More than 50 parliamentarians, faith leaders, political activists and trade unionists have signed an open letter that warns of the mobilization of the far right, which will threaten Britain’s multicultural society.
“The 15,000-strong violent far-right protest to ‘free Tommy Robinson’ on Saturday 9 June has raised major questions for all those who value our diversity,” the letter said, citing violent far-right protests early this month after Robinson, founder of the extreme right-wing Islamophobic group the English Defence League (EDL), was jailed on May 29 for 13 months for contempt of court.
He was arrested after posting a video on Facebook making comments about an ongoing trial, in violation of court rules, and risking the trial’s collapse.
“This is the first serious attempt since the collapse of the English Defence League to develop a racist street movement and give it a political form,” the letter said, adding “it is supported internationally by notorious figures including from the US and the Dutch Islamophobic right”.
The open letter, published in the Guardian newspaper, was signed by senior politicians such as Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and Labour MP David Lammy.
Other important signatories included Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, Talha Ahmed, treasurer of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the Union, the largest trade union in the UK and Ireland.
The coalition of senior figures also accused US President Donald Trump of fermenting the rise of the far right, arguing that he “has played a major role in galvanising the racist right”.
Trump is scheduled to visit the UK on July 13, and the coalition has said they will take to the streets for the Together Against Trump demonstration coinciding with his visit.
“Wherever the far right’s support grows, so does racism and violence. Let’s come together to defend our multicultural society from those who spread hatred and division,” the letter said in its closing statement.