Defend multicultural Britain against the BNP

Salma Yaqoob Respect“Today, it is anti-Muslim racism that is at the cutting edge of the fascist strategy. It is effective because it feeds on the suspicion and prejudice that is the theme of so much mainstream discussion of our lives as British Muslims.

“Its consequences are real. Already, there are signs that attacks on mosques and individual Muslims may be rising. The police are warning of the danger of far-right terrorism. And, earlier this month, we saw an openly racist provocation in Birmingham city centre, under the guise of a protest against ‘Islamic extremism’ – a label that the organiser made clear applied to all Muslims.

“We, as British Muslims, have a direct and immediate interest in defeating this fascist threat. The anti-fascist movement must reach out to Muslim communities who are at the sharp end of BNP attacks. But the rise in racism is not only a threat to Muslims. The BNP may be playing down their anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism in order to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of society. But to the BNP we are all ‘racial foreigners’. Our very existence as British people is denied.

“Our task is not only to unite all those targeted by the BNP, with every possible ally who rejects racism and fascism. We have to also positively assert our multicultural and pluralist society. It is a message of hope that is in tune in an increasingly interconnected world. It is a source of strength and vibrancy. We are one society and many cultures. And we will only remain so if we are prepared to stand up and be counted.”

Salma Yaqoob in the Morning Star, 20 July 2009