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Fascists attack Al-Quds demonstration
28 September 2008
Every year for the last 30 years people have marched on Al-Quds Day around the world in support of Palestine. For the second year running the London Al-Quds demonstration has been opposed by a small counter-demo. This year it mainly consisted of white extremists from several groups as well as zionists, Iranian royalists and a few socialists. Last year the counter-demo was limited to verbal attacks, this year it escalated in to a physical attack by skinheads. The police intervened and after a scuffle they arrested 5 fascists. In this report we look in to the background of the groups that participated in the counter-demo in order to understand their motivation in opposing us.
As a background you may wish to first read this years Al Quds Day (London) report and perhaps also see the report on last years counter-demo.
White extremists and zionists unite against Al Quds Day
Fascists chant "Go home!",
"White pride: no surrender!",
"Terrorist bombers, off our streets!"
and "Hang them, hang them".
We responded with "Nazis!", "Fascists!" and "Shame"
A nine year old Muslim girl was marching through London, in one hand she clasped her fathers hand and in the other a placard showing an image of a hungry Palestinian boy eating some bread with the words "End Gaza Siege". She had especially picked that from all the placards on offer. Although she was too young to fast in Ramadan she insisted on fasting that day - it was Al-Quds Day - Jerusalem Day - and she wanted to fast in solidarity with the children of Gaza. She had walked 2 miles in the sun and was feeling thirsty, but she knew Trafalgar Square was just around the corner.
As they approached Piccadilly Circus she was shocked to see people shouting and swearing at the demonstration, waving clenched fists and Unions Jacks. The only words she could make out were "Go Home!". She was scared but she knew she mustn't show it, so she just tightened her grip squeezing her fathers hand and continued waving her placard past the skinheads. She wanted to ask her father "Who are they? Where do they want us to go.. isn't this home?" but she could see the discomfort in his face, embarrassment that his daughter had to see this, so she didn't ask. She saw the Union Jacks they were waving.. until that day she had thought it was her flag.. but now she knew better.
First encounter with fascism
The words of Malcolm X vs. the fascists one finger salute
Why Quds Day?
There are many demonstrations in support of Palestine and yet none attract the support or opposition that Al-Quds Day does. Al Quds-Day is the oldest annual international demonstration in support of Palestine. It was inaugurated by Imam Khomeini on 16th August 1979, on the first Ramadan after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. He declared the last Friday of the holy month as Al-Quds Day - a day for solidarity with the oppressed, in particular with the oppressed in Palestine. Every year from that day, without exception, we have seen Al Quds Day demonstrations all around the world from Nigeria to Indonesia; from Argentina to Canada; from South Africa to Britain.
Al Quds Day, London 28 September 2008
Opposition to Al Quds Day
Al-Quds Day has been a key vehicle for people around the world to show their support for the Palestinians. This has hurt the Zionist regime, and it is actively working to stop the practice of observing Al-Quds Day worldwide. This year they apparently succeeded in banning the Paris Al Quds Day rally from being held. In the UK students identified as key supporters of Palestine have seen their student unions pressured in to remove Al-Quds Day from their calendars. The Zionists in the UK have tried to portray Al-Quds Day as an anti-semitic "kill the Jews" hate fest, but with the abundance of Jews amongst the demonstrators and speakers at the Quds Day rally these lies have failed miserably. They have launched vociferous campaigns of intimidation against those brave Jews to terrorize them in to not attending Al-Quds Day, this has also failed with wider segments of the anti-Zionist Jewish community every year standing together with Muslims for justice in Palestine. This year, one month before Al-Quds Day they started their campaign against Les Levidow, a secular Jew who opposes zionism, branding him "pro-racist" for agreeing to speak at this years rally. The intimidation failed and his speech on the day was one of the best - watch it here.
Rabid zionists oppose Al Quds Day
While its clear why zionist groups oppose Al Quds Day, what about the other groups? One of the ways Al-Quds is unique is that it is a Muslim organised demonstration, this in itself leads to opposition from xenophobic groups who cannot accept Muslims organising events on their own terms and speaking for themselves. So whilst they will not oppose Muslims demonstrating for Palestine under the platform of Stop the War Coalition, they find it abhorrent that Muslim should get together for Palestine on Al Quds Day! Of course the fact that it was Imam Khomeini who wisely embedded Palestine in to the heart of the Muslim calendar and thereby binding its fate to that of every Muslim in the world is also used as an excuse to attack Al Quds Day - ludicrous claims that its an Iranian event, in support of Iran rather than Palestine. Equally silly is the position of Iranian royalists who see Imam Khomeini's support of 'Arab' Palestine as evidence of his betrayal of 'Persian' Iran!
