Unity Platform Against Racism And Fascism

Although we didn’t know about this statement, our groups name has appeared on the bottom, while many members agree with the sentiments expressed within we are trying to also clarify the source:

“Against fascism in all its colours” – statement from Tower Hamlets activists

Author: Nurul Islam and others

The entry of the English Defence League (EDL) into Tower Hamlets to protest against a meeting organized under the auspices of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) is a direct provocation to stir up racial tensions, foment dissent among faiths and attempt to bring disunity amongst the communities of the borough.

We condemn the fascist EDL whose sole objective is to act as storm troopers for the British National Party (BNP) and pick up the pieces for them after their miserable rout in the local and national elections in neighbouring Barking and Dagenham Council. Under the guise of being non-political and upholding “English” values they are propagating a virulent form of naked Islamophobia which is rejected by the communities of Tower Hamlets. We will do everything in our power to defend the peace in the borough, protect the lives of Muslims and ensure that the unity amongst all is maintained.

This borough has a rich tradition of successful challenge to fascist forces of the Blackshirts and the National Front. The Battle of Cable Street in the 30,s and the Struggle for Brick Lane following Altab Ali’s murder in the 70’s and the move to oust Derek Beackon in the 90’s is part of our common history. The values of universalism, anti-racism and no compromise with fascism inform our thinking and has become part of our existence. We will build on this rich tradition as we face Oswald Mosley’s grandchildren.

As we confront the fascist thugs of EDL we in the Bengali and the Muslim community are being asked to stand side by side with Islamic Forum in Europe (IFE). This we refuse to do. The IFE does not represent the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets. They do not uphold the glorious tradition of Cable Street, Altab Ali and the anti racist movement. Under the patronage of an exclusivist Islam emanating from Saudi Arabia they are attempting to impose it amongst the Bengalis in this borough.

Just as the EDL takes the guise of being ordinary English citizen to hide their true identity of  fronting the fascist BNP so do IFE act as the sole representatives of ordinary Muslims but are in fact operating under the direction of their parent organisation Jamaat-e- Islami in Bangladesh. It is Jamaat that was party to the massacre of innocent Bangladeshis in the 1971 war of independence that establish the independent state of Bangladesh. A war Tribunal has been established in Bangladesh to try leaders of Jaamat-e- Islam who are IFE’s real ideological and organisational gurus. In other words IFE represent a virulent form of political Islam that is fascistic in nature like Jaamat Islam and verges on the anti-Semitic and is very exclusivist and undemocratic.

In defending the people of Tower Hamlets and especially the ordinary Muslims we do not have to defend IFE. EDL is attacking the Muslims of this borough and we must protect them. IFE must not be allowed to use this occasion to propagate their very reactionary version of political Islam.

We must also alert the entire community about the opportunist and divisive politics of IFE. Using this latest EDL threat to the local community, it is clear to us that the IFE brigade is trying to terrify the most vulnerable in our community – the Bangladeshi women and children into joining their ranks under the banner of ‘defending the Ummah’. It has come to our knowledge that IFE and its operatives have sent out mass e-mails, text messages and visited members of the community including young children in primary schools ask them to join forces and defend Muslims and East London Mosque from imminent threat of destruction.

All progressive forces must realize that the gut reaction to EDL is to defend everybody including IFE because they might be accused of being Islamophobic. But we boldly proclaim that it is not Islamophobic to have no trucks with the heirs of Fascist Jaamat. It is not Islamophobic to denounce the anti democratic credentials of IFE and their Saudi patrons. It is not Islamophobic to show solidarity with the Muslims of Tower Hamlets and their diverse representative organisations without marching under the leadership of IFE. We cannot be consistent in fighting the fascist EDL if we elect the “fascist” IFE as our Imam. In line with the best in the Islamic and Bengali tradition we reject the siren calls of IFE as we prepare to organise against EDL.

