Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s speech to United East End public meeting July 29th 2011

Mayor Rahman signs book of condolences at Norwegian Embassy

This is the speech given by Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, at the United East End rally on 29 July.

Good evening and Assalamu Alaikum.

Thank you all for attending this wonderful display of community unity in Tower Hamlets. I know the dangers of extremism has been in your minds this week in the aftermath of the horrors committed in Norway.

I know that your hearts will have been moved, like mine has, by the grief of the Norwegian people.

So earlier today, I was both proud and saddened to go as your Mayor to Norwegian Embassy. I went with a delegation of faith and community leaders from our borough, to offer condolences and solidarity to all the people of Norway from all the people of Tower Hamlets.

And I came away from that visit more committed and determined to a very simple message from my administration – there is no place for hate in Tower Hamlets.

There is no place for hate against people on the basis of sexual identity.

There is no place for hate against people on the basis of racial identity.

There is no place for hate against people on the basis of religious identity.

We are One Tower Hamlets.

We are not going to let the preachers of hate and extremism, whatever community they come from, divide us.

And we certainly have no intention of the letting the EDL divide us!

Because when the man responsible for the mass slaughter of dozens of Norwegian teenagers boasts about his strong links with EDL leaders;

when he brags about his 600 EDL friends on Facebook;

when he tells the EDL to ‘keep up the good work’;

we all know only too well what the EDL’s idea of ‘good work’ is.

Their idea of ‘good work’ is when they sow the seeds of hate and intolerance.

And the sole purpose of their visit to Tower Hamlets on September 3 is to promote the politics of hatred and division on our streets.

That’s why one of the messages that must go from this meeting is to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and that message is this:

We don’t want the EDL in our borough;

The people of Tower Hamlets don’t want the EDL in our borough;

And you, Home Secretary, have to the power to stop the EDL from coming into our borough on September 3.

But if the EDL do march, we know full well what their intentions are.

The Norwegian killer Anders Breivik praised them for it; they want to try ‘lure’ the local community, and especially Muslim communities, into street violence.

They want images on our TV screens of Muslim and white youth fighting on our streets.

They want to use these images as evidence of our communities at war with each other so they can claim multicultural Britain does not work

We know the EDL want to set us a trap.

Well, my message to them is this; we are not going to fall into your trap!

Between now and September 3 Tower Hamlets is not going to be a divided borough – it is going to be a united borough.

And on September 3 we are going to have a massive, united and peaceful celebration of multiculturalism and anti-racism.

We are going to have inter-faith groups, LBGT groups, youth groups, pensioners groups, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Atheists; members of all political parties and members of no political parties; all standing together to send one message:

We are One Tower Hamlets.

We are a United Tower Hamlets.

And we are not going to let the EDL or any other bunch of extremists divide us.