight and pushed them back—we’ll have to do that again.”
The joint People’s Assembly and Stand Up to Racism demonstration on 16 July in central London is key.
Every anti-racist must make sure that thousands of people mobilise to oppose racism and austerity.