Sri Lankan Muslim victims of violence interviewed

Attacked mosque in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka

From the World Socialist Web Site in Sri Lanka:

Muslim victims of violence in Sri Lanka speak to the WSWS

By our reporters

17 May 2019

On Wednesday, WSWS reporters visiting Minuwangoda, a bustling town in the Gampaha district of Sri Lanka, discovered a ghost town. The town, with many Muslim-owned shops, is located 50 kilometres from Colombo in the Western Province. It has been devastated by an anti-Muslim rampage by Sinhala racist thugs.

Fully armed Sri Lankan army soldiers and police special task force officers are now “protecting” this town along the Colombo highway, after a rampage carried out with the direct or indirect backing of the police and military. The attack lasted several hours on Monday evening, before and after a curfew imposed by the government.

Military in the burned area in Minunwangoda

Other areas that came under attack included Chilaw, Nikaweratiya, Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola, Bingiriya, Kobeigane and Wariyapola. Kotramulla and Thummodera in the Naththandiya area experienced severe violence. All are located in the north-western province. One 45-year-old Muslim was killed by thugs at Kotramulla. Many were injured.

As WSWS reporters visited Minuwangoda, acting defence minister Ruwan Wijewardena toured the area with Muslim ministers, a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also toured the town. Town residents spoke with contempt of their promises of “protection for the people.”

Minuwangoda town is deserted. Apart from police and soldiers, only a few shopkeepers remain. Two cafes named Halal and Faus and over 50 Muslim-owned shops selling clothes, shoes and electronics were totally destroyed, as well as the Sinhala-owned Siripathi Dress Point and Echo shops. Windows and doors at a mosque at the centre of town were broken. The “Diamond Pasta” plant, Sri Lanka’s largest pasta-producing factory employing 500 workers, was also gutted. About 30 persons in the factory during the attack jumped from the windows to save their lives.

Almost all Muslim shops were closed for Ramadan prayers when the attack took place. Goons broke the shops’ locks, looted valuables and finally burnt them down.

The owner of Siripathi Dress Point at his shop

The owner of the Mohideen Shoe Palace told the WSWS, “Most of the attackers came from outside. Goods worth hundreds of thousands of rupees are now burnt to ashes. At Amra Tex, near our shop, denim trousers worth tens of millions were looted before the shop was burned.”

The owner of Jewel Moon lamented, “Most of our business is done in the festive season. Now, a huge amount of money has to be paid to wholesalers from whom we bought the goods.”

All the shop owners asked how they were to repay their bank loans after the destruction.

Muslim shopkeepers and store workers mostly live in Galoluwa, about 1 kilometre from the town. After the attack, security forces surrounded the area and intimidated people. Around the “Eksath Junction” area, 30 Muslim families’ houses were damaged by goons.

A worker said, “Soldiers came in black clothes, covering faces in black. Knocking doors with their guns, they shouted obscenities, saying ‘Thambio’ (Muslims). When we came out of houses they fired at the ground to intimidate us. All children in the village are still nervous.”

Mobs broke the gate to attack the house

Police searched the entire Galoluwa area two weeks ago but found nothing suspicious. The worker added, “Ordinary Muslim people have no connection with any violence. The bomb attacks were carried out by those who have links to ISIS. We thoroughly condemn their attack.”

The rampage followed the April 21 terror bombing of three churches—two in Colombo and one in the outskirts—and three luxury hotels, killing over 250 and injuring 500, bombings allegedly carried out by ISIS and the National Thowheeth Jamma’ath (NTJ) Islamist group.

Sahabdeen, 65, who supports his children and grandchildren by selling cheap snacks, said his house was attacked with stones: “I have two daughters and a son. They are married. One of the married ones has a three-wheeler but does not get enough business. I bear most of the family expenses. Our house does not have even proper electricity. What is expected by attacking us?”

Sahabdeen holding a stone thrown by thugs

Another person said, “The Minuwangoda urban council chairman, government and opposition ministers and MPs traded blame for the attacks. But no one came when we were hit, and shops were burned.”

A group of workers explained their view of the international situation to the WSWS. One said the American imperialists build up terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and ISIS and use them to manipulate resource-rich Middle East countries like Iraq: “America said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These were all lies. Recently, Libya and Syria were destroyed. Millions of people have been turned into refugees. In history, there have been conspiracies to bring pro-American governments to power.”

When another worker asked why the Sri Lankan government invites US intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI to Sri Lanka to investigate the bombings, the first replied, “This government also works with America.”

