Socialist Worker

Vigil sees Londoners standing together against war and racism

Issue No. 1960

Peace vigil in Manchester last Sunday (Pic: Richard Searle)

Peace vigil in Manchester last Sunday (Pic: Richard Searle)


White, Asian and black people united together in commemoration of those who died in the London bomb attacks, and against war and Islamophobia on Sunday 17 July.

A peace vigil organised by the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain saw around 1,000 gather in Russell Square, central London, near one of the sites of the horrific bombings on Thursday 7 July.

A determination ran through the vigil to ensure that the attacks would not lead to increased persecution of Muslims.

People were also clear that the bombings, contrary to the claims of Tony Blair and much of the media, were connected to the US and British attack on Iraq and to injustice in the Middle East.

Azzam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain said, “Our profound sympathies are with all the victims of the atrocity. I would like to give great thanks to our colleagues in the Stop the War Coalition — they are our brothers and sisters in the long term struggle to tell the truth.”

Right wing commentators and Labour MPs have said that Tamimi and the Muslim Association of Britain should be investigated by the authorities for its views.

Tamimi continued, “There are those who want to silence us. They say if we explain these events we are justifying. If we talk about the roots they say we condone terrorism. I say to them I will continue to talk, write and challenge you. I will not be intimidated.

“I say to Muslim leaders, don’t bow to pressure and accept pointing fingers. I am not responsible for 7 July. I condemn it. I did not make those boys angry. I did not send the troops to Iraq.

“We shouldn’t feel guilty. Who is the guilty one? Tony Blair.

“To prevent terrorism we have to work together. But unless the politicians revise their policies it will not work. We need to pull the troops back and end the oppression of the world.”

Stand up for truth

Lindsey German, the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, said, “We are here to stand up for the truth about the terrible bombings. The establishment says that they were nothing to with Iraq and the war on terror — it is to do with evil ideology.

“But the government would say that. The government is saying that the Muslim community should put their house in order, but we have to ask the government to put its own house in order.

“The government and Tony Blair is in denial about what has happened. Today we are standing together. We are not going to be divided by witch-hunts and racism.

“The only way to end the bombings is to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. When we have justice around the world we will have peace as well.”

Warsana al Tikriti, a young woman from the Muslim Association in Britain in Leeds, said, “When the attacks took place there were feelings of sorrow and dismay amongst Muslim people.

“Now frustration and anger is emerging among Muslim youth. Hearts are being filled with fear because we are being criminalised for something we didn’t do. We are facing physical and psychological abuse.

“I feel we are being branded as terrorists. But the bombs did not discriminate between faith and colour. Bush and Blair’s war on terror has not made the world safer. It has brought more hate and bloodshed.

“This will only rise unless policies are changed.”

Heroic workers

Unjum Mirza from the RMT rail workers’ union said, “None of the people who were killed on 7 July had anything to do with Iraq. The majority will have been against it. I want to pay tribute to every emergency services worker, who did a heroic job that day.

“Transport workers saved lives. There is now a backlash going on. The RMT will never accept the collective responsibility of Muslims that the media and politicians are trying to portray. They are inciting religious and racial hatred. “

“London has been one of the extended battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have to organise to demand the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the resignation of Tony Blair, “ Unjum concluded to great cheers.

Respect MP George Galloway said, “We refuse to join the conspiracy that denies any connection between these crimes and the much greater crime our government and the US is involved in.

“Do not believe the ministers, the MPs and the stooge journalists who say they see no connection. They are lying to us all over again. They are trying to fool us.

“The war on terror has left the world in danger and turmoil. If the witch-hunters want to get Azzam Tamimi, they will have to get through me and the anti-war movement first.

“We will stand shoulder to shoulder telling the truth. Only the truth will get us out of the terrible morass into which the liars have put us.”


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Sat 16 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1960
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