Muslim communities mobilise – and warn against Trump fatigue
by Felicity Collier in east London
WE could be “sleepwalking into genocide” unless we wake up from being “shocked and dumbfounded” by the effects of Donald Trump’s presidency, Muslim Safety Forum chairman Azad Ali warned yesterday.
Mr Ali urged communities to co-ordinate and organise, as “we should not allow this fascism to go unchallenged” and he warned: “We’re shocked, dumbfounded. We need to wake up — or we’re sleepwalking into genocide.”
Mr Ali was representing the advocacy organisation Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development) at the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel yesterday.
Muslim community groups and campaigners gathered there ahead of this Saturday’s Stop Trump’s Muslim Ban — Stop May Supporting It demo.
East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre executive director Dilowar Khan referenced Mr Trump’s description of Whitechapel as a “no-go area” in December 2015, when he was a presidential candidate.
At the time, the community in Whitechapel responded with a protest outside the East London Mosque, where Mr Khan addressed the crowd, saying there was “no such thing as no-go areas in London.”
Mr Khan expressed his concern yesterday about living in a world where the US president “wants to take us back to the days of racism and hatred” in light of his recent policy which stops people from countries that are predominantly Muslim from entering the US.
A rise in far-right politics, Mr Khan said, would “damage the fabric of society.” He recalled being attacked in the 1970s, when there were “no-go areas” for Muslims. He condemned Mr Trump’s ban as “unjust, discriminatory,” and stated: “We believe in a multicultural society.”
Over 7,000 worshippers gather at the the London Muslim Centre, which has three mosques and runs a programme of events which promote community cohesion.
Stand Up to Racism’s Weyman Bennett, who grew up in the surrounding area, described fond memories of the mix of different cultures and lauded it as one of the most integrated parts of London.
In the 1930s, the Battle of Cable Street took place nearby which turned back the fascist Oswald Mosley. In the 1930s-40s, Lord Alf Dubs passed through with his Kindertransport.
Mr Bennett said that withdrawing the invitation for Mr Trump’s state visit to Britain is “the basic thing” that Prime Minister Theresa May should do.
Stop The War Coalition’s Lindsey German condemned Ms May for her “indecent haste” in going to meet and hold hands with Mr Trump in the US.
She also expressed anger at the fact that it took a week for Ms May to comment on Mr Trump’s divisive travel ban policy and pointed out that the seven countries affected by the ban have either been bombed or occupied by the US.
Ms German expressed her outrage that the British public should have Donald Trump “wined and dined” at our expense.
This Saturday’s protests are expected to be attended by “unprecedented numbers” of people from the Muslim community.
The demo takes place this Saturday at 11am outside the US embassy at 24 Grosvenor Square, London, followed by a march to Downing Street.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott will be taking part in the march opposing Trump’s Muslim ban and demanding Ms May withdraw her offer to the US president to visit Britain.
Several groups are backing the demo to call for Trump’s state visit to Britain to be pulled in light of his imposed travel ban, which targets Muslims.
On February 20, a 1.8 million-strong petition opposing Trump’s visit will be debated in Parliament.