Halal Food destroyed

WSWS reporters discussed Washington’s war drive against China and its regime-change operation in 2015 to oust ex-President Mahinda Rajapakse’s regime, which it saw as too closely aligned with China. Rajapakse is not an opponent of imperialism, however, and now is reaching out to Washington.

A small businessman said, “We thought security forces were there to preserve peace. But we were hit with guns. Children were terrorized with filthy words. The media does not show these things.”

WSWS reporters explained the Sri Lankan ruling elite’s chauvinist politics. Anti-Tamil discrimination culminated in a 30-year communal war with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Now, every capitalist government notoriously sends state forces, police and thugs against the workers and oppressed, using the method of divide and rule to suppress struggles of the workers and oppressed masses.

Still burning shop

After the April 21 bombings, the communal propaganda of the bourgeois political establishment and capitalist media promoted anti-Muslim attacks across Sri Lanka to divide workers along communal lines.

These attacks were well organised with behind-the-scenes support of established political parties. Dayasiri Jayasekera, a prominent MP in Kurunegala district and secretary of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, was filmed going to Bingiriya police and securing the release of several arrested persons. He later held a press conference, claiming that he was there only to quell unrest.

Madumadhawa Aravinda, an ally of Rajapakse and leader of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), was also caught on video. He later said he was there on his way to another area.

Namal Kumara, a notorious chauvinist tied to the establishment, and Amith Weerasinghe of the Mahasohon Balakaya militia, implicated in racist violence in Digana last March, were arrested by police. Nearly 100 have been arrested in the past three days. In the past, such people have been promptly released.

Burnt down shops

In a Twitter message on Wednesday, Rajapakse “urged all members of any political party, including that of his, to maintain law and order and not to aggravate the already sensitive situation.” This is effectively an admission of the involvement of ruling class parties.

Like ruling classes in every country facing an upsurge of class struggle, the Sri Lankan ruling elite is rapidly turning to authoritarian forms of rule. President Sirisena, the government and defence establishment ignored advanced warnings of the terrorist attack, which is now being used to impose antidemocratic measures, including a draconian state of emergency, and suppress class struggles and rural unrest.

All the established parties have rubber-stamped these measures, based on their own police-state agenda. The army then takes the upper hand. Workers must oppose anti-Muslim violence and propaganda, the state of emergency, and unite across ethnic lines, build their own action committees and fight for a workers and peasants government on the basis of the struggle for international socialism.

Nine Muslim ministers of the Sri Lankan government resigned on Monday in response to renewed threats by fascistic Buddhist monks, Sinhala racists and other reactionary elements to violently attack the country’s minority Muslim population: here.


American racist murders, injures Jews

This 27 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Authorities say John Earnest, a 19-year-old white male, stormed the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, on April 27 killing one person and injuring three.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

In a manifesto published online Saturday under the name John Earnest, the writer described plans to kill Jews, referring to himself as an “anti-Semite” and “white supremacist”. It referenced the alleged shooters at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue and the New Zealand mosques, Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler as role models. The writer expressed no remorse for his impending actions.

The Post article mentions that a Democratic party politician and presidential candidate, Hickenlooper, reacted to this terrorist act:

It is a combination of President Trump’s leadership at the top but tied into some of the real challenges we have around issues of mental health.

This 27 April 2019 video by another Democratic party presidential candidate, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, says about itself

Six months since the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh & on the last day of Passover, a gunman opened fire at Chabad of Poway synagogue. We must stand united & condemn this anti-Semitism & all religious bigotry. An attack against one of us for our religion is an attack against all of us‬.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 27 April 2019:

Dead and wounded in attack on synagogue in California

An attack on a California synagogue killed one woman and injured three people, including a girl and the rabbi. …

The perpetrator opened fire with an automatic rifle in the prayer house of Poway city, north of San Diego. The attack came on the last day of the Jewish Passover. About a hundred people had gathered in the synagogue. …

US American media report that the perpetrator before the attack put a manifesto full of racist language and quotes from the Bible online. He also confessed to having set fire to a mosque in the city last month. Graffiti was found there about the attack on a mosque in New Zealand.

The incident takes place exactly six months after the attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh. On October 27, eleven people were killed in that synagogue. That was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.

A car barreled into eight people in California. Police say the driver was targeting Muslims: here.

Egyptian feminist against Islamophobia

Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Egyptian is a well-known feminist, who wrote several books about patriarchy, the rule of men, in the Islamic world. She is also a well-known critic of racism in the US, where she lives.

