A Tory deal has banned asylum seekers from being housed in the north east of England following far right protests.
The agreement, between the Home Office and local authorities, shows where accepting racist arguments can lead.
The North East Migration Partnership, which includes local authorities, last year told the Home Office of “collective concerns of local authorities” over asylum dispersal.
It referred to “social cohesion” issues.
Labour MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott, has jumped on the bandwagon. Earlier this year she asked the Home Office to stop sending asylum seekers to the area due to “tensions”.
But these “tensions” have been whipped up by far right, racist and fascist groups.
Lawyer Sheroy Zaq represents an asylum seeker who was detained for six months longer than necessary because of the policy.
“The existence of this agreement must be seen as the home secretary bowing down to the repugnant, Islamophobic demands of the far right,” he said.
The Justice for the Women and Children group has organised protests alongside the far right Democratic Football Lads Alliance.
They focus on allegations that asylum seekers have sexually assaulted people in the area.
All allegations of assault or abuse must be taken seriously.
But claiming that Muslim men or refugees pose a greater threat isn’t taking the issue seriously—it’s distorting the facts for racist ends.
Most people who suffer sexual assault or rape aren’t attacked by refugees or other “strangers”.
Government figures show that around 90 percent of people who are raped know their attacker. And most child abuse takes place in the family.
Those singling out asylum seekers or Muslims want to encourage division, not protect women and children.
And racist government clampdowns, which will do nothing to combat sexual violence, are the outcome.
Racists and fascists often fake concern about abuse for their own ends.
Fascist groups such as the English Defence League seized on a child sexual abuse scandal in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, to stage racist protests. The racist murder of an 81 year old Muslim man, Mushin Ahmed, was the result.
Sexism and sexual violence are part of every capitalist society. They are the result of women’s oppression, not Muslim “culture”.
The sexual assault revelations about Donald Trump’s ally Brett Kavanaugh shows how widespread abuse is by powerful men at the top of society.
The Tory deal on housing asylum seekers sets a dangerous precedent. We should resist the lies about refugees and oppose racist clampdowns.