Muslim activists criticise Owen Jones for “undermining” anti-Trump demo

Owen Jones

Six prominent Muslim activists have criticised the left-wing columnist Owen Jones for “undermining” a Muslim-led anti-Trump demonstration in London last Saturday.

Jones announced he would not attend Saturday’s anti-Donald Trump demonstration after he blasted one of its supposed organisers as a “cult which covered up rape.”

Mr Jones, who organised a separate rally against Mr Trump last week, said he did not support Saturday’s protest because of the “lead role” of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

The SWP, a left-wing organisation, has previously been accused of setting up “kangaroo courts” to hear allegations of rape and sexual misconduct against a senior member of the party. The senior party member denied the allegations and the party refuted reports of a cover-up.

Mr Jones claims that Stand Up to Racism “is a front for SWP.”

But Maz Saleem, an anti- racism campaigner, Mohammed Taj of the Unite union, Talha Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Shazad Amin of MEND, Mohammed Kozbar of the Muslim Association of Britain, and the campaigning lawyer Attiq Malik published the following letter in The Independent newspaper today:

“On 4th February, over forty thousand people marched in central London against Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’. This was the first of such demonstrations that was led and called by British Muslim organisations and institutions.

“As British Muslims, we are outraged at Donald Trump’s attempt to ban people from seven predominately Muslim countries entering the USA. Although the international protest movement won a victory on Saturday morning when the US appeal court refused to reinstate the ban, this is not the end to the Trump administration’s racist and Islamophobic rhetoric and policies.

“The demonstration was organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) in partnership with the Stop the War Coalition, Stand up to Racism, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity; and supported by Friends of Al-Aqsa and CND.

“We are disappointed that Owen Jones announced on social media that he would not attend our demonstration and falsely asserted that Stand Up To Racism is a front for the Socialist Workers Party. We believe this was divisive. Stand Up To Racism involves many in its leading bodies including Diane Abbott MP, Kate Osamor MP, CWU General Secretary Dave Ward, NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney, Rabbi Lee Wax, Talha Ahmad from the Muslim Council of Britain, amongst others.

“Jones should not publicly undermine events against racism and Islamophobia. There has never been a more important time in recent history to challenge racism and Islamophobia. British Muslims need support from organisations opposed to racism and Islamophobia. The lesson of history is that we need unity against racism and fascism.”

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