Eltahawy also played an important role on social media in the commotion surrounding the Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed who fled Saudi Arabia from her family. She was en route to Australia, but stranded in Thailand. Eltahawy, with more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, committed to her cause. …

Eltahawy explains that she is not only fighting against patriarchy, but that feminism is also about fighting other forms of intolerance such as white supremacy, racism, fascism and Islamophobia. “This is a time when hatred is growing in Europe, including the Netherlands. Two months ago a white extremist Islamophobic man slaughtered 51 Muslims. In the US we have a president who introduced a Muslim ban and continuously attacks one of the first Muslim women in the Congress.” She calls it dangerous times.

Donald Trump’s Islamophobia, video

This 14 April 2018 video from Democratic party Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the USA says about itself:

Trump foments religious bigotry for political gain

Trump is shamelessly trying to foment religious bigotry against Representative Ilhan Omar & all Muslims based upon the horrendous actions of a few individuals claiming to be Muslim. This is the very definition of religious bigotry & Trump is fomenting it for political gain. Dangerous & sad.

British Conservative party Islamophobia

This 21 September 2018 video by Owen Jones from Britain says about itself:

The Conservative party is racist

Conservative members of the European Parliament recently decided to give their backing to the far right Hungarian autocrat, Viktor Orbán. They were the only centre right party to back Orbán, who has been accused of both antisemitism and Islamophobia amongst other things.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. The Tories have a long history of racism in their ranks.

They’ve recently ignored [Conservative] Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s calls to hold an inquiry into the rampant Islamophobia in their ranks, Zac Goldsmith’s campaign to become London mayor was dripping with Islamophobia, Boris Johnson‘s political and journalistic career has been characterised by racist bilge and that’s before we even get into the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell.

The Conservative party fans bigotry and divides communities in order to gain political power. It always has done and, I think, always will do.

By Margot Miller in Britain:

UK Conservatives’ rampant Islamophobia and racism covered up by party tops, downplayed by media

29 March 2019

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Labour Party leader in 2015, a hysterical witch-hunt against him and the wider left has been led by the Blairites, the media and the ruling Conservative Party equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. …

These smears and lies, designed to rewrite political history to associate the left with anti-Semitism, have been conducted by newspapers all but blind to the naked Islamophobia and racism within the Conservative Party.

This month an anonymous Twitter account, @matesjacob, sent damning material to the Guardian which it was obliged to report. On March 5, the Guardian reported that 14 Conservative members had been suspended for allegedly making Islamophobic comments on social media that could have been easily unearthed by any major newspaper. In total, the party suspended more than 40 members over allegations of anti-Muslim behaviour.

On March 18, the BuzzFeed news site reported that another 25 self-proclaimed Tories had posted similar offensive material on Facebook. Buzzfeed noted that the Tories “refused to say how many of the 25 had been suspended.”

Within days, on March 24, the Guardian reported that 15 of the suspended Tory members, who served as elected councillors, had been quietly reinstated. The Guardian noted that its research “suggested that in the majority of cases where a councillor was reprimanded for retweeting or sharing offensive content, they were later readmitted to the party.”

Conservative councillor Martyn York, in Wellingborough, a moderator for the Facebook page “Boris Johnson: Supporters’ Group”, was recently suspended for Islamophobic comments, including some inciting violence, that were allowed on the site with 4,800 members.

Dorinda Bailey, a former Conservative council candidate and member of the group, replied to a user saying of mosques, “Bomb the f****** lot”: “I agree, but any chance you could edit your comment please. No swearing policy.”

Group members referred to Muslims as “ragheads” and described immigrants as “cockroaches”. One told a black soldier to “p*** off back to Africa” and for black former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya to be “put on a banana boat back home”.

Two Conservative councillors from East Staffordshire resigned following criticism for liking and sharing a post which showed the queen beheading London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

On the same day as it reported the reinstatement of the councillors, the Guardian published evidence of five more Islamophobic social media postings by Tory party members.

One said, “Muslims are cavemen” who should be “rounded up”, alongside offensive remarks about Muslim women on a Facebook page, the “Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group.”

A filthy social media posting, uncovered by matesjacob, and written just days before the fascist gunman Brenton Tarrant murdered 50 people in a massacre at two mosques in New Zealand, declared, “I was going through a few magazines the other day down the local mosque. I was really enjoying myself. Then the rifle jammed.” The Guardian reported that the author of these lines “photographed himself with Boris Johnson in 2015.” Johnson is a leader of the Tory’s hard-Brexit wing, former foreign secretary and expected future leadership contender.

Other comments included, “turf all Muslims out of public office”. Another wanted to “get rid of all mosques” agreeing that “no Pakistani should become prime minister”. Another read, “A practicing Muslim should not be allowed to work in any of the emergency professions.” “No Muslim will get my vote”, read one post and another, “stand against the Islamification of our country.” A vote cast for [Conservative] Home Secretary Sajid Javid would be a vote for “Islam to lead this country”, wrote another.

