Politicians and anti-racism activists in East London have told refugees fleeing conflict zones that they’re welcome in Britain.
A meeting organized by the Stand Up To Racism organisation at East London Mosque last night featured several important local politicians and anti-racism activists, including Rushanara Ali MP and Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs.
They said that racism and Islamophobia were on the rise in Britain and across Europe, ramped up by inflammatory so-called “War on Terror” rhetoric.
Dilwar Hussain, of East London Mosque, said the blatant racism of the 1980s that Muslims had to put up with had given way to a more liberal climate in the 1990s. But he said that ever since 9/11 and 7/7, the old racism and Islamophobia had come back.
“Now we are seeing that Muslim women are being attacked,” he said. “People who are visibly Muslim, and especially if they are on their own, are being attacked by racists and fascists. And Muslim organisations are being attacked,” in a reference to a demonstration by Britain First outside East London Mosque a few days ago which said they wanted their “Christian country” back.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of western invasions or destabilisation projects, yet the British government and some sections of the media seem determined to portray these people as a threat to the fabric of Europe itself.
Britain is one of the richest countries in the world but it has taken in only a relatively small amount of refugees from countries that it has itself destabilised such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs hinted that East London would gladly welcome desperate refugees but are being prevented from doing so by central government.
And Tower Hamlets Councillor Rabina Khan said that British politicians are lying when they say that Britain had been welcoming to refugees, and she used the example of the Jews to make her point.
“Britain’s post-war immigration deliberately excluded Jews and non-white immigrants. In fact the cabinet of 1945 admitted that the admission of refugees, many of whom were Jews, might provoke a strong reaction. That is the same right-wing rhetoric we hear today about refugees.”
Meanwhile, Weyman Bennett of Stand up to Racism. said that people are getting murdered in this country because of racism.
Speaking about refugees, he added: “Let’s look at the hypocrisy of this. They bomb you and then you run away from being bombed and then they say you shouldn’t come, you shouldn’t find a place of safety. And these people talk about humanitarian rights. We do wars because we have more rights than anyone else, this is hypocrisy in its rank form.”