Right wingers want to use the stabbings in Glasgow to stoke a backlash against migrants and refugees.
Police shot dead Badreddin Abedlla Adam, a Sudanese asylum seeker, at the Park Inn suspected of stabbing people on Friday. Six people are in hospital after the incident at the hotel, one of several being used to house asylum seekers in the city during coronavirus.
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, quickly described it as a “hotel housing illegal immigrants”. “All over the UK, hotels are filling up with young men who are coming across the Channel every day,” he said.
“It is a massive risk to our wellbeing — yet the government does nothing.”
One Glasgow asylum seeker, Mohammad, says many now fear going out from the hotels. “I’m just staying indoors now,” he told Socialist Worker. “There’s been these far right people down in town during the last few weeks.
“When we go to do protests at George Square, the far right people are getting involved so I’m trying to stay away from town.”
He added, “There’s real quiet at the moment, everybody is grouping up in rooms and keeping to themselves.”
Two weeks ago around 200 far right and racist thugs attacked around 200 refugees and their supporters in George Square in Glasgow. They were protesting over the Home Office and subcontractor Mears cutting off their financial support and moving them into hotels at the start of the pandemic.
The motivations and precise circumstances leading up to the stabbing are not clear. One activist said the Sudanese man had been complaining of being “very hungry” after being rehoused in the hotel.
Another volunteer reports that he had been on hunger strike, one of a series of food refusal protests at the asylum hotels in Glasgow.
Other reports say that staff workers were told the day before that the man was suffering from mental distress and had started behaving erratically.
The right will push the bigoted argument that asylum seekers or those who suffer from mental distress are a potential threat.
The stabbings point to how the brutal experience and treatment of refugees, in their journey to Britain and through the asylum system, can break some individuals. Refugees from Sudan flee dictatorship, many reporting torture at the hands of the military regime, and civil war in the Darfur region.
Mohammad said that many “are coming from violent places” and suffer from “trauma big time”. “Even when you’re in a hotel you can’t do anything, you have no money, and a lot of us don’t speak English,” he said.
“Even we can’t communicate with them—they must be isolated.
“A lot of people have mental health issues, but when you want to go to the hospital you have to register online.
“And you can’t because you don’t have the language or know the process because it hasn’t been explained.”
Syrian refugee Adnan Olbiu died, in a suspected suicide, at one of the hotels last month. One of Adnan’s friends says he had alerted Mears about his deteriorating mental health but didn’t receive any support.
Robina Qureshi of the Positive Action in Housing charity said, ”The Park Inn Hotel at West George Street in Glasgow is one of several hotels used controversially by Mears Group to house asylum seekers moved from temporary homes into hotels without any money at all.
“There are very desperate people living there including several of our service users.
Adnan was one of 370 asylum seekers forcibly moved into hotels with no social distancing and no money, Park Inn Hotel is one of them.
“Only yesterday, the Mears Group admitted to Scottish MPs that they had failed to do vulnerability assessments of asylum seekers who they forcibly moved.”
Refugees need proper housing and health services—and be given the right to stay and live in Britain.