By Paul Haste
Morning Star, 30 August 2008
ANTI-NAZI campaigners called for resistance on Friday to the BNP attempt to exploit the jailing of a Muslim man for the manslaughter of one of the fascist party’s activists.
Stoke-on-Trent community elder Habib Khan was sentenced to eight years in prison for the manslaughter in 2007 of his next-door neighbour and BNP member Keith Brown.
Mr Khan had been subjected to a four-year campaign of violent attacks and racist abuse by Mr Brown when a confrontation last summer ended with Mr Brown’s death.
He picked up a knife when he heard his son Azir being physically attacked by Mr Brown. Mr Khan said that the BNP member had then fallen onto the knife in a scuffle and fallen to the floor, fatally wounded.
Although a jury cleared the Muslim community leader of murder, the BNP tried to claim that the jailing of Mr Khan for manslaughter was proof of a “jihad” in Britain.
But anti-nazi campaigners Unite Against Fascism (UAF) slammed the BNP attempt to exploit Mr Brown’s death as a “white martyr.”
UAF national organiser Weyman Bennett said: “The fascists are trying to spread their poison in the Midlands. Trying to whip up a ‘crusade’ against Muslims is just a cynical attempt to use racism to divide us.”
“But the people of Stoke have made it clear they will do everything they can to resist this message of hate,” he insisted.
Anti-fascist magazine Searchlight highlighted how the BNP were taking advantage of social deprivation and unemployment in the Midlands to try to advance their hate-filled politics.
In the last local elections, the party took 8,000 votes in Stoke to seize nine council seats and become the main challengers to the ruling Labour party.
Pointing out that the fascists were making gains in the most deprived areas of the city, Searchlight journalist Nick Lowles said: “We must take on the BNP arguments and dispel its racist myths in workplaces and the community.”
“Some of this work may not be easy, but there are thousands of union members in the area – the unions must work to combat the fascists’ racist message,” he emphasised.