Racist politicians and newspapers have seized on the arrest of two young refugees over the failed bomb attack in London last week.
A bucket filled with explosives partially detonated on a tube train at Parsons Green, west London, on Friday morning of last week. It injured dozens including children on their way to school.
Syrian Yahya Faroukh, aged 21, and an 18 year old man, reportedly Iraqi, were arrested and their homes searched along with a “Middle Eastern” chicken shop.
Theresa May activated a plan for soldiers to take over from police defending nuclear stations and other sites. It freed up more armed cops for the streets and train stations.
She called this “a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection”.
But these measures do not make anyone safer. Similar measures after the 7/7 attack in 2005 led to the police killing of Jean-Charles de Menezes.
The Daily Star newspaper even claimed that undercover SAS officers were being sent onto tube trains with orders to shoot to kill.
But the grandstanding was not enough for some.
The teenage suspect was reported to be an orphan who fled Iraq after his parents died when he was 15.
Instead of asking if Britain’s wars or the exclusion and neglect of refugees were to blame, several newspapers called for tough measures against Muslims and refugees.
They may have been victims of the violent turmoil left by Britain’s war on Iraq.
If so, he would certainly have been traumatised. The elderly couple who fostered him reportedly struggled to look after him but had little help from the authorities.
Yet instead of asking if Britain’s wars or the exclusion and neglect of refugees were to blame, several newspapers called for tough measures against Muslims and refugees.
The Daily Mail could “reveal” there are a “staggering” 4,210 asylum-seeking minors in council care across Britain.
“For their own protection,” it asked, “is it not reasonable to ensure they are closely supervised and monitored, so they do not fall prey to radicalisation?”
That’s actually a shamefully small proportion of the number of young refugees in the world. And if one of them takes part in a terror attack it in no way incriminates the other 4,209.
The Sun demanded that the government double the size of MI5 and “Bring back draconian control orders NOW”.
It warned, “An estimated 23,000 potential jihadist murderers live among us.”
But that figure refers to anyone the security services have investigated—most with nothing proved against them.
US president Donald Trump used the attack to push his racist “Muslim ban”.
“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific,” he tweeted.
For the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), it was a chance to promote its planned march on 7 October.
The FLA insists it opposes all “extremism” and is not racist. But its last demonstration featured speeches attacking Muslims by prominent far right figures including Nazis.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) held a vigil in west London on Monday night, and is organising to take to the streets on 7 October and oppose Islamophobia.
SUTR co-convenor Weyman Bennett said, “We can’t let anyone attempt to divide our communities in the wake of these horrible events.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott is the latest speaker to be confirmed for the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) conference in central London on Saturday 21 October.
Abbott is also SUTR president.
The conference will bring together
anti-racists from across Britain to organise against all forms of racism.
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg was set to address a SUTR meeting in Hackney, east London, on Wednesday.
Other speakers at the conference include Labour MPs Kate Osamor and Catherine West as well as trade union leaders Kevin Courtney, Dave Ward and Roger McKenzie.
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