Thousands of people are expected to turn out in Tower Hamlets this Saturday to oppose the racist English Defence League (EDL). The EDL intends to march upon the East London Mosque. Muslim organisations and trade unions have especially increased publicity in the borough this week, calling upon residents to rally against all forms of racism, but especially Islamophobia.
The calls follow an apparent arson attack upon Harlow Islamic Centre in Essex, last Monday, 26 August. There have also been other attacks, in June, a Muswell Hill mosque and community centre was burnt to the ground and ‘EDL’ was found painted on the walls. In July, three mosques in the West Midlands were subjected to bomb attacks shortly before the fascists mobilised several hundred on a Birmingham demo.
The General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, said:
The rise of the far right is a huge concern for us all. The work that Unite Against Fascism does in fighting these parties is absolutely vital. I urge people to join the demo against the EDL in Tower Hamlets.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
This was a deeply provocative and gratuitous attempt by the EDL to use a park named after a young garment worker who was murdered by racist thugs in 1978. I am delighted that Tower Hamlets Council officers have refused permission for our park and the name of Altab Ali to be abused in this way. I am today redoubling my efforts to make sure that the Home Secretary stops the racist EDL from marching through our borough on September 7th.
Dilowar Khan, Director of the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, said:
It is important to show that we are one community. Although we may have different
beliefs, we believe in love and respect to all, we are all humans beings. As such
we should all come out on Saturday to celebrate our diversity and the common respect
that the EDL hates, and we we aim to protect.
Farooq Murad, Muslim Council of Britain, said:
I appeal to everyone to join this rally and stand together to defend our society
against bigotry of those who seek to divide us.
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union, said:
The EDL has nothing to offer the people of Tower Hamlets but hatred and fear. Not the jobs, hope or strong communities, the very things I saw people striving for when i visited the area and the East London and Brick Lane mosques earlier this summer.
The EDL are violent thugs, peddling racist filth. They must be kept out of Tower Hamlets which is why police restrictions on the EDL, restraining them to the edge of the borough in the largely deserted streets of the City of London, are a welcome response to the demands of the community.
Unite urges the biggest turnout this Saturday for the UAF/United East End community mobilisation to keep Tower Hamlets safe.
Jennette Arnold OBE, London Assembly Member for North East London, said:
The rally organised by Unite Against Fascism and United East End has my full
support. The English Defence League is not welcome in our community. They spread
racist and Islamophobic ideas and seek to cause division and unrest in our
communities. The safety and togetherness of people who live in London is paramount
and I condemn the EDL for seeking to cause violence in my city. Events like this
help stop the EDL in their tracks and demonstrate to those targeted by the EDL,
particularly Muslims, that we stand united. The EDL will never win, not on my
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS, said:
This demonstration today represents the voice of the overwhelming majority of Londoners who reject the vile and divisive agenda of the English Defence League. Today is an opportunity to stand together and show those fascists that when they try to scapegoat one section of our community, they attack us all. Our message to the EDL is clear: you’re not welcome, so get back under whatever rock you crawled out from.
All decent, normal people should demonstrate wherever and whenever they can against the foolish racist and fascist hatemongers calling themselves the English Defence League (EDL).
John Biggs, London Assembly Member for City and East, said:
It is disappointing that the police and Government have not supported a ban on this
march. And it is vital that reasonable people show their contempt for the politics
of division, with a racial and religious focus, which are used so often by those
without thoughtful political analysis. It is vital that we stand alongside our
Muslim communities who are the particular target of the EDL. A demonstration which
is both broad and peaceful will show that the overwhelming majority of our community
rejects these views.
Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT, said:
The RMT stands by the values of trade unionism that all workers, whatever colour, are sisters and brothers, and that’s why we campaign to physically and ideologically oppose the EDL and other racist organisations.
Monty Goldman, veteran anti-fascist campaigner, says:
Today, we stand in a strong anti-racist tradition in Stepney and Tower Hamlets.
In 1936 communists, socialists, and trade unionists joined others in the local
community to stop Mosley’s fascist blackshirts. Now the EDL are seeking to divide us,
we must do the same. It is great to see so many organisations supporting the
mobilisation, I’ll be down there and call upon everyone else to join us.
Abdullah Faliq, former Deputy Secretary, IFE, said:
Tower Hamlets is a mixed community, where people of all faith and none are happy to live and work together. The EDL plan to march on Tower Hamlets to destroy that unity and the strength that our joint communities hold. The IFE stands with all the other groups, namely United East End and Unite Against Fascism to keep our area free from racism and hatred.
A demonstration of this size costs thousands of pounds to organise. To ensure a successful mobilisation this Saturday has meant printing hundreds of thousands of leaflets and posters. We also need to cover the cost of stages, PAs and transportation. As such, we are calling upon our supporters to donate whatever they can to help, you can do this via paypal here. Organisations and affiliates can contribute as well using this model motion.
In recent weeks residents and activists in Tower Hamlets have organised to ensure that the EDL will not step foot in the area. Over 200-thousand leaflets have been distributed throughout the borough and many more are expected to be handed out in the final days. East London UAF and United East End will be leafleting tube stations, mosques, schools, colleges and workplaces twice a day before this weekend.
EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets – Don’t let the racists divide us
Saturday 7 September
Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel Road, London E1.
Called by Unite Against Fascism
United East End (UEE), Lutfur Rahman – Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Trades Union Congress (TUC), National Union of Teachers (NUT), Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Unite the Union, Communication Workers Union (CWU), National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASWUT), University and College Union (UCU), National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Tower Hamlets Unison, Tower Hamlets UCU, East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), London Central Synagogue, Jewish Socialist Group, British Muslim Initiative (BMI), Muslim Directory, Young Muslim Organisation, Enough Coalition, Sri Lankan Islamic Forum, Council of Mosques, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Muslimaat UK, Tower Hamlets Labour Party, Green Left, Green Party Trade Union Group, NUS Black Students Campaign, Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Searchlight magazine, Love Music Hate Racism.
(If you would like to add your organisation/branch to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Download the leaflet here.
Police information here.