Socialist Worker

Five Birmingham mosques attacked in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2647

Five mosques in Birmingham were attacked with sledgehammers in the early hours of Thursday.

The windows and doors were smashed at the Witton Islamic Centre, the Jame Masjid and a further three places of worship in the West Midlands city. The police are treating the attacks as linked.

The attacks in Birmingham come in the wake of the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday. Fascist Brenton Tarrant murdered 50 Muslims and injured a further 31.

Adil Parker from the Birmingham Council of Mosques (BCM) said, “We are appalled, but not shocked. It has not been a week since what happened in New Zealand and we always expected some bigot to show themselves up.

“Our congregation is worried and parents whose kids come to our mosques every evening are taken aback by what's going on.”

He added, “Every time there is an incident around the world we do get idiots coming around and doing these things.

“In 2019, we can’t be expected to live in fear.”

Tory home secretary Sajid Javid said it was “deeply concerning and distressing to see a number of mosques have been vandalised in Birmingham overnight.

Fuelled

But these sorts of attacks on Muslims and mosques have been fuelled by the racism pushed by mainstream politicians and the media.

The Tories suspended a further 25 members on Wednesday over allegations of Islamophobia, showing up the far right sympathies of some of its members. And top ministers and party figures repeatedly use racist messages.

Boris Johnson faced no disciplinary action for describing Muslim women who wear the niqab as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”. Javid pushed the racist lie that Asian “culture” is partly to blame for sexual abuse.

The Tory government has spearheaded its assault on Muslims with the Prevent programme. The Counter Terrorism and Security Act forces public sector workers, such as teachers, to spy on Muslims for signs of “radicalisation”.

Asim Qureshi is the research director for Cage, which campaigns on detainee rights in the war on terror. “Incidents like Christchurch do not occur in a vacuum, nor can ‘ideology’ alone propel people to a massacre,” he said.

“It is the political, legislative and media environment—including Prevent—that legitimises anti-Muslim hatred that is far more influential.”

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) supporters in Birmingham are organising a solidarity protest after the mosque attacks.

Anti-racists must stand in solidarity with Muslims facing attacks—and oppose the mainstream racism that legitimises it.

Protest - After Birmingham Mosque attacks - Say no to Islamophobia, Saturday 23 March, 3pm, outside Waterstones, 24 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SL. Details here

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