The new vice chair of Unite Against Fascism is Azad Ali, leading activist in the Islamic Forum of Europe, an Islamist group based mainly in the Bengali community of East London.
There are many things socialists should say about UAF, Ali and the IFE, but I want to concentrate on one.
Our comrades, particularly in the student movement, are regularly called racist by the SWP and their friends for our position on Palestine. We oppose the Israeli occupation and support Palestinian struggle against it. Some of our members have travelled to Palestine, and been tear-gassed by the IDF while protesting with Palestinians against the theft of their land. We are for Palestinian self-determination, but what damns us is that we think this is only realisable, now, through a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Of course, this is the same position as every British trade union and, according to most polls, a majority of Palestinians. But that is not what concerns me here.
The IFE was founded in 1989 by Bangladeshi members of the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami. In 1971, Jamaat supported Pakistan's murderous war to suppress the Bangladeshi independence struggle; its associated militia, Al-Badr, helped the Pakistani army in its murder of many hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi civilians. The IFE's founders included Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who has been widely accused of participation in the 1971 massacres, and others similarly accused. In any case, to this day the IFE echoes its parent organisation's hostility to the existence of Bangladesh, using the Bangladeshi government's attacks on democratic rights during war crimes investigations as its “headline” story.
So supporters of the Palestinians who also support Israel's right to exist are racist, but apologists (at best) for the massacre of Bangladeshis are fine anti-racists? It makes me want to scream.