The picture above, has gone viral. No wonder. It displays the disdain the vast majority of people in Birmingham felt for the fascist, English Defence League, last Saturday. Saffiyah Khan, who here faces down the leader of the EDL, Crossland, said she “was not scared in the slightest”.
Saffiyah said she felt impelled to intervene when Crossland and EDL thugs confronted a woman wearing a hijab, who had been shouting at them.
“I was there with a few friends to look after people – because Muslims and people of colour are often abused.Nothing was really happening until a woman in a headscarf started shouting ‘racist’… But I wasn’t scared in the slightest. I stay pretty calm in these situations. I knew they were trying to provoke me, but I wasn’t going to be provoked. I was just holding out.
I have lost my anonymity because of the picture, but on balance it was worth it”.
UAF, like many, applaud Saffiyah for her actions. It rounded off a miserable day for the EDL. Following on from their flop in London, as they cynically tried to capitalise on the aftermath of the Westminster attack and inflame Islamophobia, they failed in Birmingham. The two women who had been subject to abuse later attended UAF’s rally and were warmly welcomed.
In contrast around 250 anti fascists rallied in Victoria Sq. Just 80 EDL flotsam and jetsam from the UK travelled to Birmingham. The UAF demonstration saw speakers from the NUT, PCS, DPAC and several other campaigns. The great Banner Theatre and the Basil Gabbidon Band (Basil being a founding member of Steel Pulse) rocked all there!
EDL members were even bored with their own gathering, when they weren’t trying to bully Muslim women. The EDL event was only able to happen due to high level policing. The end of the rally saw a row break out between the few who had come from Sunderland, berating other EDL members due to the poor turnout.
UAF supporters soaked up the sun and the music and left Victoria Sq after the EDL slunk back to a backstreet pub. Anti fascists were confident during the day and later enjoyed a second set by Banner Theatre.
The Islamophobes of fascist Britain First are due to be in Birmingham, on May 27. UAF is calling a demonstration in the city centre to ensure the fascists are opposed by all who are against their race hate. Details to be confirmed, and will be posted here, soon.