Bashing’s back: Do something about it.

11 06 2018
By Berkshire Antifascists
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It’s a really tense time for Muslims. In June last year, during Taraveh prayers (part of Ramadhan), there was a fatal attack against Muslims praying at Finsbury Park mosque. This weekend in Leeds, a mosque and Gurdwara were subject to an arson attack after a Free Tommy march. The incidents are too many to name, but the fear in the community is real. While Muslims look at the final stretch before Eid, we need to be actively supporting them and confronting a fascism that bought up to 10,000 people out in London this Saturday gone.

Turns out, racism is really complex. We’ve got state racism, street groups, conspiracy theory loons, political groups and much more to deal with. They target a multitude of people, from Jewish to Black, Muslim to general-hatred-of-non-white-people. Here, let’s talk specifically about Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims. This is not to erase Black Muslims, which often happens to a people who face both anti-Blackness AND anti-Muslim hatred, but because this specific post is about P— Bashing.

It’s not acknowledged that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are set up for failure, and fatally suffering because of it. We say POC, but unless used properly, we’re just dancing around saying Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (or any other specific group). Even when we say ‘Asian’, we ignore that Indians are actually much more favoured than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in the UK, with a +25 public opinion for them, and -3 for the latter.  While we’ll get to dismantling Capitalism another day, let’s look at where the community is in terms of socio-economic standing: 65% of Bangladeshis and 55% of Pakistanis live below the poverty line (the two lowest by ethnicity) compared to 20% of White British folks and 25% of Indian.

So why is the community failing to catch up in the Capitalist rat-race? We turned up after British controlled Partition with less skills, particularly language wise, because many came from deprived regions such as Azad Kashmir following the construction of the Mangla Dam in the 1960s, and others from Sylhet migrated following the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. This contributes to the segregation from other communities and why many (if not most) ended up doing manual labour, replaced now by working at fast food joints and taxi driving. It’s vital to look here at Colonial effects alongside proper class analysis. Opportunity for social advancement now? The BBC found in 2017 that Muslim men are 76% less likely to be employed than their Christian counterparts. This puts them pretty low on the ladder towards the Great British dream.

Pakistanis and Bangladeshis make up about ¾ (if not more) of the number of Muslims in the UK according to the Muslim Council of Britain, so if we consider then that 13% of the prison population is Muslim, we can bet a huge chunk of that will be Pakistani and Bangladeshi.

Pakistan as a state suffers from corruption and an Imperialist campaign to keep it propped up as a useful army base for the West, even shouldering civilian drone deaths from the West with little response. They are simultaneously blamed for harbouring terrorists while their children die in attacks like the 2014 Peshawar school massacre carried out by the Taliban. 90, mostly Pakistani migrants, drowned off the coast of Libya in February trying to reach the UK. This is not a closed chapter.

News outlets unabashedly shared the horror of hate crimes against Muslims going up by 40% in London, with no sense of irony at all. Completely oblivious it seems to the huge hand they play in convincing the population that Muslims are the ‘enemy among us’. Still though, none of these articles mention Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, perhaps because being found guilty of racial hatred is easier to prove and have backlash from than religious hatred.

So Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are poor, with little opportunity and minimal skills, which has bred resentment in a society which considers these things the most valuable. Hatred also stems from a combination of distorted coverage of Grooming Gang scandals and terrorist attacks carried out in the UK. These are minute, even combined, proportionately with the population of Muslims in the UK.

Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are majority working class, no matter what your 2018 Idpol vs Id-prole definition of that is. Unlike many of the fascists forming the bulk of the DFLA and Free Tommy demos, they’re not being courted by the Left as such, and are being attacked by their own working-class community daily.

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Makram Ali was murdered by a racist at Finsbury Park, as was Muhsin Ahmed in Rotherham in 2015. There are too many attacks and assaults to name. We can’t fully acknowledge and tackle this problem until we see what it is, instead of earning cookies online in the microcosm of Leftbook or just saying POC are being targeted by the DFLA. They’re not. Muslims are, majority Asian, and of course also Black and Middle Eastern. We need to start explicitly looking at the state of things around us, so we can change them, and that means calling a spade a spade. It also means, as Muslims, self-organising. It means, as non-Muslims, engaging properly with Muslim communities (which doesn’t include White Knighting). It means understanding the complexity of racism when you start to see a more ‘diverse’ crew at demos like the DFLA in June in Manchester.

Join your local Anti-Fascist group, start your own Anti-Fascist group, and get on the streets.

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2 responses

14 06 2018
dorsetiww
12 06 2018
wessexsolidarity

Reblogged this on Wessex Solidarity.

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