Dear IRR News subscriber,
Is there anyone out there who still believes that there is no such thing as Islamophobia? If so they haven’t been reading IRR News. For over a decade, far-right groups have been terrorising communities across West Yorkshire and now, this Saturday, multicultural Birmingham faces incursion from the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) and like-minded groups. In the past two weeks (see our regular Calendar of racism and resistance), communications advertising ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ have been distributed across the country with letters inciting the recipient to attack Muslims on 3 April, rewarding points for different types of attacks. Meanwhile, the trial of Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen (convicted for religiously aggravated harassment) provides another occasion for reflection on the centrality of anti-Muslim racism to British far-right activity today.
In this febrile climate, voices remind us that popular racism and far-right activity do not emerge from a vacuum. Recent research published by Warwick University flags up serious concerns about stigmatisation and surveillance of Muslim NHS patients under the government’s Prevent anti-radicalisation programme. And this week on IRR News, Jawaab Director Riz Hussain draws attention to the institutional roots of racism against Muslims as he reflects on the relevance of the organisation’s new report Voices of Young Muslims: Building a society free from Islamophobia.
Also on IRR News, Nadia Hasan celebrates the political activism of Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, and questions the media’s response to her death. We also have a short report from a vigil held in Lewisham at the weekend following the death in police custody of Kevin Clarke who in a ‘mental health crisis’ was restrained by up to nine police officers.
IRR News Team