A Muslim community leader has been firebombed, harassed and abducted since the start of a fascist ‘anti-Islam’ crusade, reports Esme Choonara
A Muslim man from Loughton in Essex who was kidnapped at knifepoint last week says he believes the British National Party (BNP) is to blame for inspiring the hate campaign against him.
Noor Ramjanally organises Friday prayers for local Muslims at a community centre in Loughton.
He said that two white men seized him outside his home on Monday of last week. They bundled him into the boot of a car and dumped him in nearby Epping Forest after warning him to stop holding prayers.
Noor Ramjanally says that he believed he was going to die.
The abduction follows a vicious anti-Muslim campaign by the BNP in the area that has specifically targeted Muslim use of the community centre.
The BNP has four district councillors and five town councillors in the area – all in wards in Loughton. They have systematically whipped up racism and hatred.
The July edition of the BNP’s Epping Forest Patriot, delivered to many households in the area, was headlined “No Mosques in Loughton” and was specifically targeted at the prayers that Noor Ramjanally organises.
Under a picture of a union flag being eaten away by the crescent, the Nazi BNP leaflet says, “In parts of neighbouring Redbridge and east London the Islamification process is almost complete. We’ll do all in our power to prevent Islam creeping into our town.”
Noor Ramjanally has organised Muslim prayers at the community centre since March.
In July he received a hand-delivered anonymous letter that read, “We don’t want you to carry on at this. We know which school your kid goes to and which car you drive.” The next day his house was firebombed.
Noor says that in response he has had a lot of local support.
“It is only the BNP who want my Islamic group out of Loughton,” he said. “I believe the BNP’s campaign has inspired the violence.”
The BNP revealed its true colours in its response to the attacks.
In a shockingly candid statement Pat Richardson, the leader of the BNP group on Epping Forest council told a local newspaper, “A brick through the window is a British method but firebombing is not a way of showing displeasure.”
Richardson’s “British method” of a brick through the window will be only too familiar to the many black, Asian, Jewish and Eastern European people who have been chased from their homes in racist attacks.
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has also pointed out that, “Richardson’s words carry an echo of one of the most infamous Nazi atrocities of the 1930s.
“On 9 November 1938 the Nazi Party’s “stormtrooper” street thugs ran rampage across Germany, smashing up thousands of Jewish-owned shops, community centres and places of worship.
“Over 100 Jews were murdered by Adolf Hitler’s mobs on that terrible date. It became known as Kristallnacht – the ‘night of broken glass’.”
Wherever today’s Nazi BNP makes gains, violence follows. Even police figures – which should be treated with caution – show a rise in racist attacks in areas where the BNP is active.
Police in Greater Manchester released figures last week showing that racist attacks in the area have risen by 500 percent in the last ten years. This is in the area where BNP leader Nick Griffin recently won a seat in the European Parliament.
The BNP has attempted to win support by building on the anti-Muslim racism stirred up by press and politicians.
BNP leader Nick Griffin made this clear in March 2006 in a document outlining his strategy.
He wrote, “We should be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media.”
The aim, he argued, was to find “members of the public who are already used to the sound of that kind of music willing to cross over and dance to our tune”.
Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said, “The BNP today stands in the tradition of Hitler’s Nazis.
“It wants to wreak the same kind of violence on our streets against Jews, Muslims, blacks and Asians – or anyone they deem to be insufficiently ‘British’.
'We must not let them succeed in their barbarous goal.”
To get involved in Unite Against Fascism, go to » www.uaf.org.uk