After London atrocity, no to racism, war

This video says about itself:

23 March 2017

In London a vigil is underway for the victims of Wednesday’s attack.

People have been gathering at Trafalgar Square to pay tribute to them.

Among the victims. 48 year old Keith Palmer, the unarmed police officer who was fatally stabbed as he stood guard at an entrance to parliament. Another victim, was 43-year-old Aysha Frade, She was on her way to collect her two daughters, who are seven and nine years old.

From TIME magazine:

Sughra Ahmed, a Muslim woman who traveled from northwest England for the vigil, said she’d been reduced to tears on the square by a woman who embraced her.

“Britain is one,” she said. “An attack on one is an attack on us all.”

MORE THAN £100,000 was raised online by yesterday afternoon for the family members of those murdered in Wednesday’s Westminster terrorist attack: here.

So far, there are only speculations, no facts about the motives of the perpetrator of this atrocity. Maybe we will never know. He killed and was killed without leaving any message as far as we know now. He had a history of involvement with drugs. Did that play any role?

From the Stop the War Coalition in Britain:

22 March 2017

Stop the War condemns the attacks at Westminster today. There can be no justification for the attacks on ordinary people in the street and those working in or providing security in the palace of Westminster. Our thoughts are with all those killed, injured or caught up in the incident. The police have said that they have designated this as a terrorist attack, and it shares some of the features of other such attacks across Europe recently.

Stop the War opposes the wars in the Middle East and South Asia. We believe that these have led to an increase in terrorism which has made life more dangerous not just for people in those regions, but in Britain as well. We have to oppose terrorism but also confront the issues which help to fuel it, and search for a peaceful and just solution to the problems of the Middle East. The role of our government should be to urgently look for such solutions, and not to maintain its involvement in wars which are helping to create this instability around the world.

By Julie Hyland in Britain:

Westminster attacker was known to British intelligence

24 March 2017

Much remains unclear about the terror attack on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in London that left five people dead and at least 40 others injured, some critically.

Unusually, it took more than 24 hours for the alleged perpetrator to be named. Khalid Masood, 52, a British citizen born in Kent and thought to have been living in the West Midlands, was killed in the incident.

Just before 3pm on Wednesday, he had driven a rented SUV at speed across Westminster Bridge, knocking pedestrians over, and causing one to jump into the River Thames, before the car struck a perimeter wall at the Houses of Parliament. He then jumped from his vehicle and attempted to force his way through an unlocked gate, fatally stabbing PC Keith Palmer with an 8-inch blade before he was shot by an armed police officer. He died later in hospital.

Parliament was placed on lockdown for several hours, and Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed to safety as armed police searched the building.

In her lunchtime statement before a reconvened Commons on Thursday, May only confirmed that the assailant was a British-born male who had acted alone. He was known to the domestic intelligence agency MI5, although only as a “peripheral figure,” and he was not “part of the current intelligence picture.”

Some 3,000 Britons are thought to be on MI5’s anti-terror surveillance list, but it appears Masood was not among them. May said that his identity was known to the police and security services and that, when “operational considerations allow,” he would be identified. He had once been investigated by MI5 in relation to “concerns about violent extremism.”

According to the Guardian, the original text issued by Number 10 said only that he had been investigated over such concerns, but not by whom. May did not state what these concerns were based on, or whether the subject had ever been arrested. According to subsequent reports, Masood had previous convictions for assault, criminal damage and possession of offensive weapons, but none for terror-related offences.

The patchiness of the prime minister’s statement was underscored by her assertion that the “working assumption” was that the attacker was “inspired by Islamist ideology,” but police “have no reason to believe there are imminent further attacks on the public.”

Despite this, police raided at least six properties in Birmingham, London and elsewhere, making eight arrests.

May also stated that in the absence of “specific intelligence” that a further attack is imminent, the UK’s security level would not be raised and would remain at “severe.” Police patrols would be increased across the country as a “precautionary measure,” including armed police in major cities.

May struck a Churchillian pose, warning that in the face of the terrorists’ efforts to “silence our democracy,” the “oldest of parliaments” would not be cowed and that British “democracy and the values it entails will always prevail.”

There is something profoundly distasteful about the use of such a horror for political grandstanding. The reality is that the MPs gathered in Westminster were probably the safest people in the country at that moment. The Houses of Parliament is the most heavily fortified building in London, complete with concrete bollards, barriers and heavily armed police officers.

Masood only managed to attack PC Palmer because a side gate had been left unlocked. If not, he would have turned his knife, not just his car, on people outside parliament.

Wednesday’s tragedy follows a pattern seen in Germany, France, Belgium and elsewhere.

