It seems our little island of Ireland isn't always a friendly place without the problem of racism and attacks on migrants. Just a short while after the horrific state racism against the two Roma families, a halal shop in Cookstown Tallaght has been attacked and vandalised by racists. The scenes from the shop are horrific. There are many racist writings on the walls, full of hatred.
It is said that there are no significant, organized-physical racists attacks in this country but the latest attack on the halal shop is a clear sign of escalating racism. The handling of the Roma families by the state agencies was a new level of state racism and this latest attack is a proof that racism does not happen randomly as an act of a few mad people. As previously written, I maintain the view that each and every racist attack – however big or small – gives more confidence to the racists and encourages them to escalate their attacks.
There are many halal shops in Ireland and they have existed for many years. Never before has there there such brutal attacks on these shops. This is not a matter of ordinary criminality but a clearly politically motivated attempt to terrorise migrants, and in this case, the Muslims and the halal shops.
This week was the anniversary of Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, or Reichskristallnacht, and it was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed . This was the start of the horrors to come in the following years.
There are some immediate issues that the anti-racists in Ireland need to consider.
1. The first and most important action is to show clear and strong solidarity with the Muslims and the shop owner.
2. One has to notice and question the timing of this latest attack that happened soon after the state racism against Roma families.
3. This attack is a significant escalation and it needs to be taken very seriously.
4. This is not typical vandalism or robbery but a clearly racist attack.
5. There needs to be a very strong response to this attack and the whole country needs to see that the migrants, the halal shops and Muslims are not alone and they will be defended.
6. There should be anti-racist stalls and a leafleting campaign in the local area of the shop
7. Local schools need to be approached for educational sessions against racism.
8. An anti-racist demonstration in the local area with the aim of bringing together the Roma, Muslim communities, various anti-racist campaign groups and the local people.
It is important that in all of these, that the victims of this attack and the Muslim community have a leading role and that they are in agreement with the next steps.
Racism is not just a madness of a few people with some sick ideas in their heads but a clear and present danger to all of the society. The response to racism is not a nice-to-have, once off action but a sustained and committed democratic campaign in many fronts. The current economic-social crisis in Ireland hurts many sections of society. Subsequent governments have continued to implement viscous austerity measures and cuts that have horrific effects to the most vulnerable sections of the society. This environment creates an opportunity for racists to target migrants and ethnic minorities. The system we leave under has yet again proven to be inherently racists and discriminatory. We cannot allow a diversion from the real issues and the fight-back; and let the migrants be the targets of racisms.
No to racism, no to Islamophobia! | Austerity and cuts breed racism! | Solidarity with Muslims in Ireland!