Socialist Worker

‘Don’t attack Islam’—residents at London Bridge reject racist scapegoating

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2557

The area around London Bridge where seven people were killed on Saturday

The area around London Bridge where seven people were killed on Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


After Saturday’s attack the area around London Bridge in central London was in lockdown.

As people gathered at the perimeter of the police cordon, shock and anger prevailed in the crowd.

But in marked contrast to the Theresa May’s racist response ordinary people rushed to help each other, not seek scapegoats.

Theresa May wants to use London Bridge attack to step up Islamophobia and repression
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Luca was one of the residents who couldn’t get back home.

“It’s hard to say what’s behind things like this,” he told Socialist Worker. “But Muslims as a whole don’t have anything to do with what’s behind this stuff—it’s individuals. We don’t have anything against Muslims.”

Using #sofaforlondon on Twitter people organised accommodation for those who couldn’t get home.

Khalik was another resident trapped at the police roadblock “I’m from India and have seen these sorts of things before,” he told Socialist Worker.

“But this has nothing to do with any particular religion. Don’t attack Islam—Muslims are also people.”

The next day armed police raided a flat in East Ham in Newham, one of the most multicultural boroughs in Britain.

Police raided another flat in the neighbouring area of Barking on Monday morning.

Raids took place in Newham after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005. The Muslim men arrested weren’t charged, but the raids ramped up racism and sowed fear among Muslims.

Tahir Talati lives in the east London borough and works with the Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) organisation. “Muslims are accused of not integrating,” he told Socialist Worker.

“But then we are marginalised and segregated by this rhetoric.”

Malik, who was also stuck at the cordon, was worried about what the response would be.

“We talk about it all the time, we feel it,” he told Socialist Worker. “The counter terror policies are not evidence-based.

“We oppose the policy, there has to be more engagement with the Muslim institutions.”

Stand Up To Racism is organising to resist any racist backlash.


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