Published on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:13 Written by Gerry Gable
Dear Mr Williams,
Searchlight has received your invitation to attend your ill-conceived debate with the English Defence League on 4 October. An earlier version of the announcement on your website stated that you had also invited Carlos Cortiglia, the British National Party candidate for Mayor of London last May, to take part.
Clearly you have no concept of the long-time tenet of the antifascist movement in Britain: no platform for fascists and racists.
The venue for your debate adds insult to injury: it was outside Conway Hall that the student Kevin Gately was murdered in a clash between antifascists and the forerunners of the British National Party, the National Front.
We at Searchlight, which has resisted the far right and racists since May 1964 as an organisation and publication, are angry and appalled by your betrayal of the thousands of Muslims and others across the country who are sick and tired of having their lives and faith threatened by the man you have invited to your debate, a criminal hooligan who leads an army of drunken thugs whom he incites to attack almost every element of your community's lives.
We will be standing alongside anti-fascists, anti-racists and real Muslims to take the protest to the doors of Conway Hall and beyond, to help the bunch of quasi intellectuals that is the MDI to understand the reality of life in Britain today.
When Unite Against Fascism, trade unionists, Searchlight and hundreds of Muslims protested, in their thousands, against the EDL march in Waltham Forest on 1 September, under the banner of We Are Waltham Forest, there was no sign of support from the MDI. The MDI would perform a far greater service to the Muslim community by joining in the call to stop the EDL on its intended return visit to the borough on 27 October than to debate with these Islamophobes.
Call off the debate now. Unity should be the watchword of our fight back.
Peaceful Protest against platform for EDL leader Tommy Robinson