RMT London Transport Region Statement on Muswell Hill Islamic Center Fire

Today’s attack on the Islamic centre in Muswell Hill was a barbaric act calculated to whip up division in the community. The London Transport Region of the RMT wholeheartedly condemns the attack on the centre and offers its full solidarity and support to the community which it serves. We call upon the trade union movement in London to lead a campaign of support and solidarity with the local Muslim community.
Reports that the letters ‘EDL’ were scrawled on the walls of the mosque indicate this was a racist attack intended to strike fear into the heart of the local Muslim community. This attack is the latest, and most serious, in a string of attacks on Muslims, their property and their places of worship following the horrific killing of Lee Rigby.

Along with the vast majority of people in society, including Muslims, RMT condemns the killing of Lee Rigby. Groups like the EDL and the BNP have tried to use the shock caused by the killing as an excuse to whip up hatred against Muslims. Although it is still unclear who exactly carried out this attack, there can be no doubt that groups like the EDL create the climate that encourages these attacks to happen. Asked to comment on the attack one EDL member said “I don’t condemn this.”

Racist organisations like the EDL are trying to feed off the desperate conditions of poverty and hopelessness that exist in parts of Breadline Britain. When food banks can't keep up with demand, when there’s a shortage of decent homes and jobs for our youngsters, then the EDL’s racist lies can seem to provide easy answers.

But EDL hatred provides no way forward. In fact their divisive racism can only set back the struggle against poverty. Racism weakens the force in society that has the potential to defeat government cuts - the power that comes from a united struggle of working people, of all backgrounds.

That’s why the RMT, along with other trade unions, organises to oppose the EDL but also to build united action to oppose privatisation and cuts to schools, hospitals and their public services.

In Lewisham the BNP attempted to march on the local mosque but were prevented in part by the actions of a joint campaign between the local community and Lewisham NUT. We believe a similar response is needed from the trade union movement in response to this attack. The RMT has a long tradition in fighting racism and fascism. The trade union movement cannot allow one section of the working class to be to be isolated and attacked.

We stand ready to offer our full support. We won’t allow racism to divide the community.

John Reid
RMT London Transport Regional Council Secretary