A hoax leaflet has been distributed in Thurrock, Essex, where there will be by-elections on Thursday 01 December in the Grays Riverside and the Homesteads wards. The leaflet has shocked local communities and appears to be an attempt by the far right to stir up racism in the area.
The leaflet is in the name of “The London East Islamic Movement”, which no one appears to have heard of, including established Muslim organisations. The leaflet uses Unite Against Fascism’s logo without obtaining authorisation and mentions Thurrock UNISON – a local trade union branch. UAF and Thurrock UNISON have contacted the local police.
The British National Party (BNP) is standing candidates in both the Grays Riverside and the Homesteads wards. BNP leader Nick Griffin and former BNP Youth leader Mark Collett were charged with inciting racial hatred earlier this year.
Ken Livingstone, Unite Against Fascism Chair said: “This is clearly a hoax leaflet by racists and should be consigned to the dustbin. Extreme racists are trying to inflame local community tensions by distributing this racist leaflet. The London East Islamic Movement does not exist and UAF will continue to campaign against racists and fascists. We note that the leaflet is being distributed in the two wards where there will be by-elections on 01 December. We urge the decent majority of people to use their vote to stop racists.”
Inayat Bunglawala, Muslim Council of Britain said: “The MCB has never heard of the London East Islamic Movement, nor the person that is quoted in the leaflet supposedly from the MCB. There have been similar cases of the far right distributing hoax leaflets around the country. This is a very crude attempt by the elements of the far right to whip up racism. We urge any-one who comes across this leaflet or similar leaflets to contact the police.”
Maureen McPherson, Thurrock UNISON Branch Secretary said: “Thurrock Unison will take a positive stance wherever it meets discrimination, bullying, prejudice or bigotry. We have no knowledge of this leaflet nor have we given permission for our name to be used on such a contaminated leaflet designed to promote racial hatred and tension. Thurrock Unison will continue to support UAF in its fight against fascism.”
Unite Against Fascism news release, 16 November 2005