Our British correspondent JP points out this letter published in yesterday’s Guardian and signed by various notables, both the culturally enriched kind as well as progressive “persons of British background”.
JP includes this note:
This letter deserves highlighting, primarily for its sheer and utter egregiousness.
A perfectly valid documentary was broadcast on Channel 4 recently which investigated the entryist tactics of an Islamic organisation, Islamic Forum of Europe as it infiltrated the Labour Party in east London, a documentary which was supported by the local Labour Party MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, who also appeared in the film.
Now, according to the letter writer and co-signatories this is an attack on democracy.
These people will not be happy until democracy and London are smoking ruins, because this is exactly where these interventions are leading.
Below is the letter, which has some familiar signatures — the usual suspects — but most are people I’ve never heard of:
Islamophobia is a threat to democracy
We are concerned by the rise of Islamophobia, the negative coverage of Muslims in the media, the violent street mobilisations of extreme rightwing organisations like the English Defence League, and the rising electoral support for the British National party (The battle for Barking, Weekend, 13 March). Following Channel 4’s recent inflammatory documentary, Britain’s Islamic Republic, which saw concentrated attacks on the East London Mosque, the English Defence League marched through central London with placards including the demand “Close the East London Mosque now”.
The East End of London is not new to having its communities attacked by fascists and the media. The 1930s saw the Battle of Cable Street when Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts attempted to march into the Jewish community in the area. We cannot allow this terrible history to repeat itself. Further, the documentary, and articles since, have attacked the participation in politics by the Muslim community. We cannot stand by and watch this continue without remark or action.
In the runup to the general election, all parts of the population should be actively encouraged to exercise their votes. That is democracy. We welcome the work of organisations who work to this end. We call for solidarity and support for those organisations that work to encourage political participation from all sections of society, including Muslims, and condemn those who seek to undermine it.
– – – – – – – – –
Dr Abdul Bari Secretary general, Muslim Council of Britain
Brendan Barber General secretary, TUC
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC
Dr. Edie Friedman Executive director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Diane Abbott MP
Neil Jameson Executive director, London Citizens
Jagtar Singh Sikh Secretariat
Tony Woodley Joint general secretary, Unite the Union
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Professor Eric Hobsbawm
Louise Christian Christian Khan solicitors
Billy Hayes General secretary, Communication Workers Union
Rabbi Lee Wax
Anas Altikriti Spokesperson, British Muslim Initiative
Caroline Lucas MEP
Professor Avi Shlaim
Lord Nazir Ahmed
Kate Hudson Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Andrew Stunell MP
Ismail Patel Co-ordinator, YouElect
Claude Moraes MEP
Rev. Alan Green Chair, Tower Hamlets Interfaith forum
George Galloway MP
Musleh Faradhi Central president, Islamic Forum Europe
Jean Lambert MEP
Salma Yaqoob Leader, Respect party
Jenny Jones AM
Steve Hart Regional secretary, Unite London Region
Andrew Murray Chair, Stop the War
Bell Ribeiro-Addy NUS black students officer
Sabby Dhalu Joint secretary, Unite Against Fascism