Protest against "Islam4UK" and "EDL: St George's Division" - 1-2pm, Saturday 31 October, Edith Cavell statue, St Martin's Place, London WC2 (between National Portrait Gallery and St Martin's In The Fields).
Facebook event here
On 31 October, two groups of bigoted reactionaries will take to the streets of London to promote their racist, oppressive and anti-working class worldviews.
“Islam4UK”, a political Islamist organisation descended from the now-illegal Al-Muhajiroun, has called a “March for Sharia”. They will exhort Muslims to demand the “imposition” of Sharia law on the whole of the UK. Islamic religious law has many interpretations, but wherever it has been widely applied it has meant a massive clampdown on the rights of women, LGBT people, religious minorities and secular and left-wing political organisations. This march has been heavily publicised (for its own reasons) by the Daily Express (15 October).
A tiny fascist grouping, a splinter from the English Defence League (the “English Defence League: St. George Division”), has called a counter-demonstration.
This is not a case of fascists or organised racists attacking a mosque or a Muslim community institution. The “Muslim demonstration” has been organised by a far-right political current. The fascist counter-demonstration counterposes an equally reactionary politics.
The biggest threat in Britain today of violently reactionary politics comes from the fascist BNP and far-right groupings like the EDL. They pose an immediate physical threat to Muslim and other religious and ethnic minorities and must be confronted physically.
Forces like Islam4UK are, while less powerful, no less reactionary. If they become stronger, the first people to suffer will be women, LGBT people, secularists and dissidents within the Muslim communities. It is in the interests of everyone who believes in equal rights, working-class unity and class struggle to organise to prevent that from happening.
Workers’ Liberty believes that there should a third action on 31 October, an anti-racist, working-class presence that makes the positive case for workers’ unity, common struggle and universal human rights against the bigotry of both Islam4UK and the EDL and against the “mainstream” racism of the Daily Express. We are discussing organsing such an action alongside revolutionaries from within Britain’s migrant and asylum seeker communities, including the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI). The WCPI has first-hand experience of the importance of organising against political Islam.
Nadia Mahmood, a WCPI member living in London, said: “Is it not enough for Islamists to turn the lives of Middle Eastern people to a hell that they have to try to do it again in Europe? Women can’t go unveiled without being beaten in many places. People in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Iraq and others controlled by Islamists are struggling for freedom from Sharia law. The Islamists govern Muslims with blood and iron fists, let alone those who are not Muslims, such as Jews, Christians and atheists. People in Europe should not allow Islamists to impose their discriminatory and barbaric laws here. Secularism in Europe is an achievement for the whole of humanity and we all should defend it.”
Revolutionaries have a responsibility to stand alongside communities whenever they come under attack from racists, bigots and reactionaries. That means standing alongside Muslim communities when they are attacked by fascists, and it means standing alongside them when the political Islamist reactionaries who claim to speak in their name march to promote the imposition of barbaric theocratic law on Britain.
What sharia law means
Nasrin Parvez, Iranian socialist, adds:
There are many reasons to stand against the Islamists in the UK and abroad. The first thing is to understand why they are so eager to impose sharia law everywhere. Only by seeing what they stand to gain through it, we can see the danger. With sharia law, they can turn the household from a prison for the female population into a slaughterhouse.
Under Sharia law the man cannot be punished for any killing with the justification of defending their honour.
We know that young women are killed in Europe by Islamists for not following Islamic traditions. These kind of killings increase under Sharia law, because they can go unpunished.
The Islamic regime of Iran assassinated more than 250 Iranians who spoke out against the regime outside Iran. Who knows how many they have killed inside the country? Islamists have a history of assassinations and terrorising people. They burned hundreds of people in cinemas in Iran; unfortunately, most people in the west are not aware of this history.
Call for action:
We will not let the communalists divide us!
On October 31, two sets of reactionaries will take to the streets of London. One group is "Islam4UK", an Islamist organisation led by Anjem Choudhary and descended from the now-illegal Al-Muhajiroun. They have organised a "March 4 Sharia", in which they will demand the imposition of theocratic Islamic law in the UK. Islamic religious law has many interpretations, but wherever it has been applied it has meant severe repression for women, LGBT people, religious and national minorities, secularists, trade unionists and other dissidents. In the face of growing anti-Muslim racism from the press and the far-right, Islam4UK offer Britain's Muslims a blind alley of reactionary religious politics.
In response to this demonstration, a splinter group from the thuggish English Defence League (styling itself the "EDL - St. George's Division") has called a counter-demonstration. The EDL claim to protest merely against Islamic fundamentalism, but the prominent involvement of several members of the BNP and other fascist and far-right organisations reveals their true agenda; they are racists. Wherever such forces find room to organise, they pose an immediate physical threat to ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and others. As white working-class people are abandoned by mainstream politics and beaten down by increasing cuts and unemployment, the racist lies of the EDL, the BNP and others - which seek to scapegoat ethnic minorities, migrant workers and asylum seekers for problems caused by privatisation and profiteering - will find footholds unless the working-class left is able to provide a positive political alternative.
Hysteria around the day has been whipped up by the gutter press, with the Daily Express in particular giving the Islam4UK march coverage far out of proportion to its size and significance. The Express and other tabloids have inflated the significance of the march to suggest that Islam4UK represent a substantial tendency within the Muslim community, rather than the far-right fringe element that they are. However, with the coverage afforded to them by right-wing rags, they can realistically hope to substantially grow in size and influence. Wherever such forces have been able to grow, it is people within the Muslim communities themselves - women, LGBT people, secularists and other dissidents - who have been first in the firing line.
Against this backdrop, we believe there is an urgent need for a third presence on the streets of London on October 31 - a working-class, anti-capitalist, anti-racist presence that can make a positive case for secularism, workers' unity and common struggle against the far-right communalist reaction of both Islam4UK and the EDL. For all workers - Muslim and non-Muslim, white and black, British-born and migrant - the only way to fight against racism and the social conditions that have allowed it to grow is to cut their roots. A united struggle around issues like jobs, pay and public services could provide a vision for a society run in the interests of human need rather than private profit; a society in which the poisonous politics of groups like Islam4UK and the EDL could not take hold.
Worker-Communist Party of Iran (Hekmatist)
Worker-Communism Unity Party of Iran
Alliance for Workers' Liberty