Socialist Worker

System bars Shamima Begum from coming home

The court ruling that Begum can’t enter Britain sets a racist precedent that anyone’s citizenship can be stripped away says Isabel Ringrose

Issue No. 2744

Stripping Begum of her citizenship shows the cruelty and racism of the British state

Stripping Begum of her citizenship shows the cruelty and racism of the British state


The Supreme Court has ruled that Shamima Begum will not be allowed to return to Britain to fight for her citizenship to be reinstated.

It is a cruel decision showing the British state’s hostility towards Muslims.

The ruling from last Friday was unanimous that Begum’s rights were not breached when she was refused permission to return to Britain.

In 2015 then 15 year old Begum, along with two friends, left Tower Hamlets, east London after being groomed online. The secondary school students travelled to Syria to join Isis.

Then Tory home secretary Sajid Javid stripped Begum of her British citizenship in 2019 on the grounds of “national security”.

Last July the Court of Appeal ruled that Begum should be allowed back into Britain to appeal the decision. But the Home Office appealed again on the grounds that her return “would create significant national security risks”.

Article Six of the Human Rights Act protects the right to a fair trial, and it is illegal to revoke a nationality if it would leave a person stateless. But racism is at the heart of Britain’s immigration system.

The case is yet another example of the Tories’ hostile environment and Islamophobia

Opportunity

It will only give right wingers further opportunity to push their racism and label all Muslims as the enemy within or extremists.

Javid revoked Begum’s citizenship because he argued she was eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship as it is the birth country of her parents.

But Shahrial Alam, Bangladesh’s minister of foreign affairs, said, “Bangladesh asserts that Ms Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen.

“There is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh.”

Begum is now stuck in a refugee camp in Syria, stateless with no legal rights or protection.

For years the Tories have boosted the dangerous rhetoric that there is a difference between “good” and “bad” Muslims.

Good equates to keeping quiet and refusing to question Britain’s foreign policy or bloody wars that have seen the rise of groups such as Isis. Otherwise you are the victim of racist scapegoating and could risk your rights being snatched from you.

These divisions fuel Islamophobia that is rampant in society, from Prevent to deportations.

The Tories are also setting a dangerous precedent for what constitutes being “British” and what makes people worthy of living here.

The Windrush generation, who lived and worked in Britain for decades after being encouraged to come from the Caribbean, were not given the right paperwork. It meant thousands faced deportation.

But second generation migrants such as Begum are also told to go back to their parents’ country—despite holding British citizenship.

Shamima Begum should have her citizenship reinstated and be allowed to return home. Anti-racists must fight against all forms of Islamophobia and British state racism.

It is not immigrants that are the problem—it is the racist, warmongering state.


Coronavirus is hitting poor and black people hardest

Race and class are still the main factors in the spread of Covid-19.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics paints a stark picture of how the coronavirus is increasingly a disease of the poor.

It shows that those living in more deprived and ethnically diverse communities are at far greater risk of infection and death than those in the least deprived areas.

The disparities can easily be seen in Birmingham.

In the leafy suburbs of Sutton Four Oaks over 95 percent of over 80s are vaccinated and the infection rate in mid-February was 88 per 100,000 people.

Travel just eight miles south to Alum Rock and the picture is very different indeed.

Here just 61 percent of over 80s are vaccinated and the infection rate jumps to 255 per 100,000 people—almost three times higher than Sutton Four Oaks.

In Sutton Four Oaks just 12 percent of the population are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

But in Alum Rock 91 percent of the population are.

There is a huge overlap between poverty and race in Britain’s inner cities. High unemployment and low pay are endemic, and overcrowded housing is generally the norm.

As a result, in the first nine months of the pandemic there were almost three times as many deaths in the poorest

10 percent of areas as there were in the richest.

This pattern of death means the coronavirus can only be defeated by radical social measures that go way beyond the vaccination programme.


Anti-racists see off Nazis

The deaths of two black men in South Wales prompted Black Lives Matter (BLM) to call a protest in Swansea’s Castle Square last Saturday.

Moyied Bashir, aged 29, died after police were called to his house on 17 February.

And 24 year old Mohamud Hassan died after he was released from police custody on 10 January.

A collection of a small group of hardcore racists called a counter “All Lives Matter” demo, promising to “turn Wales English”.

The ragtag collection of about 30 Nazis turned up and for a while it looked like they were going to outnumber the BLM rally.

However as word got out on social media the anti-racist protest started to grow and soon outnumbered the Nazis.

It was a brilliant collection of young, vibrant black and white anti-racists.

The police turned out in numbers and did their best to stop the BLM supporters attending the demonstration.

Alan Thomson

SUTR West Wales


Mobilise for anti-racism day

UN international anti-racism day on 20 March is a chance for activists across Britain, and the world, to continue to build the fight against racism.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) has called for a day of action to say no to racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism.

It will also say that refugees are welcome here.

Socially distanced protests are planned in cities across Britain. SUTR groups will also host rallies online.

The impact of racist populist leaders such as former US president Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil have, in part, led to the rise of the far right globally.

There is also growing systemic racism.

The inequality and scapegoating in Britain heightened by the pandemic need to be fought.

Anti-racists must build for mass action on 20 March in their workplaces and in anti-racist networks.

For details go to bit.ly/SUTRforM20

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