A lone operative, known to the security services, launches an attack using a lorry, car, knife or some other unsophisticated weaponry to deadly effect. Once again, it is those going quietly about their daily lives who are the victims.

In Wednesday’s incident, these included Aysha Frade, a college worker, and American tourist Kurt Cochran, celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, who was injured in the attack. The fifth deceased individual was identified Thursday evening as a 75-year-old man.

In addition to the 12 Britons admitted to hospital, the injured include three French children, two Romanians, two Greeks, one Italian, one Pole, one German, one Irish, four South Koreans, one Chinese, one Italian and one American.

May’s statement, like the wall-to-wall media coverage, is aimed not at uncovering the truth of this incident, its origins and implications, but at concealing, confusing and ultimately silencing any discussion.

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian wrote, “The bastion of politics now has a human face, as vulnerable as the rest of us to an act of murderous violence.”

Westminster, like “Washington, DC” or “Brussels”, had been shorthand for a “loathed political establishment or distant, overmighty government,” he wrote. Wednesday changed this. MPs “locked in” the Commons chamber trying desperately to contact loved ones, or the images of Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood giving CPR to PC Palmer; all contributed to parliament being “seen not as the widely despised bastion of the political class, but a real place inhabited by office workers, tourists, security guards and groups of visiting schoolchildren.”

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon summed up the purpose of such wishful prattle, insisting that acts of terror were the responsibility only of the individuals who carried them out. …

The refusal to consider any political or social impulses for terror attacks goes hand-in-glove with the efforts to rehabilitate the discredited and loathed ruling elite, and to excuse the role its wars have played in fostering Islamist terrorism.

Just as the incident unfolded, foreign ministers from 68 countries were gathering in the US to step up their military intervention in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The day before, it was reported that a US-led airstrike had struck a school building in Raqqa, the ISIS capital of Syria, killing more than 33 people. Days earlier, a US strike on a mosque complex in the northwest of the country killed at least 52 people.

While there are no public reports of British involvement in these attacks, in December 2015 parliament voted to authorise UK military airstrikes in Syria.

Then there is the alliance between the US and the UK alongside Saudi Arabia and others, in financing, arming and training Islamic extremists in Syria, Libya and Iraq as its suits their interests. Not only does this increase the danger of terrorism, such reckless actions threaten a global conflagration. But any discussion on these questions is being ruled out of order.

Instead, the UK government follows Trump’s White House in imposing ever more worthless “security” restrictions, such as insisting laptops and tablets carried on certain airlines from specified airports be placed in the hold, rather than in the cabin. This is accompanied by shrill demands for greater police powers.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper demanded a massive increase in armed police, while the Daily Mail argued that such attacks make it seem “increasingly perverse to deny the authorities power to eavesdrop on our electronic communications for the purpose of protecting the public.”

As for Freedland and Corbyn’s calls for unity and solidarity, in reality the attack is being used to create an atmosphere redolent of the vicious anti-Muslim campaigns underway in the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Katie Hopkins said London is a “city of ghettoes behind a thin veneer of civility kept polished by a Muslim mayor [Labour’s Sadiq Khan].” She described a “war” taking place in the country, between “those who think it is more important to tip-toe around the cultures of those who choose to join us, rather than defend our own culture.”

Candles at the Trafalgar Square vigil

By Lamiat Sabin and Steve Sweeney in Britain:

We Won’t Let the Racists Divide Us

Friday 24th March 2017

Britain responds to the far-right trying to whip up hatred after the Westminster attack

FAR-RIGHT efforts to exploit the Westminster attack yesterday were overshadowed by calls for unity.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, London’s first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, Stand Up to Racism, anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) urged British people to resist being divided by racial and religious hatred.

Despite wide condemnation of the attack from the Muslim community, including from MCB which described it as “cowardly and depraved,” Stand Up to Racism said that fascist mob Britain First has already jumped to “call a march in London to spew their racism, hatred and division.”

Mr Corbyn urged people not to rush to judgement about Wednesday’s incident in which four people died — a policeman, a teacher from Spain, a tourist from the US and the attacker.

A Kent-born man — named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood, who had a history of convictions including for assault, weapon possession and public order offences — drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing it into the fence around Parliament.

He then ran into an out-of-bounds area of the parliamentary estate where he fatally stabbed one officer and tried to attack another before being shot several times by police.

The Labour leader paid tribute to Keith Palmer — the officer who was stabbed to death — the security services and NHS workers who took care of the injured and dying.

“We are united by our humanity and by our democratic values and by that human impulse of solidarity to stand together in times of darkness and adversity.”

His sentiments were shared by Mr Khan. Speaking on Sky News, the London mayor said that such attackers “hate the fact that in London, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, those who are members of organised faith and those who aren’t, don’t simply tolerate each other, we respect each other, we celebrate each other, we embrace each other.

