Defend Muslim Women from Racist and Islamophobic Attacks!
By Joseph Adams, RCIT Britain, www.thecommunists.net
Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary in the May government, recently launched a vicious racist attack on Muslim women who wear the niqab or hijab. Johnson is a hard brexiteer in the Tory party and much admired by the racist and misogynist Donald Trump. He used his comments on Muslim migrants and refugees to stake his claim to be Prime Minister and help to depose Theresa May.
“Boris Johnson is at the centre of a Tory race row after Theresa May urged him to apologise for “offensive” comments claiming that Muslim women in burkas look like letterboxes and bank robbers. He said it was “weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces” and described the burka as “ridiculous”. He added that women wearing them looked like letterboxes or bank robbers”. 
“Boris Johnson’s comparison of women to inanimate objects such as letterboxes betrays a kind of misogyny that has become an all too familiar feature of his alpha-male politics. And in March this year, he was forced to apologise to Emily Thornberry (Shadow Foreign Secretary) for misrepresenting her as “the learned lady, the Baroness, whatever it is, of Nugee” in a dismissive reference to his rival’s husband, Christopher”. 
These attacks on migrants and refugees are symptomatic of British imperialism which is in a crisis. Because of this the Tory government is always seeking to divide the working class on racial grounds. The debate around Brexit shows the extreme chauvinism inherent in the ruling class and the bourgeoisie always seeks to shift the blame from themselves onto other people. The working class in Britain has always had a section in the upper sector – the labour aristocracy – which is heavily influenced by bourgeois ideology and therefore very conservative. It displays the most reactionary and racist views. Leon Trotsky referred to what he called the most backward layer.
Johnson and others are merely fuelling this racism and extreme chauvinism. This is even reflected amongst the police force in Britain which displays every sympathy towards the fascists and racists. When masses of youth and workers protested against Donald Trump’s visit to Britain the police sought to protect fascists of the English Defence League. There are many cases of attacks on Muslims by extreme right wing fascists who are often lauded in the capitalist press.
Sajid Javid the Tory Home secretary meanwhile is deporting plenty of migrants and refugees and refusing them a visa in Britain. This is similar to Donald Trump in the United States who imprisons migrants, separates parents from their children and also deports American nationals who have lived in the country all their lives.
Many Muslim women have spoken out against this racist attack explaining why they wear the hijab or niqab.
“That person is not educated. Part of British values is trying to respect and embrace the norms of all the faiths. Even if we don’t understand it, we honour common ground. Every individual has a choice to live their life the way they want to, and we should respect that.” Women have spoken of feeling vulnerable, and some have been abused. The anti-Muslim hate-crime monitoring group Tell Mama has reported a spike in abuse against Muslim women since Johnson’s column appeared. In the week before the column was published, five women reported incidents against them (all were wearing the hijab, and none wore the niqab). In the week after the column, 14 women wearing the hijab and seven who wore the niqab reported abuse to the organization”. 
Rupa Huq, a Muslim Labour MP for Ealing in West London, has been the recipient of hate mail denouncing Muslims and particularly Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab or the niqab.
The RCIT in BRITAIN has always fought against racism and Islamophobia amongst sections of the working class. We live in a multi-cultural society and as such should respect customs and practices of all peoples. Migrants and refugees are the most exploited section of the working class often working in low paid employment and bad housing conditions. The RCIT campaigns for Open Borders and for migrants to have the right to wear their own dress and speak their own language. We emphasize the importance of supporting the organizing of such layers and of winning them to the revolutionary party (resp. pre-party organization).
In the RCIT’s book on the united front tactic we stated our position quite clearly.
“We think that, in principle, revolutionaries should encourage and support the formation of new political forces which reflect the struggle of migrants against racism and for their rights. Furthermore, revolutionaries should contribute to such a process a revolutionary perspective, focusing on the most burning issues of the struggle of the oppressed. They should also try to widen the list to integrate progressive sectors of the workers’ movement who are prepared to accept migrants as equal partners.
All these experiences demonstrate that it is truly possible for communists to engage in systematic united front work with migrant organizations. Furthermore, our orientation to these sectors of the working class has also helped us to recruit a substantial share of migrants to our organizations.
Such an orientation is crucial for us as Bolshevik-Communists since we consider it of utmost important to build an organization which is not solely fighting for the working class interests but which is also fighting together with the workers and through the workers. Naturally, when we speak about the workers, we don’t mean the upper, privileged strata – the labor aristocracy – but rather the class’ huge majority, i.e., the “mass proletarian elements” as the Comintern called it.
In other words, an authentic revolutionary organization must orientate itself to the lower and middle strata of the working class among which the migrants constitute a crucial sector in imperialist countries.” .
The RCIT in Britain calls on all workers and youth and the oppressed to join us in a concerted campaign to root out all forms of racism and Islamophobia in the working class and put forward the following demands to unite all sections of the working class.
* Muslims must have the right to wear their own dress and speak their own language!
* Protect Muslim communities with self-defence guards against fascist or police provocation!
* For Open Borders and free movement for all throughout imperialist countries!
* Form Action Committees as a precursor to the formation of a Constituent Assembly where issues on racism and Islamophobia can be discussed!
* For a General strike to bring down the May government!
* For a Revolutionary Workers Government!
* Build the 5th International in order to unite all sections of the working class and the oppressed!
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