Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Protest clashes and Immigration Issues

September 15, 2009 · 5 Comments

I don’t know how many people have been keeping up with the London news, but I thought I’d share a bit of info because it seemed relevant to the class. Over the past week there has been an ever growing tenuous situation. Firstly, we narrowly missed a 24 strike from the RMT. But secondly, and more prevalently, on September 11th near a Mosque in Harrow there was a clash between the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the Stop Islamization of Europe (SIOE). The protest had been led by the SIOE and was meant to mark the 8th anniversary of the Twin Tower attacks. I would like to pause for a moment and ask how many Americans have ever shown a demonstration for the 7/7 attacks, let alone escalate to violence over it? The apathy of our nation comes in handy for once. 

Seven people were arrested on September 11th, and a week before, on September 5th, 90 people were arrested when a disturbance broke out in Birmingham. These clashes between anti-immigrants and Muslim/leftist groups have been going on as far back as May; however, they have had little in the way of collateral damage.

As mentioned above, America and UK handle protests and outbreaks very differently. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a hobby, England does have a tradition of riots and violent protests. They enjoy a good scuffle, and it seems to alleviatetension at least to some degree.  Our history with national conflict has been rather limited. The British on the other hand are amazingly efficient: they pack a protest with more police than protesters and basically encircle the people, an amazingly intimidating deterrent for your average protest. The majority of the 1.6 million Muslims in the UK are situated in England, and now with the rising conservative/anti-immigration tide approaching it will be interesting to see if small scale scuffles will be enough to satisfy the hunger of  protesters. This also brings into question the over-asked question of what is an englishman? When are you no longer an Immigrant. And more importantly does being a member of organizations like UAF automatically make you a target for anti-immigrant scorn? One thing that I did find interesting also was the idea of leftists and Muslims teaming up together, this idea leads me to believe it isn’t necessarily an immigration problem, but rather a non-immigrant one.  Guy Fox, IRA, SIOE: for a nation who preaches secularity, they sure love their religious fights.

Anyway, cheers

Categories: Andrew R
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5 responses so far ↓

  •   fitzgerald // Sep 15th 2009 at 05:43

    Interesting post. I’m curious if SIOE has any links to the BNP, which is quite anti-immigration. Also, I don’t think the idea of leftists and Muslims teaming up together is unheard of. At protests in the States I am aware that this joining of forces has happened a bit.

  •   Stephen Gash // Sep 19th 2009 at 20:27

    What an appalling travestry of the truth!

    SIOE has held demonstrations in England for the past two years without any opposition let alone violence.

    Last year’s 11th September demo was outside Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to protest his stupid remarks about sharia law. Hindus and Iranians showed up for the demo.

    Christians did not riot.

  •   mertnofa // Sep 19th 2009 at 22:20

    Andrew, some things regarding the post you wrote…
    It is not surprising that Muslims team up with the left, in fact, I think this only shows that you think that Muslim people could only be identified with the right wing, but actually they could be conservative or liberal, just like someone from any other religion. Regarding Muslims in general, it would be quite common for them to team up with left wing groups, since most of the time, outside the USA, young Muslim political activists or political militants in general advocate for anti-imperialist policies in the Middle East and everywhere in the world.
    Regarding your post Mr. Gash, as far as I understand, you are the press contact for the SIOE. Let me clarify that after paying a visit to the SIOE’s website I realized I would probably disagree with anything you would write. I am not sure how you got into this blog, but if you are going to comment some more in the future, maybe you should consider argumenting properly and enlighten us all on why the Archbishop’s remarks about sharia law where stupid, because I do not think they were stupid at all.

  •   russella // Sep 20th 2009 at 05:04

    Wow, I don’t check the blog for a few days….

    Firstly, Azul, I did not say I was surprised or baffled by the leftists and Muslims uniting, rather interested– as I said in my post, I felt this was more a commentary on the greater issue at hand.

    Secondly, anyone can find this blog it is google searchable (I believe) at this time and all comments from anyone who wishes to add to the discussion are welcome. Shutting down and not listening to someone because of his job position or ideas is just as bad as not listening to someone based on political or religious beliefs, so in all fairness I won’t be having any of that on anything I write Azul.

    In your defense, I feel like Mr. Gash is a little like the gum salesman from Clerks (sorry for the movie reference).

    I would argue though that saying something like ‘stupid’ doesn’t help. Speaking solely for myself, I do not know much about the topic, I was simply writing about what was happening right now while we were in London not over the past two years. A hyperlink or explanation would be better than simple name calling; I’m glad you brought this up though.

  •   russella // Sep 20th 2009 at 05:06

    Mr. Gash, I now see what you were refering to: the last comment was a bit rash, comparing the SIOE to Guy Fox and the IRA was ill-founded; I certainly could have worded that better.

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