Most sinister of all, one post in the group showed a map where all mosques are situated in the UK, eliciting several racist responses including, “[W]e’re just letting the takeover happen.”

Brenton’s Tarrant’s massacre in Christchurch was followed by a number of attacks on mosques in the UK. In 2017, the fascist Darren Osborne drove a van into Muslim worshippers outside London’s Finsbury Park Mosque that left one dead and 10 injured.

Racist views pervade the highest echelons of the party. Conservative MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, posted an article on Facebook last year with the inflammatory header “Muslim Somali sex gang say raping white British children ‘part of their culture.’” He invited Indian anti-Muslim Hindu politician Tapan Ghosh to Parliament last year. While in Britain, Ghosh met with Tommy Robinson, the far-right ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL).

The leader of Swale Borough Council, Andrew Bowles, found himself suspended after sharing a post defending Robinson as a patriot. He was fully reinstated after just 13 days. Solihull Borough Councillor Jeff Potts was also readmitted after his suspension last September for tweeting that all Muslims should face deportation, otherwise they would “kill innocent people for generations to come.”

Another reinstated councillor is Mike Payne from Calderdale, who posted, “France slashed benefits to Muslim parasites”.

A Conservative candidate for Hounslow council, Peter Lamb, was forced to resign, though his initial suspension was lifted, after tweeting in 2015, “Islam is like alcoholism. The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.”

The Muslim Council of Britain has been calling since 2016 for the Conservatives to hold an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party, the scale of which they describe as “astonishing.” The Council told VICE that “racists clearly feel emboldened by Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments.”

Last Summer, Johnson was denounced for “dog-whistle” Islamophobia by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a former Conservative chair and the UK’s first Muslim cabinet minister, after he compared Muslim women in burqas to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

Warsi has accused her party of “institutional” anti-Muslim behaviour and “turning a blind eye” to prejudice. She has demanded an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party for three years.

While trying to downplay evidence of widespread racism within the party, ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman was forced to acknowledge that it “has a Tommy Robinson tendency”. However, the site, owned by former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Ashcroft, is itself littered with Islamophobic comments.

The VICE website reported that one posting on the site likened the burqa to “SS uniforms” and raised the need “to eradicate the cancer of Islam” and “Middle Eastern cultures”. Another wrote, “People like the EDL want to protect English communities from the very apparent depredations of Muslim grooming gangs and other predatory behaviour.” Another asked, “Do we English wish to be integrated with the foreign populations colonising, displacing and replacing Us?”

The Conservative Party has a long history of whipping up racism in a divide-and-conquer strategy to legitimise its policies of austerity, militarism and war.

Since 2002, 63 people belonging to the “Windrush generation” of West Indian migrants residing legally in the UK have been snatched from their homes and deported illegally.

For a month in mid-2013, the Home Office sent vans into six London boroughs with high immigrant populations plastered with the slogans: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” May launched this policy as home secretary in the Cameron-led Tory government.

In January 1978, Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made the infamous statement that “people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.” In 2014, then Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon repeated Thatcher’s words, declaring that towns in Britain are being “swamped” by immigrants. They were “under siege [with] large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits.”

The postings uncovered from only a small number of the many pro-Conservative social media pages must be taken together with the innumerable comments posted in pro-Tory newspapers as proof that Britain’s ruling party is a hotbed of fascist reaction. While fascism does not yet have a mass social base, a rabid, fascistic layer is being deliberately nurtured and encouraged by the Conservatives, as with other bourgeois parties internationally, as they move to more authoritarian forms of rule and make ready the forces who will be used to combat a resurgent movement of the working class.

New Zealand mosque murderer and other fascists

This 15 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Burnett: Trump embraced same word as suspected shooter

CNN’s Erin Burnett discusses President Trump‘s reaction to the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, at two mosques by a white nationalist that left 49 [50] people dead and dozens injured.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Fighting ‘The Great Replacement’

SOLOMON HUGHES tackles the ways in which the modern fascist movement are pushing their ideas into the mainstream

THE Christchurch mass murder shows fascism’s violent extreme. But, as the alleged killer’s manifesto shows, the fascists are also looking at ways to reach into the mainstream.

Worse, you don’t have to look to hard to see mainstream politicians reaching back and playing with the same racist themes that have ended in bloodshed.

Fifty men, women and children had their lives brutally taken. The pain, bravery and dignity of the victims and their loved ones should be in our hearts. But unfortunately we also have to understand the poison that killed them.

