Socialist Worker

Racist lies from the press and politicians fuel brutal attack in Leicester

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2578

Activists from Leicester joined an anti-racist protest in London last year

Activists from Leicester joined an anti-racist protest in London last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A horrifying attack on a Muslim woman in Leicester underlines the importance of taking on Islamophobia.

Zaynab Hussein is still in hospital five weeks after being run over on Wednesday 20 September in what police are treating as a hate crime on religious and racial grounds.

She had broken limbs and needed skin grafts after suffering extensive cuts.

Zaynab was attacked on her way home from taking her children to school by a man who police say wanted to kill her.

They have charged him with attempted murder over the attack, and with attempted grievous bodily harm for an attack on a schoolgirl the same day.

He is due to appear in Leicester Crown Court on Friday of next week. The attack took place in Beaumont Leys, a poor area where the far right has tried to organise.

It’s at least the second racist vehicle attack on Muslims this year.

Darren Osborne drove a van into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, in June.

Eyewitnesses reported that he shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims.”

Osborne’s attack killed one and injured at least eight people. It followed Theresa May’s speech blaming a series of terrorist attacks on “the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism”.

Plotting

An alleged Nazi appeared in court last week accused of plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a machete.

He was one of six men accused of belonging to the Nazi group National Action.

Politicians and the press condemn such violence—while whipping up the hatred that helps drive it.

Tory MP Bob Blackman hosted the far right Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh in parliament last week.

Ghosh has praised the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The Daily Mail newspaper fumed last weekend against mooted measures to help people who went to fight with Isis in Syria to reintegrate into society.

It suggested “extremists” could be given priority for council housing.

The government’s main response to people who went to Syria is far less sympathetic.

Aid minister Rory Stewart said last month, “The only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”

The government’s counter-radicalisation strategy Prevent treats Muslims as potential terrorists. It’s hardly surprising that some racists gain the confidence to act.

It’s vital to build Stand Up To Racism groups that can take on the racism from the top and respond to all racist incidents locally.


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