Over 200 anti-racists joined a protest in Edinburgh on Thursday evening after an attack of a young Syrian refugee.
Shabahz Ali was stabbed in the Fountainbridge area of the city last Thursday by a group of two men and two women. The group shouted, “Why are you still here, why aren't you back in your own country?” as they stabbed Shabahz.
Shabahz is out of intensive care and is currently recovering in hospital.
A 17 year old male has been arrested and charged and was due to appear in Edinburgh Sherriff Court on Friday.
At the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) rally speakers included Shabaz’s uncle Mohammad, Labour MSP Daniel Johnson and Green MSP Andy Wightman. Satnam Ner from the STUC union federation black workers’ committee and Donny Gluckstein from the EIS Fela union and Socialist Workers Party also spoke.
They spoke of their shock and horror at the brutal attack. And speaker after speaker stated that Edinburgh is a multicultural city of many faiths, where migrants and refugees should be welcomed.
Organisers SUTR Edinburgh said, “The racism that inspired this horrific attack is not surprising when we have a ‘hostile’ environment’ for refugees and immigrants.
“It’s an environment deliberately stoked by a Tory government desperate to use the politics of scapegoating.
It added, “Migrants and refugees are not responsible for cuts in our services, or for the lack of decent jobs or houses.
“They do not make the political decisions that decide what services are cut, what houses are built or what wages are paid.”
Shabahz and his family fled Syria five years ago and settled in Edinburgh. Some 2,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Scotland since 2015 under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).
A report released by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration this week showed the racism that many of them were treated with. Some even faced benefit sanctions for going to English classes.
It is this ‘hostile environment’ and the growth of far right groups we need to fight back against if we want to stop these racist attacks in the future.