The counter-demo (from left-to-right): March for England, United British Alliance, Stop Islamisation Of Europe, zionists (Zionist Federation?), Iranian royalists and communists, Workers Liberty
This year as we passed Piccadilly Circus we saw a small counter-demo organised by royalist Iranians, with racist skin heads from several fascist groups waving union jacks standing united with Zionists waving Israeli flags and socialists from Workers Liberty, all united against Al-Quds Day. Many bystanders were shocked to see Jews with Israeli flags standing with white extremists hurling racist abuse at Muslims and elderly Jewish Rabbis who were marching with us on Quds Day; it was a practical lesson for them in understanding what separates a Zionist from a real follower of Judaism. Whilst Workers Liberty is well known for its Zionist leanings with its vociferous opposition to any boycott of Israel, it took Quds Day to expose them in their willingness to side with the fascists. The chant from their side included "White pride: no surrender!", "Terrorist bombers, off our streets!" and "Hang them, hang them". We responded with "Fascists!", "Bye Bye Nazis!", and boos and "Shame" depending on which part of the counter-demo we were facing.
The cowards waited until the body of the march had past them and then with the tail end disappearing they decided to attack the demonstrators. For the socialists from Workers Liberty the verbal attack was enough for them and decided to sit out the physical attack. As the mob of skin heads and royalist Iranians went over the barricade and charged at the few demonstrators left behind from the main demo the police it has to be said reacted very quickly to protect the demonstrators. They scuffled with the mob and we later learnt from the police that 5 public order arrests were made. It has to be said that the policing this year was refreshingly mature and considerate. Gone were the FIT team and their intrusive police cameras which last year had even hounded people during their prayers. Gone was much of the heavy handedness that the police have come to be known for. It would be fair to say that for once we felt the police were there for us as much as for anyone else.
fascists clash with the police
Whilst the counter demo was insignificant in size, consisting of less than 50 people, it did bring together many different groups. Comparing it to last years counter-demo there were far fewer elements from the left present. The anarchist group "Class War" did not side with the zionists this year. Thatchell, his 'Outrage' and other homosexual groups were also absent despite calls to attend on their websites. Even amongst the Iranians, the communists only managed a token presence making Alliance for Workers Liberty the main leftist group standing with the fascists and zionists. Amongst the Iranians the largest group by far were the royalists. But they also paled in comparison to the fascist delegation which dominated the counter-demo. The zionists could only muster a handful of people. Next we examine each group in more detail.
Whist the fascists consisted of three umbrella groups: UBA (United British Alliance), MfE (March for England) and SIOE (Stop Islamisation Of Europe), in reality there was very little differentiating them and upon inspecting their message boards it became clear that the same hard-core racists from the football terraces made up the ranks of both the UBA and MfE.
Israel supporter Paul Ray writes
"Jesus is on the side of the BNP"
The leading voice among the fascists promoting the Quds Day counter demo, rallying fascists to attend, was the blogger Paul Ray aka 'Lionheart'. He is an ardent zionist and a self-confessed supporter of the BNP who has previously been arrested by the police for inciting racial hatred and has links to all three of the fascist groups present on Quds Day.
Paul Ray claims that Jesus told him in 1999 that "that war [with Muslims] is coming and we must prepare for it" and that Jesus is on the side of the BNP: "The British National Party are a party for the British people whose country this is, whose forefathers fought and died for this Great land, which in this generation is being destroyed by certain powers. They vilify the BNP as racists to turn people away from them because they are scared of the British people rising up against the injustice being inflicted upon them and their country. People are now waking up to this fact and I know that the Living God is on the side of the BNP. "
On his blog he promoted the counter demo as "demonstrating for everything we hold dear within our ancestral homeland, which is the protection of OUR women and children.. These Moslems on our British streets are our enemies.. This is OUR Country so what right have these Moslems to be doing and saying what they are on OUR streets? The anti-Al Quds demonstration this weekend is the start of the uprising amongst the people who have said ‘enough is enough’ we don’t want these people on OUR streets"
March for England (MfE)
March for England website "about us" page stresses its not a racist group, then goes on about how so much is "threatening our country’s identity" and the list starts with "immigration". Next to it are 6 "friends links", the first two link to self-confessed BNP supporters - English Rose Blog who urges everyone "LETS VOTE BNP - STAND UP AND BE PROUD!", and Lionheart "Jesus is on the side of the BNP". And again their facebook has a single link embedded in the very description of what March for England is about - that link goes to Lionhearts facebook (Defence of the Realm).