On behalf of:

Harmuz Ali (Bangladesh Welfare Association – BWA), Sajjadur Rahman (Brick Lane Mosque), Shamsuddin Shams (Altab Ali Memorial Foundation), Badrul Islam (Centre for Citizenship and Development (CCD), Akikur Rahman (Bangladesh Youth Association), Rajonuddin Jalal (London Bangladeshi Association), Ansar Ahmed Ullah (Nirmul Committee), Mahmoud Rauf (Brick Lane Business Association), Abdus Subhan Gedu (Banglatown Restaurant Association), Ethnic Minority Enterprise Project (EMEP), Abdul Ali Rauf (Chicksand Citizen’s Forum), Collective of Bangladeshi School Governors, Tower Hamlets Parents Centre, Tower Hamlets Parents Association, APASENTH, BYM, Nurul Islam (Kendrio Shaheed Minar Committee), Sundar Miah (Tarling Tenants & Residents Association), Nooruddin Ahmed (Bangladesh Youth League), Ruhul Amin (Progressive Youth Organisation), Taimus Ali (Bangladesh Youth Front), Shahab Uddin Ahmed Belal (Human Rights Secretary, Awami League), Cathy Forrester, Claire Murphy, Phil Maxwell, Terry Fitzpatrick (Blair Peach Project), Syed Sad Ahmed, Fanu Miah (Golden Moon Youth Project), Julie Begum (Swadhinata Trust),  Amina Ali (international Forum for Secular Bangladesh), Sujit Sen (Liberation), Gita Sahgal, Subir Sinha, Alice Sielle (St. Barnabas church Bethnal Green), Imtiar Shamim (Muktangon: Nirman Blog), Rayhan Rashid (War Crimes Strategy Forum), Saikat Acharjee (WCSF), Nowrin Tamanna (University of Reading), Anisur Rahman Anis ( Bangladesh Human Rights Council UK), James Swapan Peris ( Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council- European committee), Whitechapel Anarchist Group, Ansarul Haque, Tower Hamlets Muslim Council & Jim Fitzpatrick MP Poplar and Limehouse.

Contact for further details:

Mr. Nurul Islam – 07984 610199 / 07836 332262

On behalf of UNITY PLATFORM AGAINST RACISM AND FASCISM

C/O Bangladesh Welfare Association, 39 Fournier Street, London E1 6QL

17 responses to “Unity Platform Against Racism And Fascism

  1. “The IFE does not represent the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets.” – Nobody said it did, until you stated it.

    “community including young children in primary schools ask them to join forces and defend Muslims and East London Mosque from imminent threat of destruction.” – Are you absolutely pathetic?

    “A war Tribunal has been established in Bangladesh to try leaders of Jaamat-e- Islam” – Take your Bangladeshi politics and leave it in Bangladesh. We are in the UK, so talk about something more relevant!

    Some people obviously need something more constructive to do with their time. I suggest you go do something productive, like peeling potatoes, instead of causing hate amongst Muslims.

    • “The IFE does not represent the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets.”

      If that’s not the case, it’s not from want of trying!

  2. There are two sides to this question and I suggest everyone read the refutation of the UPAF statement put out by IFE itself; see .

    IFE responded angrily, and I think with justice, to the recent Dispatches programme which may be the source of some of UPAF’s accusations against it. Extracts below. I can find absolutely no trace of anti-semitism on the IFE web site. IFE has close links with the Cordoba Foundation, a progressive webzine with a lot of inter-faith material. (see http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/ ) They also organised a meeting to persuade Muslims to vote in the recent elections. Not a position normally associated with the ‘don’t vote for kufr parties/ wait for the caliphate’ lot. And no, I don’t work for IFE nor am I paid by them.

    I think people should beware of criticising Muslim organisations unless they are willing to enter into sufficient study of the positions and issues to understand what they are talking about from the actors as well as their critics. And I suggest WAG take greater care what’s put out in your name by UPAF (or anyone else).

    Statement On Recent Media Slurs

    Islamic Forum of Europe | March 1, 2010 https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox

    The recent media coverage concerning the Islamic Forum of Europe is grossly inaccurate and, in a number of respects, libellous. Needless to say we are considering our position (including with our lawyers). In the meantime, we cannot allow these false slurs to go unchallenged.

    The IFE is not a “radical” organisation and has never advocated the implementation of Shari’a law or an Islamic State in the UK.

