Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 December 2006

Britain's Muslims under siege - which way forward?

The debate between Seyyed Ferjani of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and Jim Hensman from Coventry Socialist Party was one of the highlights of Socialism 2006. The discussion ranged from how to tackle racism and Islamaphobia to the importance of winning muslims to the Labour movement and socialist ideas.

Matt Dobson

Seyyed described the increasing attacks on muslims across the world. He explained that muslim families and young people felt under siege due to the demonisation of muslims in the media, the rise of the far right and the BNP and the international situation in which muslims are suffering in Palestine and Iraq.

He argued that the majority of muslims oppose methods of terrorism and that the solution for those who are angry and radicalised was to be part of the anti-war movement, where muslims and socialists work together for social justice and peace and against imperialism and racism.

Jim Hensman stressed the importance of socialists having a fighting programme in response to the wave of Islamaphobia and racism that has swept across Europe. Jim explained that socialists stand for the right of people to practice religion and that we are in the forefront of defending democratic rights, particularly as the recent attacks on civil liberties will also be used as a repressive tool against left activists and trade unionists.

Jim pointed out that many muslims not only faced Islamophobia but also economic oppression. He exposed the wealth gap that exists in the muslim community - 25% of muslim graduates are unemployed and 70% of muslims live below the poverty line, yet there are 500 muslim millionaires. This also applies to the political establishment where muslim MP's from the three main parties support war and attacks on public services.

Jim argued that this undermines the idea from some sections of the Left that there is a homogenous 'muslim bloc' that is anti-war and progressive. As class divisions apply also to the muslim community, muslims need to organise on a class basis through the trade unions and a new workers' party.

Jim then moved on to the international situation saying he could understand why many muslims, particularly youth, had been radicalised by the horrific conflicts in Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya and that this raised the question of how imperialism can be defeated. He pointed out that many Islamic organisations that had turned to armed resistance were incapable of solving the problems faced by the masses in these areas.

Jim used the example of organisations like Hamas, the Mujhadeen in Afghanistan and the Muslim Brotherhood. All these organisations have based struggle on a religious programme and the methods of individual terrorism without taking up class issues and often have the effect of dividing the working class and poor masses.

He also pointed out that there had been massive social movements that threatened imperialism's interests. the response of US imperialism was to back organisations that would divide these movements along sectarian and religious lines.

Jim drew out how the approach of socialists differed using the example of the Bolshevik party after the Russian Revolution whose programme granted the right of self determination to national minorities and the right to practice religion while mobilising the working class and poor masses on a socialist programme.

In this period many muslims became class fighters, joining workers' organisations and the Communist Parties. Jim concluded that winning muslim workers and youth on a class basis was a key task for socialists. A wide ranging discussion followed on the issues of defending the democratic rights of muslim students, the separation of religion and the state and the attitude of Islamic organisations towards socialists and trade unionists in the Middle East.

Greg Randall raised the issue of persecution of LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in regimes like Iran and Afghanistan and that the MAB has never criticised this, he concluded that this was a key issue in uniting workers against racism.

Seyyed Ferjani responded that in his interpretation of Islam sexuality should be kept in the private sphere and not in the public domain leaving the position of the MAB unclear.

Jackie Grunsell a Save Huddersfield Councillor gave a concrete example of how muslim workers got behind an anti-NHS cuts and closures campaign and voted for her over muslim candidates from the main parties.

Overall this debate was extremely useful in making clear the approach of socialists to the issues facing the muslim community.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 7 December 2006:

NHS campaigns unite

Blair's health service lies

NHS mass protests continue

Building the national day of action

ITC programme fails

Diary of events

War and terrorism

Bush and Blair still in denial

"The greatest strategic disaster in American history"

Workplace news

Strike threat forces victory

300,000 workers in PCS strike Ballot

"Merry Christmas Mr SCCrooge"

Blood service staff prepared to fight job losses

UCU: Left victory in sight

JJB workers fight sackings

Socialist Students

"Stop the rent rises!"

Campaign to Defeat Fees is building across London

CDF online petition launched!

Fight Blair's divisive academy programme

Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006

Britain's Muslims under siege - which way forward?

"Inspired and informed"

Do you have to be red to be green?

Socialism 2006 - another major step forward

Socialist Party news and analysis

200 march against Lincoln's far right

Trident - a waste of our money

Privatised rail bosses hike up fares

MPs wannabe rich

International socialist news and analysis

Chávez re-election - a set-back for the right

Balance sheet of WASG national conference

Political tensions rage in Bolivia


Home   |   The Socialist 7 December 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleMobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleInterview: Refugee Rights Campaign

triangleEast London & Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: 2017 - From Trump to Paradise Papers; a year in review

triangleWestminster sexual harassment scandal: symptom of a rotten system

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


triangleFinsbury Park attack: No to terror, racism, war and austerity!

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

triangleFight racism and austerity


triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal


triangleBristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Racism in the US - Who are the Alt-Right?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice