Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Day of hate against Muslims became a day of anti-racist solidarity

Issue No. 2599

A group of builders in Oxford showing solidarity with Muslims last week

A group of builders in Oxford showing solidarity with Muslims last week (Pic: Oxford SUTR/Twitter)

The events last week to show solidarity with Muslims were very important and can be the basis for future campaigning work.

In the run up to the day of action Oxford Stand Up To Racism issued a statement to help focus support for local Muslim communities.

It condemned the racist “Punish a Muslim day” letters circulated to Muslim homes and called on people to show solidarity with Muslims.

Our statement received support from our local Labour MP, and from Labour and Green Party councillors and activists, plus socialists, trade union and campaign groups.

This unity is key to fighting back against racism.

The support for the statement was evident at the solidarity rally where we also invited representatives of Muslim organisations to receive copies of the solidarity statement.

At our street stalls we received support from members of the public.

These included a group of builders on their lunch break, who were appalled at the vicious racism of the letters.

We heard of Muslim women who were too frightened to go out and some who had chosen not to wear their headscarves out of fear of being attacked.

Muslims told us that it made a huge difference to see people openly opposed to the “Punish a Muslim day” letters.

Our campaigning helped to break the very real sense fear and isolation people felt in response to the hate letters, and we were able to discuss what else people can do to fight the rise in racism.

There was coverage of our actions in the local press and this sent out the message that Muslims facing racism do not stand alone.

Now we will send copies of the statement to Muslim organisations and community groups across Oxfordshire to invite people to get involved in building the mass anti-racist movement we need.

Ian McKendrick, Oxford

I’m proud of NUT union decisions

I had an excellent day at my first (ironically the last) NUT teachers’ union conference recently.

How inspiring it was to see all of the conference delegates standing up for Muslim girls and against bans on the hijab—and also giving their support to LGBT+ teachers and students.

In this toxic environment of post?Brexit nationalism, it is crucial that our union is unequivocal in its support for any group facing attack from the right wing media avalanche.

In a priority motion at the conference we sent a clear message to the discredited Ofsted schools inspectorate.

It said that they had gone way beyond their remit in suggesting that wearing any particular clothing has any impact on a child’s learning and attainment.

We are angry that statements from Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman must be seen in the context of increased attacks on girls wearing the hijab.

Our union also sent a strong message with a motion to unite the fight for LGBT+ liberation with the fight against Islamophobia.

We cannot allow any dark external forces to divide us in our fight to celebrate and protect diversity.

Robert Dewick, Nottinghamshire

Picture of a racist at ‘antisemitism’ protest

An article appeared in the Guardian newspaper last week headlined “Antisemitism More Widespread Than Thought Says Momentum”.

It carried a photo of the lobby that had taken place of the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting.

The photo clearly shows a protester wearing a T-shirt with an image of Menachem Begin.

Begin, a former Israeli prime minster and founder of the right wing Likud Party, was a racist who once described Palestinians as two legged animals.

Wearing an image of such an anti-Palestinian racist as Begin on a protest supposedly about antisemitism and racism neatly sums up the hypocrisy of those behind the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

They are using racism against Jews and Judaism as justification for pursuing a pro-Zionist agenda of anti-Palestinian racism.

John Curtis, Ipswich

Pay gap data can’t hide Tory misogyny

The Tories are congratulating themselves on the results of the gender pay gap survey which shows that at their headquarters women are paid 12.9 percent more than men.

But I don’t think they give a damn for most women’s lives.

They don’t care about the cuts that impact women hardest of all.

They don’t tackle the structures that mean women who have children find it very hard to find affordable childcare and suffer a big loss in their lifetime earnings and prospects of promotion.

The true voice of the Tories was summed up by the chair of Orpington Conservatives who said Theresa May was “stupid” for collecting figures on the gender pay gap and that the whole operation was “driven by meaningless dogma”.

I don’t think we learn much from the figures.

They measure pay across an organisation rather than comparable roles within an organisation.

So a few woman at the top of a company makes a firm look good and hides the fact that the female cleaner may be paid less than the male goods handler.

Sandra Buchanan, East London

Return of the Ethiopian loot

I am delighted that the Victoria & Albert museum is considering returning its looted Ethiopian treasures to Africa.

The scandal of how these items were stolen was featured in Socialist Worker (21 March).

They would be on a long-term loan rather than handed back but it’s still a step forward.

Gaynor Williams, West London

Who is guilty at arms fair?

Scores of people joined a protest picket last week outside the Cardiff Arms Fair and seven were arrested.

Inside, some of the world’s biggest military equipment companies were flogging their weapons to some of the most despotic regimes on the planet.

It’s the exhibitors who are guilty, not the protesters.

Huw Pudner, Neath

Horror toll of council cuts

A 14-year-old girl was raped recently in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield.

One can only imagine the trauma that this has caused her.

Yet the local council, due to government cuts, is cutting the budget of the rape and sexual abuse counselling centre which has helped survivors of sexual and domestic violence for 28 years.

This will lead to some counsellors losing their jobs.

John Appleyard, West Yorkshire

Johnson hides truth on Hitler

Despite the mounting anti-Russian hype, decent people have rightly picked up Boris Johnson for saying that Vladimir Putin is the same as Adolf Hitler.

Johnson pontificated about the Nazis’ use of major sporting events.

But it’s the government department Johnson heads which helped out Hitler. Facing resistance from England footballers to giving a fascist salute, the foreign office ordered them to do so.

John Murphy, Stockport

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