    Further, the IFE categorically condemns violent extremism.

    The IFE encourages its members and the wider Muslim community to engage in the democratic process and to participate fully in society, as it is their right to do.

    The suggestion that there is anything sinister about this engagement with normal democratic processes, or that the IFE is bent on political ‘infiltration’ is untrue, inflammatory and socially divisive.

    Dispatches’ Attack on IFE Is Attack Against Us All!

    Channel 4’s Dispatches ‘Britain’s Islamic Republic’ launched a virulent attack against Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). For nearly a year, undercover reporters passing themselves off as Muslims attended meetings and events organised by IFE, to solicit replies to use against the organisation.

    The documentary alleged that not only is IFE a sinister and secretive organisation but that it is anti-democratic and condones violent extremism. It has further alleged that the IFE is attempting to improperly infiltrate mainstream British politics. Not only are these allegations defamatory but wholly untrue.

    The attack on mainstream Islamic organisations such as IFE is however not a new phenomenon. Attacks on organisations such the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Association of Britain, Interpal and individual personalities like Azad Ai, Dr Muhammad Abdul-Bari, Dr Daud Abdullah, Dr Kamal el-Helbawy and Anas Altikriti in the recent past is an unfortunate reality for Muslims in Britain.

    We must not let these unfair and unfounded attacks which are divisive and contribute to the rise of Islamophobia go unchallenged. This is politically-driven, with irresponsible politicians pandering to the Far Right.

  3. Sorry the urls went wrong in the above. The correct url for the IFE response to UPAF is http://www.islamicforumeurope.com/live/ife.php?doc=articleitem&itemId=475

    The second URL given is completely irrelevant but you don’t have to use it because what you’re intended to read is pasted into my earlier comment.

  4. Although the IFE claims not to be interested in Bangladeshi politics the minute I went on it’s website it had stuff in the “In Focus” section:
    http://www.islamicforumeurope.com/live/ife.php?doc=focus&itemId=18

    The politics of Bangladesh and the East End seem entwined and these articles pose some interesting points:
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/bangladeshi_3715.jsp
    http://www.humanistlife.org.uk/2010/03/from-secularism-to-sectarianism/

  5. Why are you Mr Nurul Islam & ‘Others’ settling personal issues with the IFE at this critical point – when the EDL are hell bent on attacking anyone who looks brown, I doubt they have sufficient brain cells to distinguish muslims, hindus or sikhs. Why are you trying to divide this community on the back of village politics in bangladesh! We are citizens of UK and do not give a ……about Bangladeshi politics! Keep the crap of BD politics and village partisan rubbish when you go on summer holiday to BD. Mr Nurul Islam and ‘others’ you are purely acting on envy that the community and the youth do not have faith in you to lead the community at this crucial time. This is a question of leadership and media limelight rather than IFE. Your incompentacy has no limits. STOP crying of BD civil war, worry about your home here and your existance in Tower Hamlets! Why this intense hate against IFE, EastEnd United is the umberalla that IFE falls under in protesting against the EDL why dont you attack EastEnd united? Mr Nurul Islam and ‘others’ you cowards can go back to your pay masters and FCK off! Stop trying to divide this community at this vulnerable time!

  6. abdullah ahsan

    The Government needs to take urgent action and seize the East London mosque from this political party and hand it over to real and unbiased/apolitical body. The East London Mosque is the Head quarter of the Jamate Islami from bangladesh and under the custody of their european representatives the IFE.

    All those that may not be aware the IFE only came into being after the numerous fights between the YMO and their elders at that time- Da’watul Islam. Da’watul islam was kicked out (literally) in the early 90s and the older thugs from the YMO formed IFE. It was also a lot to do with bangladeshi politics sylheti non-sylheti stuff

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  8. @ Hoque
    “when the EDL are hell bent on attacking anyone who looks brown,”

    Its this sort of UAF mass hysteria that sent the bengali’s crazy on sunday, lazy rhetoric, nothing else, The EDL have never physically attacked “brown” people, if you have proof please post a credible link. Remember, the EDL have nothing to gain through violent confrontation, the UAF has.

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