Anti-racists in Waltham Forest, east London, tonight (21 December) responded to a vicious racist attack on a young Muslim woman in Chingford Mount last week.
Two attackers tried to remove the women’s hijab by dragging her down the street, tearing at her clothes. She was then left lying in the street until staff from a nearby restaurant came out to help.
Around 250 locals joined a protest called by Stand Up To Racism and MEND – Muslim Engagement & Development at short notice to send a strong message that the community will not tolerate Islamophobia or any other form of racism.
Large numbers of Muslims from the local community attended alongside trade unionists and and anti-racist activists from across the borough.
Many Muslim women addressed the protest and spoke movingly about how they are increasingly targeted when using public transport but how the protest had given them heart.
Trade unionists and community activists talked about the need to challenge racism wherever it is found.
Though Chingford Mount is a quiet residential area local shopkeepers expressed shock and anger at the attack. Many put up posters to advertise the protest in their windows.
Ursla Hawthorne, one of the protest organisers, said the attack highlights the importance of building Stand Up To Racism in every area.
“We can’t ignore areas such as Chingford where the anti-racist tradition is weaker,” she said.
“Waltham Forest Stand Up To Racism is now planning to extend our reach to parts of the borough we’ve not been active in up until now.”