“In the past we have risen, we’ve shown our resilience, we’ve returned to work and returned to normality. We have done it in the past and we will do it again now.”

The Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), a community-funded NGO dedicated to tackling Islamophobia, expressed shock and sorrow over the incident and paid tribute to the emergency services.

“The Palace of Westminster is the centre of our democracy and we must all ensure that it continues to serve our country and its people with safety and security.”

Hope Not Hate wrote in a statement: “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.”

These statements were made after the former leader of far-right group the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, took to the streets of Westminster to spread hate against Muslims.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage also sunk to a new low when he blamed support for multiculturalism for creating a “fifth column” of terror supporters in Western societies.

… And he praised US President Donald Trump for trying to implement his Muslim ban.

In a bizarre string of Facebook comments, Cambridge Labour county councillor Peter Sarris called for the introduction of internment — the detention of people without trial, as was used against Irish Catholic and nationalist communities during the Troubles.

Stand Up to Racism and Mend have called a vigil outside Downing Street at 6pm today.

Muslims at the Trafalgar Square vigil

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday 24th March 2017

RELIGIOUS leaders and experts described the Westminster terror attack as a “perversion” of Islam yesterday.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, said every ideology, whether religious or secular, has contained elements of extremism, so Muslims should not be blamed for what happened on Wednesday.

He said: “There is no space for hatred for those who are our friends, for hatred for the Muslim population in general in this country — no reprisals, no sense that we are targeting our condemnation at anybody other than those who perpetrate these things.”

Muslim leaders also condemned the attack, insisting it had nothing to do with Islam. Islamic law expert Mustafa Baig, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Exeter University, said British Muslims should not be “wrongfully blamed for acts that they themselves condemn.”

Calling on people to “stand together” with British Muslims, he said: “This grotesque act of violence was a perversion of the teachings of Islam.”

This Hope not Hate video from Britain says about itself:

24 March 2017

Stand together to spread a message of hope with Brendan Cox

whose wife, Labour MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a white supremacist pro-South African apartheid Islamophobe

and Mike Haines, whose brother David was murdered by ISIS.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Don’t Give Way To Hate

Friday 24th March 2017

JEREMY CORBYN’S insistence that we must not allow “fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cow us,” following the deadly events in Westminster, is wise advice.

His counsel of unity and letting the police carry out their responsibilities without a chorus of ill-judged allegations and supposition meets the needs of the situation.

It stands in contrast to the usual self-publicist renta-gob politicians and commentators who are happy to exploit other people’s grief to peddle their divisive obsessions.

Most politicians have followed advice to adopt a united and dignified attitude towards Wednesday’s unmitigated horror.

They have pointed to the magnificent response by the emergency services and NHS health professionals to events as they unfolded and paid tribute to unarmed police officer Keith Palmer who was murdered as he carried out his duties outside Parliament.

Morally stunted individuals of the ilk of Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and Katie Hopkins blame multiculturalism and mass immigration for “inviting in terrorism.”

They propagate the slander that Muslims and their religion, Islam, are directly or indirectly to blame for an atrocity committed by an individual.

In perpetrating this lie, they ignore the reality that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain share a similar approach to life, family, friends and neighbours as everyone else.

Farage’s associate Paul Nuttall accepts that only a “tiny fragment” of the Muslim community in this country has been radicalised.

But even then he can’t help attempting to smear all Muslims by concluding that even a lone wolf’s plans would have been shared by other people and adding: “I just wonder whether more could have been done to stop them.”

His demand that Muslim communities “do more to root out this cancer of radicalisation” amounts to guilt by religious association.

Local Muslim associations across Britain are engaged in constant struggles against those who would tarnish a religion that its believers characterise as peaceful by adopting the hateful views of a death cult.

Even unapologetic arch-war criminal Tony Blair has acknowledged the link between radicalisation and the anger and resentment generated by a succession of Western-directed or backed wars against Muslim states in north Africa and the Middle East.

Yet it is remarkable how few British Muslims have been seduced to enrol in the ranks of the Islamic State (Isis) fanatics who proclaim their goal of rolling back the centuries to create a caliphate of their own imagining.

Much more representative of Muslims in Britain is the swiftly set-up group Muslims United for London that collected £3,000 in its first hour of existence to support the families of those murdered or maimed in Westminster.

The same applies to the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) organisation working with Stand up to Racism for tonight’s unity vigil in Whitehall.

Their priority is to bring everyone together in opposition to hatred and fear, to racism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia and every other shameful pretext to sow division and discrimination.

Those who reach with a knee-jerk reaction towards their pet bugbears of multiculturalism and immigration to justify scapegoating entire communities are objectively allies of Isis.