United British Alliance (UBA)
The United British Alliance website under the section "Our Aims" list its primary aim is to "to raise peoples awareness of the rising threat within our towns and cities from islamic extremists.. we intend to apply pressure to these fanatical groups/individuals,through legal means,for the purpose of disrupting and hindering their meetings and recruitment rallies". One of their members who was arrested on Quds Day brags on their discussion forum "we showed this scum whos country this is" and refers to the demonstrators as "rag heads". He signed his post "i'm white, i'm english and i'm proud of them facts, if that means i'm racist .. so be it". The UBA website section of "Like-Minded Links" starts with a link to the "Lionheart" blog and includes SIOE, and its section on "Alliances" lists "March for England".
UBA fascists chant "Go home!",
"White pride: no surrender!",
"Terrorist bombers, off our streets!"
and "Hang them, hang them".
We responded with "Nazis!", "Fascists!" and "Shame"
Stop Islamisation Of Europe (SIOE)
The SIOE is a racist group which opposes the presence of Muslims in Europe. It tries to dodge accusations of racism by stating that SIOE does not align itself with any particular racist political party because it has a no-party policy. This is so that it can position itself above party politics and the infighting that is rampant amongst fascist groups in Europe, in reality it support all the racist political parties in Europe on anti-Muslim issues. Their stated position is to support any and "all legal efforts to stop Islamisation of Europe" be it the building of a Mosque or the wearing of Hijab. So for example on 15 March 2006 in Aalborg, in Denmark, SIOE shared a platform with the notorious Dutch nazi Ben van der Kooi who was convicted in 2006 in Rotterdam for an arson attack on a mosque after being caught on CCTV outside the mosque with a can of petrol and paint with which he had daubed "White Power" signs on the mosque walls. One of the slogans the fascists used on the Quds Day counter-demo was "White Pride".
With their last big "Stop Islamisation Of Europe" demo in London attracting only 15 people and then the poor turnout this time, they have now come up with a new strategy - 'rent a mob', or in their own words 'sponser an activist'. The idea is that middle-class armchair islamophobes can now rent a skinhead to attend a SIOE demo on their behalf! In their own words: "We know that a lot of people support SIOE’s activities, but for different reasons are prevented from participating in our demonstrations.. We now offer the opportunity of participating.. through sponsoring a member of ‘SIOE-activist’. A lot of the young activists are apprentices or students without means, but the will to stand up for Europe is there. Through a sponsorship you make it possible for an activist to be more active." It doesn't make it clear what price the thugs charge for burning down a mosque or for beating up a Muslim.
This screen grab image from the SIOE website tells a lot about SIOE. Their article condones an arson attack on a mosque conversion (from a former church) in the UK . At the side of the article are three banners that SIOE support -"SIOE Support Serbian Kosova" meaning an Kosova ethnically cleansed of its Muslims; "Support Israel" and "Support Lionheart" which links to the blog of Paul Ray of "Jesus is on the side of the BNP" infamy.
According to Lionhearts blog both the UBA and MfE joined the SIOE just weeks before the counter-demo. Among the fascists, it would appear that the SIOE are positioning themselves as elites using the MfE and UBA as cannon fodder foot soldiers called upon (and in future perhaps even paid) to do the dirty work. As one member of MfE, referring to the scuffle with the police, put it: "Did anyone else notice that whilst the usual suspects went on the prowl in the Haymarket Hunt, our comrades from SIOE folded their flags and headed off to the Home Counties for tea and crumpets :dunnoooo: It seems to me they are not as happy as ourselves to get their backs bruised if you get my drift".
Fascists "on the prowl" for Muslims..
Only a handful of zionists attended the counter-demo. Very little is known about them, and they seemed very careful to hide their faces. One of them at one stage appeared to be wearing a pillow case with holes cut out for the eyes and nose, standing with his white extremist buddies he could have been mistaken for a member of the Ku Klux Klan! His cap however revealed the insignia of the Zionist Federation and the Jewish Agency.
The Zionist Federation in its own words "was founded in 1899 and helped create support for the establishment of the State if Israel. Today we promote Israel's case.." The Jewish Agency for Israel was created to facilitate European Jewish colonisation of Palestine and in 1948 it effectively 'became' the State of Israel. Today its role is the same - to facilitate further jewish colonisation of what remains of Palestine.
Confederation Of Iranian Students
The counter demo was officially organised by the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS). What is the CIS - no one in Iran has heard of it so if it doesn't represent Iranians who does it work for? Its founder is Amir-Abbas Fakhravar who has been described as the "Iranian Chalabi".
