Now more than ever, don’t let the racists and fascists divide us
Earlier this year, over a hundred organizations signed the statement against Islamophobia, promoted by UCFR following the terrible attacks in Paris in January 2015. Now, we find ourselves in an even more horrific situation.
On 13 November, 130 people died in a Paris in an attack claimed by ISIS/Daesh. This is the latest in a seemingly endless tragic list. On 12 November, some 40 people died in a bombing in Beirut; on 20 November, 21 people in another in Mali. Meanwhile, the massacre in Syria continues, caused by many different forces.
These attacks are terrible and totally unjustifiable; we condemn them unconditionally.
The events of Paris have unleashed a new wave of Islamophobic attacks. There is a completely unjustifiable attempt to blame Muslim people and their faith for the crimes of terrorists with whom they have no connection. Muslims and their organisations around the world have said it clearly; ISIS/Daesh does not represent them.
In Britain, Islamophobic hate crimes increased by 300% after the recent attacks; the attacks were mainly directed against women and girls wearing a hijab. The agency that collects the figures warns that they are incomplete because many victims are afraid to report assaults to the police.
In the Spanish State and Catalonia, there have been attacks on mosques —there was even an arson attack in Extremadura— but there is no systematic data.
The European far right is taking advantage of the situation to try to gain support. In Catalonia, though thankfully the fascist party Plataforma per Catalunya is very weak —last May it lost most of its councillors—, other formations promote racist and Islamophobic discourses, while even the fascist threat has not disappeared. We must be vigilant.
The rise of racism reflects the Islamophobic atmosphere fostered by official bodies. They stigmatise entire neighbourhoods and sectors of society, carrying out police operations in front of TV cameras. However, they don’t call together the media when —days, weeks or, in the case of the Raval 11, many years later— those detained are shown to be innocent.
The attacks are being used as an excuse to breach the international —and moral— law which obliges us to welcome refugees. There are accusations that refugees represent a threat, whereas the truth is that many people who are now desperately trying to reach Europe are fleeing situations of violence and terror even worse than what happened in Paris.
Another aspect of the current situation is a resurgence of anti-Semitism. This was an element in the attacks in January, and in Marseille on 18 November, a Jewish teacher was the victim of a serious anti-Semitic aggression. We must denounce this as we should every other type of racism.
Those who think that the situation does not affect them are mistaken. The shock of the attacks is being used to further reduce the civil rights of everyone; and to promote wars that will bring more hatred, more terror, and more threats for the future, also for everyone.
Given this serious situation, we must respond with a firm defence of coexistence and civil rights for everyone. We must not let our neighbours of Muslim origin be stigmatised.
Over the coming months, Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme, as a broad social movement with hundreds of member organisations, will promote a series of activities to combat Islamophobia and to promote peace and coexistence. We want these to receive broad and active support, especially the “Social Forum against Islamophobia and all kinds of racism,” of 20 February, and the demonstration on 19 March, which is part of the international day against fascism, racism and Islamophobia.
We will defend our solidarity and our unity, regardless of differences of religion, origin, gender, skin colour, language, sexual orientation… Human rights for everyone! #StopIslamophobia! #StopAntisemitism! Fascism never again!
Unitat Contra el Feixisme i el Racisme
Barcelona, 3 December, 2015