They have a shared distrust of and antipathy towards a society in which people from many different backgrounds are not only tolerant but mutually respectful, living in peace, love and friendship alongside each other.

The views of the hate purveyors are outdated and will never achieve dominance as long as people stand up, speak out and refuse to be intimidated.

The far right wants to exploit the Westminster attack. London won’t let it, by Nesrine Malik: here.

BRITISH AUTHORITIES: NO EVIDENCE LONDON TERRORIST HAD CONNECTIONS WITH AL QAEDA, ISIS The senior national coordinator for U.K. counter-terrorism policing also said there was no evidence Khalid Masood was radicalized in prison. [Reuters]

London attack perpetrator was monitored by British intelligence six years ago: here.

10 thoughts on “After London atrocity, no to racism, war

  1. Yesterday’s demonstrations, called by Stand up to Racism, Muslim Engagement and Development — a Muslim-funded NGO dedicated to tackling Islamophobia — and supported by the Muslim Council of Britain and members of the Jewish community, aim to diffuse the potential backlash stemming from the attacks.

    Muslim Council of Britain National Council’s Talha Ahmad said: “Terrorism and murder have no religion. The murders of Jo Cox and Mohamed Saleem show hatred is not unique to any one community.”

    New North London Synagogue’s Rabbi Lee Wax urged people to “respond to hatred with love and with unity.”

    And Stand up to Racism coconvenor Sabby Dhalu said: “We strongly condemn this incident. We must unite against hatred. We cannot allow self serving right-wing racists to divide us — if we do hatred wins. “Terrorism has no religion or nationality.”

    A fund established to support the family of PC Keith Palmer, one of those killed, has so far received over £500,000 in donations. The family of Mr Palmer are said to be “overwhelmed” by the amount received.


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  3. Saturday 1st March 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    ANTI-FASCISTS will be out in force against the far-right’s sham “March Against Terrorism” in London today.

    Neonazi street gangs Britain First and the EDL are seeking to capitalise on the recent Westminster terror attack.

    A Unite Against Fascism spokesperson said: “The horrific attack in Westminster last Wednesday afternoon, where five people were killed and 50 others injured, has shocked us all. There can be no justification for such horror.

    “Sickeningly, in their haste to incite Islamophobia and hatred of Muslims, the fascists of Britain First have called a march in central London.

    “The weakened English Defence League have also said they will be in central London, in a similarly cynical attempt to capitalise out of the events in Westminster.

    “We should not be divided by racists and fascists.”

    The counter protest will gather from 12pm at the South African High Commission in London.


  4. An Open Letter from British Fighters Against the Islamic State

    We are some of an increasing number of British nationals fighting in Syria and Iraq as volunteers with local forces against the Islamic State.

    We wish first and foremost to express our sorrow and anger at the recent terrorist attack in Westminster, London, and to convey our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We know only too well what is to lose friends, to treat those horrendously wounded, to pull the dead and dying from the rubble.

    We also wish to express sympathy and solidarity with the many ordinary Muslims going to work and school today feeling that they are under special scrutiny, and fearful of what this might mean for them. We share their fear, and we urge anyone who might be tempted to take against ordinary Muslim people to think again. If you associate them with the Islamic State, you are giving such groups exactly what they want: a greater and more violent gap between the Muslim world and ours.

    The familiar sounds of hate and bigotry are sounding again – on social media, and in the more guarded mainstream press – where the intent is nonetheless clear. Hate crimes will spike again. There are calls to demolish mosques. The fact that local Muslims raised thousands for victim support, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, is easily drowned out by the bandwagon. The EDL have called a snap demonstration, eager to make hay from the suffering of innocent people.

    For all the sound and fury, we don’t remember seeing anyone from Britain First, EDL, UKIP, or their like, by our side in battle. Which is a good thing, because we wouldn’t have tolerated them.

    Our ranks are made up of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis, Brits, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies, Asians, Europeans – Muslims, Christians, Alevis, atheists – too many faiths and races to list. A multi-ethnic, multi-faith entity, standing united against hate and extremism. The majority are, in fact, Muslims, and not only are we proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them – the truth is, we can’t do this without them.

    The only way to defeat the Islamic State, and groups like it, is with ordinary, moderate Muslims on side. The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it.

    Don’t stand with Britain First, the EDL, UKIP or those who talk and think like them. Stand with us.


    British fighters of the YPG

    Joe Akerman

    Aiden Aslin

    Mark Ayres

    Botan England

    Michael Enright

    Macer Gifford

    John Harding

    Jac Holmes

    Steve Kerr

    Jim Matthews

    Ozkan Ozdil

    Shaun Pinner

    Joe Robinson

    Josh Walker


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