Fakhravar(right) with Reza Pahlavi (the ex-Shah's son who dreams of reimposing the monarchy on Iran with him as king)
Fakhravar claims to have been tortured in an Iranian prison, when pressed he says he was put in a white painted room, made to wear white cloths and was fed white rice on a white plate which amounted to torture. Yet it later transpired that during his so-called "torture" he was allowed to study a law degree and was permitted to give interviews to American and British TV and radio stations and during the Iranian New Year he was even allowed nearly 3 weeks holiday from prison to go home to his family! During his imprisonment he was free to use the telephone and regularly even made conference calls to Richard Perle, the chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and architect of the Iraq war!
Fakhravar hugging his 'prince of light' Richard Perle, the architect of the Iraq war.
"Whenever Amir Abbas wanted to talk to Richard, at 11 at night, at five in the morning, Richard was available every time" revealed Manda Shahbazi the LA based go between who first introduced Richard Perle to Fakhravar. Shahbazi knew Perle through her father who was a high ranking official in the Shah's regime. They spoke like this for three years until 2006 when Fakhravan finally left Iran whilst on a two-day temporary leave from prison in order to take his law degree exams. Richard Perle, interrupted his trip to central Asia to meet Fakhravan in Dubai. Fakhravar praised Perle who had been dubbed the "prince of darkness" for his crimes in Iraq: "In my eyes I saw the prince of light, not the prince of darkness, I could see in his eyes he is worried for our people as well as the American people..".
Fakhravar with President Bush
Fakhravar was whisked to the United States where he met President Bush, of whom he says "all [Iranian] youngsters support him and love him". Fakhravar said he was in Washington to spread one message only: "Regime change". Soon the neocon money, ear marked to fund regime change in Iran, started flowing and the CIS came to life. Fakhravar was given a star roll in Richard Perles neocon propaganda film "The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom". Fakhravar told Newsweek that "...many Iranians would actually welcome a military strike by the US.. Americans would be greeted as liberators". The "Iranian Chalabi" was born.
Potkin Azarmehr co-heads the UK Federation of CIS and in fact when you click on the CIS website link for the UK Federation of CIS it links straight to Azarmehr's blog.
Potkin Azarmehr (third from left) with arm around Fakhravar
Shahs last Prime Minister, Shapur Bakhtiar
bows to the Shah as he is
appointed Prime Minister
Azarmehr admits on his blog that he is a royalist, favouring a constitutional monarchy, which is hardly surprising considering his "mentor" is Shapur Bakhtiar. As the Islamic Revolution was on the verge of victory, on the last days of the monarchy the Shah threw a bone to the opposition in a final attempt to cling to power - he promised to limit his power and follow the constitution if anyone was willing to capitulate. It was Shapur Baktiar, a secularist leader in the National Front, who in a lust for power turned traitor and broke ranks with Imam Khomeini to become the Shahs last Prime Minister. His own secular colleagues in the National Front disowned him and when the army refused to obey his orders to massacre the crowds his premiership came to an abrupt end after just 36 days. He fled to France as the victory of the Islamic Revolution was achieved. From France he led a US funded terrorist organisation consisting of royalists called the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR) whose military wing NEGHAB consisting of the remnants of the Shahs so-called 'Immortal Guards' and former Savak (secret police) members was responsible for the murder of countless Iranian. NEGHAB was the group Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser under the Carter Administration, used with Saddams support in the failed Nojeh coup d'etat to topple the young Islamic Republic on 9th July 1980. At the time Shapur Baktiar was was being bankrolled by Saddam and had set up his headquarters in Baghdad. It was only when the coup d'etat failed that the US gave Saddam the green light for a full scale invasion of Iran. Bakhtiar's treachery was further exposed when the students seized the US Embassy and published the secret documents they found - one cable from a CIA director revealed that Shapour Bakhtiar had been in the pay of the CIA in the 1960's ('Documents from the US Espionage Den', Volume 9).
CIS leaders Fakhravar and Azarmehr meet Israeli neocon Natan Sharansky
(Fakhravar with arm around Sharansky)
Natan Sharansky served as deputy prime minister to Ariel Sharon from March 2001 to February 2003, when he decided Sharon was too moderate and resigned in protest over plans to withdraw illegal Israeli settlements from the israeli occupied Gaza Strip. Since then he has called for the re-occupying of Gaza and has insisted that as a precondition to any talks with the Palestinians the Palestinians must first rewrite their school books to teach their children to accept that their uprooting from the land of their forefathers by foreigners from the former Soviet Union, Europe and the United States was perfectly legitimate.