The killer wanted to murder his way from zero to hero. I don’t want to reward this inadequate man by taking his essay too seriously, but the document does show a core modern fascist idea in its title: “The Great Replacement.” Fascists want to convince the world that immigrants are “replacing” white people in the West: they particularly hate Muslims, but all non-white folk, Jewish people and Roma are also called “invaders” who must be driven out.

This basic racism leads to a full fascist ideology: immigrants are succeeding because “white birth rates” are too low: “white” women must have more babies. Western culture is causing the “destruction of the traditional family unit” because of “degenerate pop icons” — the manifesto singles out Madonna and Freddy Mercury among the bigger dangers.

Murdering people at prayer, wanting a society that will stop pop music and make “white” women have more babies to outnumber “immigrants”, calling our migrant friends, neighbours and workmates “invaders” — it’s not a politics that will easily appeal beyond an ugly hard core.

Fascists know their full politics look ugly and sound stupid to most, so have strategies to reach beyond their core. They are very keen on mainstream politicians who reflect just some of their views. They want to smuggle their ideas out disguised in “humour” or “irony”, because stating them directly causes revulsion.

A leaked style guide for leading fascist website The Daily Stormer says why: it promotes the “ironic”, sarcastic style of far-right talk that has become synonymous with the “alt right” because “most people are not comfortable with material that comes across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred.” It says: “The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not.”

The Christchurch manifesto justifies actual murder, but also encourages using “edgy humour and memes”. Using semi-secret, deniable signs and jokes is a way for fascists to build a wider group of friends in the broader right. So racist pranksters on the website 4Chan/pol/ promoted the idea that the “OK” hand symbol could also stand for “W.P.” or “White Power” — the circled finger and thumb forming the top of the “P,” the three loose fingers the “W.”

This gives loads of racists the chance to be “playfully” racist. Make the “OK” symbol with an ironically arched eyebrow. Should any “liberal” complain, just say they are being paranoid and it’s no more racist than a “thumbs up”. It sounds absurd but it is also sinister.

The alleged Christchurch gunman carefully posed with the “OK” sign in handcuffs, at his first court appearance. It’s a right-wing prank using the same fingers which may have been pulling the trigger and ending lives just a day before.

The manifesto also encourages the spread of racist attitudes beyond the right. The full “Great Replacement” theory is for the hard core. But anyone suggesting there are “too many” immigrants, or that they are “taking over” any part of the West is a good thing.

So the manifesto states: “The person that has influenced me above all was [Hitler whitewashing] Candace Owens” — a leading figure in pro-Trump group “Turning Point USA”. … But this is hiding Owens’s worth to the hard right in a “joke”.

Owens has often used “Great Replacement” themes, writing, for example “according to the birth rate, Europe will fall and become a Muslim majority continent by 2050” — making core fascist ideas mainstream.

Fascists being pleased about rightwingers picking up their themes is one danger. The bigger one is that conservative politicians seem keen to pick up these fascist themes. Tory politicians and right-wing media are aware that, thanks to economic stagnation, they are not attracting voters, leaving them with a smaller, ageing group of supporters. They think a dose of nationalist or racist tonic will give them a bit of zing: they are looking to the same “alt-right“ territory.

So we see “Great Replacement” themes of Muslims or other immigrants “taking over” “white territory” being mobilised across the right: “No Go” areas, “Sharia law” spreading, the Muslim “birth rate,” “invasions” by ships of migrants and so on appear throughout the Tory-supporting press and among Conservative Party “intellectuals.” We see the Tories enthused when Owens — named in the fascist manifesto — launches “Turning Point UK”,

When Boris Johnson makes crude insults about some Islamic dress making women look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”, he is trying to spice up the Tories’ waning appeal with racist energy. It’s disgusting, and it is also dangerous. The Tories want some of that racist oomf. It will encourage fascists and drive “official “ politics to ugly solutions.

We need to expose the link between these smaller racist arguments that Conservatives are playing with and the unattractive fascist theory behind them — this is not just casual prejudice, it is a plan by deluded, violent people who want to attack immigrants, and also think popular music is degenerate and are obsessed with how many babies people have.

We can also support New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s declaration of “As-Salaam-Alaikum” — peace-be-upon-you, and the way she has shown, directly and physically, that Muslims and all immigrants are our brothers and sisters.

British racists, New Zealand Islamophobic massacre copycats

This video says about itself:

New Zealand: Mourners continue laying flowers for Christchurch shooting victims

Mourners continued to pay respects to the victims of the deadly Christchurch shootings, next to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Sunday.

By Paul Mitchell in Britain:

Far right attacks on UK Muslims following New Zealand massacre

21 March 2019

Several right-wing assaults have taken place in Britain since the horrific killing of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand March 15.

