Friday, 24 March 2017

Unity against hate and division

After the tragic attack in Westminster on Wednesday. night, many are now expressing their shock. It  was terrible because people lost their lives or were horribly wounded,due to the actions of a sick and depraved individual fuelled by hate, Kent-born Khalid Masood, 52, who ploughed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before smashing it into railings and then running into the grounds of Parliament, armed with a knife.There he stabbed PC Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by armed police.Pedestrians British national and mother of two Aysha Frade, 43, and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, died in the incident on Westminster Bridge, while 40 people remain hospitalised, with seven in critical condition. There has  naturally been an outporing of gfrief and anger .
In light of all of this though  I  recommend the following clip from journalist Simon Jenkins talking sense on Newsnight about how the media irresponsibly creates frenzies of publicity around incidents of terrorism. It feeds racism and Islamophobia, it feeds a climate of relentless fear, when there is no justification for such fears, and it gives the terrorists what they want - the oxygen of publicity, the very climate of fear the media stirs up, and, they hope, the disruption of normal, everyday life.
Also it is worth pointing out what  did not make the headlines, only the day before this cowardly attack, an airstrike by the US-led coalition on a school in Syria killed at least 33 people.And last Thursday another US strike on a mosque complex in the north-west of the country killed at least 43 people, are not all lives of rqual value. In addition  Palestinians, Syrians, refugees, those fleeing war certainly do not feel safe every minute of their days,  remember also the  many governments  that could be defined as terrorists, but rarely are by the media, and arms companies on a daily basic  who aid and fuel  murder and war, in their blood lust thirst for profit
Now more than ever we can not let these attacks be used by the racists to divide us. Already, the far right group Britain First have used this attack as an excuse to call a 'march' in London to spew their racism, hatred and division.An additional attempt to capitalise on the events came from Tommy Robinson,former leader of the English Defence League, who while ambulances and other emergency vehicles dominated scenes, had appeared within minutes of the incident occurring seeking to exploit the tragedy and the victims of the attack for his own propoganda purposes, shouting aggressively at those who challenged him and launched into a scathing analysis of the incident for his own personal camera crew.
Stand Up To Racism has called a unity vigil in London today.There Co-Convenor Weyman Bennett said in a response to the attack: “Our thoughts are with those killed or injured in the Westminster attack and their families. We need to stand together against all those who seek to divide us. We are black, white, Muslim and Christian living together.We have to remain vigilant against those who want to profit from division, especially the far right. It is crucial that we stand united in such difficult times. I urge people who feel the same to join Friday’s vigil.”
Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of,(Muslim Engagement and Development) said: “We are shocked and saddened by the act of mindless violence that took place at Westminster and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and with those that were injured during this incident. This act of violence is utterly deplorable and one that will find no room in any community.
“We stand firmly against anyone who wishes to use this tragic incident to create fear and divisions in our society. Only last weekend over 30,000 people marched in solidarity against all forms of hate, and we reiterate our commitment to Stand Up to Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate.”
In a statement last night, shared on Twitter yesterday, HOPE not Hate the anti-fascist charity in a statement  said on twitter yesterday“Resolve can be shaken in the aftermath of such incidents. Calls for revenge can abound. But we mustn't let the terrorists win. Nor those who welcome the hatred they bring.In the coming hours and days, there  will be some who call for more hatred. Who want nothing more than to meet violence with violence. That is the path to ruin. Please don’t be intimidated. Don’t give in. And don’t listen to haters.We’ll stand firm against all those who call for division; and with your help, we’ll expose those who call for terror too.”
In an apparent reference to people who might have double standards on political extremism, it adds:“London won’t be cowed, and neither will we. Please help us stand firm.Help  us expose those in ALL communities who want  to sow division and terror. In the face of tragedy and violence, help us bring hope and unity.”
Brendan Cox the partner of Jo Cox, a Labour MP, who died after being shot and stabbed outside  her constuency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire on 16 June by far-right extremist Thomas Mair has also urged Britain not to let itself be divided by the Westminster attack  saying the assailant no more represents British Muslims than his wife’s murderer represented the people of Yorkshire.Also saying‘ that the person who did this wants us to be fearful and divided , let’s show that we are neither’. So let's not let the racists divide us. Now more than ever we must stand in solidarity and diversity in these difficult times. and must reiterate our commitment to Stand Up to Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate and try and focus on what unites us.

 Stand Up To Racism unity vigil against hatred and division, Friday, 6pm, Downing Street, Unite Against Fascism counter-demonstration:  Don't let the racists divide us - no to fascist Britain First! Saturday 1 April, central London. Details tbc go to
There  will also be peace vigils across the country.

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