On Wednesday 4th November 2015, Salahuddin Patel from the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) attended the ‘Refugees Welcome Rally’, which was organised by Stand up to Racism. The event was held at the Camden Centre in King Cross, and was attended by many high profile speakers who came to talk about the latest refugee crisis.
The iERA team attended the event donning our iconic ‘Against Racism Against Hatred’ t –shirts. We also distributed our anti-racism leaflets, which explained the Islamic perspective racism, as stated by Allah in the Qur’an:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [49:13]
More than a thousand people attended, and speakers included the leader of Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn MP. He highlighted that foreign policy is a key contributor to the global refugee crisis which is affecting the lives of millions around the world. He said, “I look at those people as fellow human beings, just like you, just like me, just doing their best to survive in a cruel and dangerous world.”
The Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Diane Abbot MP added: “Economic migrants coming to Britain should be treated with the same sympathy as refugees fleeing war.” and that we should not penalise economic migrants as a separate class of refugees.
The Guardian’s Owen Jones said he ashamed of Britain’s receptiveness towards refugees compared to other nations.
Stand up comedian, Francesca Martinez, added: “We cannot give into the inhumane priorities of this system.” She reminded the audience that refugees are our part of humanity, and the mainstream media is dominated by the current narrative.
The Deputy Leader of the Green Party, Shahrar Ali, described the situation as an “open cemetery”.
Rabbi Lee Wax compared the current refugee crisis to that of the Jewish refugees fleeing persecution from the Nazis during the Second World War.
Other speakers included: Liberal Democrat Baroness Sheehan, Kevin Courtney Deputy General Secretary NUT, Cllr Michelline Ngongo former refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Talha Ahmad from the Muslim Council of Britain, and Shelly Asquith from NUS.
The team engaged in numerous conversations and the attendees were impressed to see a group from the Muslim community engaging in positive campaigns. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Stand Up To Racism called on everyone to join the ‘Refugees Welcome Here Campaign’, and to attend the protest outside Downing Street on Thursday 12th November 2015.
iERA will continue to raise awareness about the racism and intolerance show against refugees, and people of colours and faith, as well as promoting a holistic message of Islam to the wider society.
The team also managed to get an interview with Tomas Evans from the Socialist Worker.