Within hours, a 27-year-old man was attacked with a “hammer” and a “batten”, causing injuries to his head, outside a mosque in Whitechapel, East London. The victim had to be taken to hospital for checks before being discharged. The attack started when a gang of white men in their 20s shouted Islamophobic abuse and called the Friday worshippers “terrorists”, according to witnesses. “The suspects returned to their car and left the scene before police arrived,” a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police said.

Despite the incident being filmed by several onlookers, no arrests have been made by the police.

While describing the attack as a “horrible hate crime”, Detective Chief Inspector Sean Channing was desperate to play down its significance. “Whilst there were initial Islamophobic comments made by this group towards the individual which are being treated seriously, I would like to make clear that at no point did the group approach any mosque or congregation in the area… There is no evidence to suggest that the mosque near the area was the intended target.”

On Saturday in Stanwell, near London’s Heathrow Airport, a 50-year-old man went on the rampage with a knife and baseball bat while shouting “All Muslims must die!”

Local residents described him also screaming, “White supremacists rule!” and “Do you wanna die? Well you’re gonna die!’’ before knifing a young Muslim teenager.

The suspect had previously been arrested for sending threats online.

A 24-year-old Syrian neighbour, Nemer Salem, said he had heard a man shouting racist abuse earlier on Saturday including “some crazy things about Muslims… I’m a Muslim and I got a little bit worried.” Another neighbour explained, “He never used to be like this, but over the last couple of months it’s like someone’s flipped a switch and he’s a completely different person.”

The alleged assailant was arrested near the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and racially aggravated public order. The victim of the stabbing was taken to hospital with his injuries described as not life-threatening.

On Sunday, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing declared, “Whilst this investigation is still in its infancy, it has hallmarks of a terror event, inspired by the far-right, and therefore it has been declared a terrorism incident.”

The confirmation of a right-wing terror attack by Basu makes a mockery of his claims in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch attack, echoed by the press and politicians, that what happened there was unconnected to the UK. Basu made the ludicrous claim that “there is no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the UK.”

But as Socialist Equality Party (UK) national secretary Chris Marsden explained at the launch of the English-language edition of Why Are They Back? Historical Falsification, Political Conspiracy and the Return of Fascism in Germany in London Sunday, the Christchurch killer, Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, was “part of an international network of far-right organisations”. He had been radicalised in Europe including the UK.

In his 73-page “manifesto”, Tarrant made hero-worshipping reference to British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley and Darren Osborne, imprisoned in 2017 after driving a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park mosque in north London. Osborne had planned to assassinate London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had been physically assaulted only last month at the same mosque. In his manifesto, Tarrant stated that Sadiq Khan is among three politicians who should be targeted for assassination.

Marsden explained, “In Britain, the Brexit referendum had been accompanied by a deluge of nationalism. In June 2016, … fascist Thomas Mair had shot and stabbed Labour MP Jo Cox to death. …

In February, the trial began regarding a neo-Nazi plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper on behalf of the banned far right group, National Action. Jack Renshaw, 23, bought a machete and carried out research online planning how to kill Cooper for National Action and “white Jihad”. Renshaw has admitted preparing an act of terrorism but has denied being a member of National Action. He is on trial at the Old Bailey alongside Andrew Clarke, 34, and Michal Trubini, 36, from Warrington, who also deny membership of the proscribed organisation—which was banned over its support for the murder of Jo Cox.

This week Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated organisations, mosques, charities and schools, said that Britain’s Muslim communities were “living under a palpable sense of fear.”

The Christchurch massacre, Khan continued, “makes the risk of copy-cat attacks here in the UK a real possibility, especially in a climate where we are now fully appreciating the growth in the far-right.”

Khan contrasted the government’s commitment of £14 million to support the security of around 400 synagogues and 150 Jewish schools (equivalent to £25,000 per institution) to counter “religiously based hate crime” (12 percent of total recorded hate crimes) with the £2.4 million handed out over three years to all other faith institutions. That is equivalent to less than £500 for each Muslim institution, even though 52 percent of hate crimes are directed at Muslims. Religious hate crimes rose by 40 percent, from 5,949 in 2016-17 to 8,336 in 2017-18, according to the Home Office.

More than 350 leading Islamic figures from countries including the UK, US and South Africa have signed a letter to the Guardian, which links Tarrant’s actions to an atmosphere of “systemic and institutionalised Islamophobia.”

The letter says: “This bigotry has been fuelled by certain callous academics, reckless politicians as well as media outlets who regularly feature those who demonise Islam and Muslims with impunity, disguising their vile mantra behind a veneer of objectivity.

