Socialist Worker

Solidarity with Muslims events across Britain

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2599

Oxford united against Islamophobia

Oxford united against Islamophobia (Pic: Julie Simmons)


Hundreds of anti-racists across Britain joined rallies in solidarity with Muslims on Tuesday afternoon.

They were called in response to a racist letter calling for a "Punish a Muslim Day" on 3 April that was sent anonymously to homes and businesses in Yorkshire, the Midlands and east London last month and

It said people could "win rewards" for violent attacks, such as pulling off a Muslim woman's hijab, burning down mosques or throwing acid in people's faces.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and other groups called to turn the day of hate into a day of solidarity.

Around 100 people formed a human chain around Newcastle Central Mosque at Tuesday lunchtime. It was supported by Stand Up To Racism North East, Newcastle Unites, the local Citizens UK branch and others.

Matthew Guest, who works at Durham University, said it was "great to be part of human chain of solidarity stretching around Newcastle Central Mosque."

"Citizens standing together against racism and Islamophobia."

Human

The Imam and volunteers from the mosque also came out joined the human chain.

Another person who joined the human chain said, "We're standing against bigotry and Islamophobia because of some awful letters going around the internet.

"And we want to say no to that bigotry and prejudice that unfortunately rearing its ugly head."

Meanwhile the SUTR group in Cambridge held a Rage Against Islamophobia day of solidarity on Tuesday.

They encouraged workplaces and colleges to tweet group selfies to show solidity with Muslims. Students and lecturers in the UCU union at Cambridge University and school teachers were some of those who took part.

And SUTR also held a rally outside Abu Bakr mosque in the town. Iman Muhammad Amir Karim said, "We did this today to show we are united and that there is no differences in the community.

"There is only harmony and peace here”.

In Sheffield more than 100 people gathered outside City Hall to show solidarity with Muslims.

Claudia Webbe, spoke to the Islington rally

Claudia Webbe, Islington councillor and Labour Party National Executive member, spoke to the Islington rally (Pic: Ken Muller)


Over 30 people attended Oxford’s Stand Up To Racism “No to Islamophobia - solidarity with Muslims” rally which received a message of support from the MP for Oxford East and speakers from the Oxford Labour Muslim Network and Green Party, plus Dr Ramzy of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Campaign stalls over the day received good support, with Muslims reporting on how welcome it was to see people out in opposition to the racist threats

In London local SUTR groups organised or supported the Love A Muslim Day.

They included rallies in Islington in north London where 100 people attended the "Respect a Muslim" rally on the steps of Islington town hall. East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets organised an event under the banner of "Happier Together".

The racist letter caused widespread fear among Muslims across Britain with many Muslim women and children in particular reporting that they were too anxious to go outside of the house, to work or to school without being subject to racist and sexist attacks. As one Muslim told the Cambridge News, "We are easily identifiable because of the way we dress.

"And if you’re brown skinned and you dress with a scarf on your head you are automatically you’re recognised as a Muslim before you speak”.

The Love A Muslim Day events called in response showed that there are people who want to resist the rise in Islamophobia. Emma, a Green Party member who joined the Newcastle human chain, said, "Everybody has got to treat Muslims with respect.

"All communities together are stronger together."

Racist attacks and threats against Muslims such as the letter are fuelled by the state-sponsored Islamophobia pushed by the Tories. We need to stand in solidarity with Muslims—and build a movement against the Tories' racism.


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