On Saturday 31 October, “Islam4UK” — a hardline Islamist organisation descended from Al-Muhajiroun — was due to hold a demonstration through central London in which it would demand the unilateral imposition of religious Sharia law on the UK.
The far-right English Defence League and the bourgeois-liberal British Muslims for Secular Democracy both planned counter-demonstrations.
In opposition to the politics of both Islamic fundamentalism and English nationalism, Workers’ Liberty worked with Iraqi and Iranian socialists to organise another mobilisation, to put forward a positive programme of working-class, anti-racist and anti-capitalist politics.
In the event, Islam4UK didn’t show; it is widely suspected that the entire operation was a provocative stunt designed to generate press interest (successfuly, the Daily Express gave them a disproportionate amount of coverage).
Around 80 EDL members spread between Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. And 50 BMSD supporters met at their rallying point. BMSD’s slogans and placards made no attempt to challenge the racists rallying so close to them. They concentrated all their fire on the now-phantom March4Sharia.
Our action, which took place in Trafalgar Square itself, involved comrades from various Worker-Communist groups (anti-Stalinist, internationalist socialists active in Iraq, Iran and Kurdistan).
As both the EDL and Islam4UK continue to assert themselves and their poisonous politics, it is vital that British socialists work closely with socialists, secularists and other radicals active within Britain's Asian and Middle Eastern communities to fight for an alternative set of politics to those offered by fascism and religious fundamentalism.