“The massacre of Muslims did not just begin with bullets fired from the barrel of Tarrant’s gun. Rather it was decades in the making: inspired by Islamophobic media reports, hundreds and thousands of column inches of hatred printed in the press, many Muslim-hating politicians and unchecked social media bigotry.”

Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a Muslim, felt obliged to call on the government to counter Islamophobia, saying it was the party’s “bigotry blind spot.” Last July, she called for a “full independent inquiry,” saying, “I’ve been warning my party of its ‘Muslim problem’ for far too long.” She had repeatedly raised the issue over the past three years—including writing to Theresa May—but “absolutely nothing tangible has happened”.

“I don’t really believe we have that big a problem,” one former minister told the Guardian. Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis accused Warsi of “missing out on key facts” about the party’s “clear process” and “swift action”.

His comments are shown up for the lies they are by the fact that this month saw 25 Conservative members suspended pending investigations that they made Islamophobic statements on social media. One made the comment, “I was going through a few magazines the other day down at the local Mosque. I was really enjoying myself. Then the rifle jammed.”

Last month, 14 Conservative members of the Facebook group, “Jacob Rees-Mogg: Supporters’ Group,” were suspended for Islamophobic and racist comments, including demands to “send them home now.”

Thursday, March 21, 2019. British Muslims call on government for support in fight against Islamophobia after five mosques attacked in Birmingham: here.

On a Brazilian extreme right school shooting, by Miguel Andrade, 21 March 2019:

Brazil, one of the most unequal and violent countries in the world, was left stunned a week ago on Wednesday by the brutality of a school shooting in the city of Suzano, in the industrial belt surrounding São Paulo. Two former students of the Raul Brasil State School, one aged 17 and the other 25, opened fire during a class break, killing five students and two school officials and wounding 17 others, before the 17-year-old shot his older accomplice and killed himself as the police arrived. …

Much evidence, including social media posts, has also shown that the shooters had grown increasingly close to the far-right milieu, including to the online defenders of unabashed police violence in Brazil and promoters of violent threats against public figures associated with the left, and, not least, those targeted by Brazil’s fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro himself.

At some point, Monteiro started adopting American neo-Nazi symbols, including the skull balaclava that he wore when he invaded the Raul Brasil school, and which is worn by members of the neo-Nazi “Atomwaffen Division” in the US. An active line of investigation is being pursued into what extent the shooters had been involved with dark web “chans”—like those used by the fascist terrorist of Christchurch, where, in the wake of the massacre, monitors have detected not only messages of celebration, but also the emergence of messages being attributed to the shooters in Brazil.

This 15 March 2019 video from Canada says about itself:

New Zealand mosque shootings: Vigils mourn victims worldwide

Christchurch victims were mourned and racism denounced at vigils across Canada and the world.

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

After far-right terror attack, New York Times glorifies New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

21 March 2019

Following the March 15 terrorist attack by Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant, who killed 50 people in two Christchurch mosques motivated by hatred of immigrants and Muslims, the political establishment and media in New Zealand, Australia, the US and Europe have sought to wash their hands of any responsibility for the massacre.

The gunman is being falsely presented as someone who acted alone and whose extremism had nothing to do with the right-wing, anti-immigrant policies advocated for decades by the media and capitalist politicians. Seeking to cover its tracks, New Zealand’s opposition National Party removed a link from its website to a petition opposing the recent UN Migration agreement. Media outlets such as Newstalk ZB have reportedly been removing articles from website archives demonising Muslims. The media and government are largely blaming the tragedy on social media and demanding a crackdown on the ability to upload live videos.

A major element of the campaign to divert attention from the real causes of the terrorist attack is the near-universal glorification of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “inspirational” leadership. A nationalist personality cult is being promoted around Ardern in order to drown out any discussion of the role played by the Labour Party, and every party in parliament, in promoting anti-immigrant xenophobia to divide the working class and deflect blame for the social crisis created by capitalism.

On Tuesday the New York Times, the US newspaper of record, aligned with the Democrats, published an article by Sushil Aaron, “Why Jacinda Ardern Matters”, which declared that Ardern’s “moral clarity is inspiring the world”. New Zealand’s prime minister, Aaron declared, “is emerging as the definitive progressive antithesis to the crowded field of right-wing strongmen like President Trump, Viktor Orban of Hungary and Narendra Modi of India, whose careers thrive on illiberal, anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

As evidence, Aaron pointed to Ardern’s expressions of sympathy at vigils and meetings with victims’ families. He also cited the prime minister’s suggestion that Trump should show “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.” This lame comment is being falsely depicted as a major rebuke to Trump, a fascistic figure who has deliberately stoked anti-Muslim bigotry and was seen by the Christchurch terrorist as a “symbol of white renewal.”

