As this video shows, thousands of anti-racists from around the country joined the local community in Tower Hamlets today in an impressive show of unity and strength. It meant that some 600 supporters of the English Defence League were reduced to a rally just across the borough boundary at Aldgate. Though there were skermishes later in the day at Mile End and elsewhere, this is a victory for anti-racists and anti-fascists, who have stopped the EDL from unleashing large scale racist violence in one of Britain’s most multicultural and impoverished areas.
And this video is circulating, showing one EDL member, apprehended by police, shouting anti-Muslim hate at respected local journalist Emdad Rahman. As Emdad says, “this video shatters the myth that the EDL are not against all Muslims.”
Just like last year’s targeting of Tower Hamlets by the EDL, questions must be asked of those in the establishment that fuel the demonisation of the Muslim community in the area. Aided by considerable sections of the media, including full-time Muslim basher Andrew Gilligan, reactionary politicians have smeared progressive Muslims for years with unfounded accusations of support for terrorism and bigotry. In doing so, they have lumped the majority of Muslims together with a small unrepresentative fringe, paving the way for the EDL to echo this logic in its most violent form – on the streets.