East End, Metropolitan Police, Tower Hamlets

Aspire 4-point Action Plan after Friday’s Terrorist Attack

An urgent motion with ‘4-point action plan’ has been submitted to Tower Hamlets Council by Aspire’s recently elected Councillor Harun Miah of Shadwell Ward. It focuses on the impact, safety and security of Tower Hamlets citizens and the duties placed on the local authority and the Government.

The emergency motion comes hot on the heels of the Aspire earlier statement ‘Evil Can Never Beat Compassion, Tolerance and Truth’ about the terror attack targeting Muslim families and children at their places of worship on their sacred day in two mosques in New Zealand – 50 innocent people died and 50 were seriously injured.

The party public statement earlier was released by Maium Miah – the party’s former Councillor in Canary Wharf ward, its Community Chief Abu Taher Choudhury, along with its Shadwell Councillor Harun Miah.

Aspire say that they want to work together across the political spectrum on this important issue and have put forward a clear and concrete 4-point action plan asking Tower Hamlets Council and Government to act urgently in the spirit of togetherness and solidarity to discharge their duties.

You can read the draft of Aspire motion and its 4-point action plan below:

Tower Hamlets Council Notes:

Cllr Harun Miah, Aspire, along with others, on a cross-party-basis, wishes to put on record that:

  • “Our hearts go out to the victims of the appalling terrorist crime that was committed in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 innocent people killed – including a 3-years old boy, a 5-years old girl and women – and a similar number seriously injured following an attack at two mosques. It is devastating that such horrendous incidents are still taking place in 2019. Islamophobic hatred, along with all other forms, must be stamped out of society.”
  • Friday’s attack was the deadliest and most heinous Islamophobic terrorist attack we have witnessed in recent times. From the information available, including the hate-filled manifesto of the terrorist, it is clear that the terror attack was a meticulously planned and deliberately targeted attack on Muslims. A white supremacist’s deliberate and vicious intention was to specifically target Muslims at their places of worship on their sacred day. It is sickening that the attacker chose to live stream the terror attack on innocent worshipers and chased down terrified little children, including a five years old girl, to shoot them down. This terrorist was on record spouting hate against Muslims and other minority communities.
  • Here in Tower Hamlets, we are proud to be one of the most diverse Boroughs in London. Tower Hamlets has one of the oldest and largest Muslim population in Europe in any local authority in the United Kingdom. The Council is working closely with the Police, who are providing reassurance patrols. We will continue to celebrate diversity and stand together to stamp out any forms of hate. We will continue to be a haven to those seeking a safe place and we will not allow cowardly acts like this to spread fear and hate amongst our residents. We stand united.
  • We condemn the abhorrent remarks by the Australian Senator blaming the murderous terror attacks in New Zealand on ‘immigration’. These disgraceful comments are designed to ‘turn the people against each other’ – exactly what the terrorists want to achieve.
  • We pay tribute to the brave bystander, Naeem Rashid, who died after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchurch shooter, his son was also a victim of the terror attack. Also, another beave soul Syed Mazharuddin, who saved dozens of innocent lives during the terror attack on Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. The worshipper tackled terrorist and wrestled the weapon from hands after he opened fire – saving countless lives in the slaughter of 49 innocents and many seriously injured.
  • As many Muslims across Tower Hamlets, London and Europe, prepare to undertake their prayers at mosques currently, they do so with the mixture of anxiety and angst as to whether our mosques and communities are safe in the face of unabated Islamophobia and hostility against Muslims. We fully support their determination and right to practice their faith and offer prayers at their place of worship without any fear or favour.
  • In the United Kingdom, within the last two months alone, two mosques in Newcastle and Manchester have been attacked by vandals who spray-painted Nazi swastika symbols.
  • In Tower Hamlets, East London Mosque has been specifically targeted by Islamophobes and fascists repeatedly. Hours after 49 people were killed in a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand, 27-year-old sustained injuries to his head after a man attacked him with a “hammer” and a “batten” outside an East London mosque in Tower Hamlets.
  • In a neighbouring local authority in North London, Martin Stokes was sentenced to 5 years in jail for intentionally driving into a crowd of worshippers exiting a mosque, and last October the Home Office reported that religious hate crime rocketed by 40 per cent across England and Wales in just one year, with more than half Islamophobic crimes targeted at Muslims.
  • Government and local authorities must be extra mindful and do more to allay the concerns of the British Muslims and other minority communities in light of the heightened and continuous risk posed to them from far-right hate crime and terrorists. With Britain about to leave the European Union (EU), as was seen just after the Brexit referendum in June 2016, including the murder of West Yorkshire MP Jo Cox by 52-year-old Thomas Mair, who the Judge when sentencing him to life in prison, said he was motivated by “admiration for Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds.”

Tower Hamlets Council Resolves (4-point Action plan):

    1. To urgently adopt the APPG Islamophobia definition. (In November 2018, the All Party Parliamentary Group, APPG, on British Muslims, published a definition of Islamophobia, based on extensive consultations and hundreds of case studies).

    2. To ask the Mayor to write to the Home Office to re-start and make available its Places of Worship Security Fund  – with funding available locally and proportionate to the risk Muslim communities now face. (A Government fund was launched in 2016, which helps churches mosques, temples and gurdwaras etc. to install alarms security, lighting and CCTV cameras, with bids up to £56,000 per place of worship could be submitted. It was closed in August 2018 and was currently shut for further applications. British Muslims/mosques need to know why this fund is not open on a continual basis, perhaps like to other faith groups/for other activities).

    3. In light of the Friday’s terror attack and the rise in Islamophobic and other hate crimes, to do more to allay the concerns of the British Muslims and other minority communities about the heightened and continuous risk posed to them from far-right hate crime and terrorists.

    4. To carry out new risk assessments and improve lighting and CCTV as an urgent first step, but also consider other measures to improve safety at the mosques.