Anti Fascism

Back to the East End

Martin Bright has a fantastic article in the JC, in which he argues that “Jews have a crucial role to play in the struggle against neo-nazis and Islamists in east London”:

I recently had the pleasure of addressing an audience of well-informed, liberal and politically committed Jews on the rise of radical Islam in Britain. I suggested it was a tragedy that east London, for so long associated with Jewish immigration and the fight against fascism, had now become the home of the Islamist extreme right.

How had East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, both dominated by Jamaat-i-Islami (South Asia’s version of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood) come to be the first port of call for British politicians? What did the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, think he was doing earlier this year when he praised ELC and LMC for tackling prejudice? The reality is that the institutions have played a central role in promoting a sectarian Islam that represents only one strand of thinking within the magnificent diversity of this world religion.

Just around the corner sits the moderate Brick Lane mosque, a former synagogue that began life as a Huguenot church. Surely this was a far more powerful symbol of migrant integration. I tentatively suggested that perhaps the Jewish community, with its deep roots in the East End, had a duty towards the area that had once been its home.

This could take a very practical form. Jews from East London could share their experiences with recent incomers. The community leadership could pass on what had been learnt from the difficult process of integration.

One member of the audience came up to me afterwards and said, with a tone of disgust: “What do you mean? Are you seriously suggesting that we go back?”

Well yes, I am.

Read it all.

There is also this:

But I suggest something that goes a stage further than this. I believe there is an urgent need for a strategic alliance between British Jews, the anti-Islamists within the Bangladeshi community and other citizens concerned about the revival of totalitarian politics in Britain today.

There is precisely such an alliance. It needs to be made stronger and more formal.

But I think it is the dream ticket.