The Times article largely resembles a travel advertisement for New Zealand, depicting the country as a liberal paradise with “a national culture unlike any other in Europe or the Americas,” beautiful scenery, parks, libraries and “modest” healthcare and education costs.

Outrageously, Aaron claims that migrants face only “subtle forms of exclusion” in New Zealand and “there is a vibrant political debate on immigration and about the need to import skilled labor without provoking domestic tensions—all conducted without rancor or vitriol.”

The entire article is a pack of lies and distortions. Like similar articles in the UK Guardian and the New Zealand and Australian media, the New York Times does not mention the fact that the Labour Party has for years worked in an alliance with the right-wing nationalist NZ First Party, the main promoter of anti-immigrant, anti-Chinese and anti-Muslim demagogy.

Labour has adopted NZ First’s policies, including demands for major reductions in immigration. As in Europe, India and the US, right-wing nationalists have been actively promoted within New Zealand and are now at the centre of the government.

The Labour Party and the Greens contested the 2014 and 2017 elections in an alliance with NZ First and the three parties formed a coalition government in October 2017. Far from being the antithesis of the Trump administration, as the Times would have it, the Labour-NZ First-Greens coalition deal was backed by Washington. Following the election, Trump’s appointed ambassador Scott Brown publicly criticised the previous National Party government for its reluctance to fully endorse Trump’s threats against North Korea, and made clear that the next government should align more strongly with the US build-up to war against China.

NZ First, which only received 7.2 percent of the votes, was given unprecedented power by Ardern. Its leader Winston Peters was made foreign minister and deputy prime minister. NZ First’s Ron Mark became the defence minister.

The Ardern government significantly strengthened the alliance with the US. Its 2018 defence policy statement adopted the Trump administration’s description of Russia and China as the main “threats” to global stability. Peters has called on the US to increase its military presence in the Pacific to push back against China, while supporting a media-led witch-hunt against Chinese “influence” in New Zealand.

Peters told the media on Tuesday that the Christchurch atrocity was “committed by a person who is not a New Zealander, is utterly contrary to our core beliefs.” On the same day, however, he refused to retract his past anti-Muslim statements, including a 2005 speech in which he said “New Zealand has never been a nation of Islamic immigrants,” and accused moderate Muslims of working “hand and glove” with “militants” who threatened “the Christian faith.” Labour and the Greens made no criticism of Peters’ stance.

In June 2016, after Peters delivered another chauvinist rant accusing the Islamic community of harbouring “extremists”, Green and Labour MPs hypocritically denounced his statements as “shameful” and “disgraceful”. At the same time, however, Greens leader James Shaw told TVNZ: “I feel very comfortable with the idea that we may end up working with NZ First” in government.

The climate of anti-Muslim racism which helped produce the fascist attack in Christchurch has been deliberately created to justify the US-led “war on terror”, which successive Australian and New Zealand governments have supported over the past two decades. The Ardern government has kept soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been implicated in massacres of civilians. More than a million people have died in these brutal imperialist wars.

The Labour Party has always used nationalism and anti-immigrant policies to divide the working class. Following the 2008 financial crash, Labour supported the then-National Party government’s austerity measures, which led to soaring social inequality, and repeatedly sought to divert blame onto immigrants.

In 2015, Labour notoriously scapegoated people with “Chinese sounding names” for New Zealand’s lack of affordable housing, caused by rampant speculation. The Ardern government banned foreigners from buying houses. It also restricted the ability of foreign students to work in New Zealand, after NZ First … attacked them for “taking” jobs from “Kiwi workers.”

Then-Labour leader Andrew Little declared in 2017 it was too “easy [for employers] to get somebody from overseas and keep locals out of work.” Such nationalist rhetoric failed to boost the party’s support in the working class, where it is widely seen as a party of war and big business, just like National. The working class is increasingly international in character, with one in four New Zealand residents born overseas.

Ardern was made leader just two months before the 2017 election in a desperate bid to save the party from a disastrous defeat. Despite a media campaign to promote her as progressive, based on her youth and her gender, Labour only received 36 percent of the votes and could only form a government with NZ First and the Greens.

Since then, Ardern has been glorified in the international media, including for having a baby while in office, which was ludicrously presented as a major step forward for “women workers”. …

The posturing of Ardern and the Labour Party as opponents of anti-Muslim xenophobia and racism is an attempt to cover up the fact that every establishment party in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the US has helped to create the foul political atmosphere in which fascists and right-wing nationalists have grown. Fascism can only be defeated by the international working class, united in a socialist struggle against the capitalist system, which is the source of austerity, nationalism and imperialist war.