A vicious racist attack in Croydon, south London, has left a young refugee with a fractured skull, a fractured spine and a blood clot on his brain.
Police said victim Reker Ahmed, a 17 year old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker, was “very lucky not to have lost his life”.
He has been scarred for life with severe injuries to his face, police said.
The attackers asked Reker where he was from.
When they found out that he was an asylum seeker they chased him, then kicked and punched him.
Those who beat Reker are guilty of a horrific crime.
But it is a crime motivated, manufactured and aided by politicians and the media.
It was fuelled by every racist lie pumped out to divide us.
It was boosted by every article that demonises refugees or claims they are to blame for the problems we face.
The Tories and the editors of papers such as the Daily Mail and the Sun should be in the dock alongside those who turned their words into action.
The attack took place in Shrublands Avenue, next to a bus stop opposite the Goat pub, last Friday night.
Local people were shocked. Lisa, whose house overlooks the bus stop, told Socialist Worker, “We’ve lived here for three years but there’s never been anything like this.”
Shop workers spoke of how the attack has shaken people in the area.
“Seventeen years ago things were a lot different around here, but things have changed so it’s come as a shock to everyone,” Olwyn told Socialist Worker.
Purbita, who also lives in the area, said, “We don’t have any problems, the area is generally ok. I’ve never heard of a racist attack around here and I’ve lived here for over ten years.”
However, this is not the first racist attack in the area. In July 1992 Ruhullah Aramesh, an Afghan refugee living close to where last week’s attacks took place, was beaten to death.
His killers were a group of whites wielding iron bars and lumps of wood and shouting racist abuse.
Croydon has a history of the Nazi British National Party trying to establish a base.
Nazi groups have repeatedly held aggressive demonstrations outside Croydon’s immigration centre where all new asylum seekers have to present themselves. But years of anti-fascist organising have held them in check.
Given the atmosphere of racism, it was disgraceful that detective superintendent Jane Corrigan said on Monday it was a “random attack”. “I genuinely don’t think people have gone out that night with the intention to commit this horrific attack,” she said.
Well before anyone could know the full truth of the incident, she went on, “You’ve got a really difficult mix of youth, the time of night, alcohol, and it only takes one person to say something that could spark off something massive.”
But this is not just about distorted individuals.
It is now necessary to step up anti-racist campaigning.
Anti-racists held a vigil in Croydon on Sunday, called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR). Brian Richardson from SUTR told the vigil, “This attack has taken place in the context of a pattern of increasing racism.
“It has taken place in the context of millions of people fleeing wars. Our government is responsible for many of those wars.”
SUTR plans a larger demonstration this Saturday. SUTR co-convenor Weyman Bennett said, “This appalling attack is directly the result of the vicious racism created by politicians and right wing groups.
“Everyone should stand against the demonisation of refugees and all forms of racism.”
White suspects on racially aggravated assault charge
A total of 13 people had been charged in the investigation as Socialist Worker went to press.
Five people appeared in court on Monday accused of violent disorder in connection with Reker’s case.
Daryl Davis, Danyelle Davis, Barry Potts, George Walder, and Jack Walder were charged after being accused of violent disorder. George Walder was additionally charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm.
Police later confirmed Kyran Evans and a 17 year old woman had also been charged over the attack.
Another six people were charged on Tuesday with violent disorder, two of them also with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm.
There was some speculation immediately after the attack that the assailants were black.
But it is clear that all, or nearly all, of those charged by Tuesday lunchtime are white.
Crocodile tears from the Tories
Senior Tories condemning the Croydon attack are shameless hypocrites.
Local MP Gavin Barwell, Tory minister for housing and planning, called the attackers “cowardly and despicable scum” and even praised graffiti saying “refugees welcome”.
He voted last year against the Dubs Amendment to allow young unaccompanied refugees into Britain.
Theresa May called it “an absolutely abominable attack”. But in a TV interview days earlier she pandered to anti-immigrant racism.
She said the government was “taking control of our borders” because “obviously we want to see net migration coming down”.
Imam Suliman Gani from South Croydon mosque told Socialist Worker the media reports attacks differently depending on the ethnicity or religion of the perpetrators.
“When an attack happens like that on Friday it’s portrayed in the media as the work of individuals and young thugs,” he said.
“When MP Jo Cox was murdered, her killer Thomas Mair was described as a troubled individual when he had links to the fascist Britain First.
“But if the attacker happens to be Muslim we’re expected to apologise.
“We’re pressured to issue press releases saying we condemn it, but it had nothing to do with us.”
Saturday 8 April, 12.00-2pm, North End, Croydon, CR0 1
Called by Stand Up To Racism
More at bit.ly/2o1PwUE