- Anti-War Marches, London
– 2001- 2003
British Muslims were able to form important alliances in their opposition to
the US-led wars against Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2002). For the first time,
Muslims found that they were not espousing some fringe issue as far as mainstream
society was concerned, but their concerns were at the very heart of a wide social
movement that deplored US policies and distanced itself from the actions of
the Blair government. The rallies gradually increased in size: 20,000 took to
the streets in October 2001; 100,000 in November 2001; 400,000 in September
2002; the record 2 million in March 2003, the largest political demonstration
in the nation’s history.
The challenges of organising these events brought to the fore fresh talent,
including Salma Yaqoob, who successfully engineered an alliance with the Socialist
Workers Party/Socialist Alliance in Birmingham. The Muslim Association of Britain
(MAB) and its activists gained invaluable experience
in mobilising British Muslims, and also widened the agenda to include justice
for Palestinians. In a memorable moment, the adhan was called out from the base
of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square by Hassen Rasool, during the march
held in Ramadan (18 November 2002).Volunteers from the Muslim Association of
Britain also handed out dates for those present to break the fast - many non-Muslims
too has fasted on the day as a show of support with Muslims.
the leftists had been here today people would have said we're
all leftists. If only CND has been here they would have said it was the
middle-class elite. If it was only the Muslims they would have called us
extremists. If it was only Asians and Black people they would have said
was the ethnic minorities. Tony Blair, we are here united against this war.
You cannot dismiss us all."
Oct 13th 2001
speak for humanity. This is an argument between the people of the world
and the rulers of the world.”
Tony Benn, Feb