It was Azarmehr who was responsible for inviting the white extremists to attend the demo. He was caught on camera by an ex-Workers Liberty member embracing one of the fascists after the event. According to Workers Liberty, and they should know, that fascist was the organiser of the 'March for England' contingent. Azarmehr even sent the fascists a thank you note the next day (which they published on their website) commending them on their discipline, presumably in their attack on the Muslims.
Azarmehr (right) with iranian royalist blogger 'Bahramerad' waving Pahlavi flag (far left)
International Alliance Of Iranian Students
The main Iranian "student" contingents were royalists under the umbrella banner "International Alliance of Iranian Students" - they interpret democracy as a return to US imperialist rule in Iran via its propped up little dictator Shah. They consisted of about half a dozen "students" wearing royalist t-shirts with the Pahlavi flag across them plus their apparent "leader" or spokesman, whom the students redirected any questions, confirmed they were all royalists.
His blog, 'Bahramerad', features his most recent video creation entitled "Prince of love - Prince Reza Cyrus Pahlavi II" which Bahramerad on behalf of the "Iran Democracy" movement "dedicate to our leader HRH Prince Reza Cyrus Pahlavi II - The future king of Iran / Persia".
His blog reveals an equal hatred of both the Islamic Republic and of the secular Mohammed Mosaddeq, the Prime Minister the CIA toppled in a coup d'état in 1953 to restore their puppet dictator Shah. He refers to Mosaddeq as an "opium addicted idiot" and opposes his nationalization of Iran’s Oil which was being plundered by Britain.The only elements from the left present in the counter-demo were a few from Alliance for Workers' Liberty and a few from the "workers communist party of Iranian".
Workers Communist Party Of Iran
Workers Communist Party Of Iran is a political party that openly seeks the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its an islamophobic far-left group that opposes Islam in any form. They have a history of working happily with far-right groups like the BNP. In March 2006 they shared a platform with the BNP at an anti-Muslim hate demonstration, in Trafalgar Square, in support of the racist danish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet of Islam and all Muslims as terrorists. According to the BNP report of 27th March 2006 they send a delegation of 40 to the event making it the largest single contingent at that demo. At this demo the fascists were also in the majority.
Alliance For Workers Liberty
Alliance for Workers' Liberty is a pro-Israel, anti-Muslim leftist group. They actively defend Israel by aggressively campaigning against all boycotts of Israel and at the same time they attack any perceived signs of political Islam including even the hijab which they see as a symbol of oppression.
In a recent article on the BNP in their Solidarity Newspaper (4 Dec 2008) the AWL state their own position on the BNP: "We should not tolerate the presence of BNP members in our workplaces. Workers should shun BNP members at work, and should refuse to work with them. The unions should seek to force them out, if necessary by demanding that they are sacked.. What about “no platform for fascists”? To expel BNP members from the labour movement is plainly to deny them a platform. We also advocate working-class direct action to prevent the publication and dissemination of BNP material, e.g. by printers, postal workers, media workers; and mass direct action by the labour movement, oppressed groups and the left to disrupt and prevent fascist meetings, activities and demonstrations.. We support denying a platform, the use of student union facilities and so on to the BNP and similar groups, as a matter of self-defence and of the defence of the oppressed."
How strange it is that given their official policy is "direct action to disrupt and prevent fascist demonstrations" that not only did they not oppose the fascist counter-demo against us, they shamelessly stood united with them, hobnobbing with white extremists, for nearly 3 hours (1 to 3:30) whilst they waited for the Al-Quds march to reach them and then actually joined in the attack against us.
How can this be explained? Well the same article in their Solidarity Newspaper gives the clues. It bizarly blame the Socialist Workers Party for the rise in the BNP because of their willingness to work with Muslims - for example in the Stop the War movement and the Respect Coalition, which they describe as "hobnobbing" with "with clerical fascists". For the AWL, hatred of Muslims trumps any opposition to the BNP - its as simple as that. Their participation in the counter-demo for two years running has shown us that if they see Muslims on one side and BNP fascists on the other they will always join the fascists against the Muslims.
The opposition to Al Quds Day is now clearly defined. We have the zionists and their alliances in the far right - several white extremists groups, and their supporters in the far left - Workers Liberty and the Workers Communist Party Of Iran, and amongst the opportunist Iranian royalists. But what of the other side - the supporters of Palestine? Where were the progressive elements of the left? Where were PSC, STW, and SWP? Next year will these pro-justice groups continue to stand on the sideline begrudging Al Quds Day because of its Islamic origins or will they unite with us against the zionists and fascists?
Also Of Interest
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