Since 1997, reported racist attacks in Northern Ireland have increased by 900%. The announcement of these government figures comes amidst a dramatic increase in attacks on ethnic minorities.
A small group calling themselves the 'White Nationalist Party' (WNP) has been responsible for organising a campaign of intimidation and violence against ethnic minorities.
The WNP have come to Northern Ireland on the back of a racist anti-asylum campaign, which has resulted in attacks upon ethnic minorities in Portadown, as well as Fillipino nurses in Ballymena.
Racist attacks here are actually at a higher level than in England and Wales. A recent study by the NI Equality Commission shows that 16.4 per 1,000 ( compared to 12.6 in England & Wales ) of the minority ethnic population were attacked by racists.
Some politicians have actually contributed to the racist filth being spread by fascists. The building of a mosque in Craigavon was opposed by the DUP because "Muslim prayers are noisy". The former UUP mayor of Craigavon Fred Crowe said "Muslims are out to wipe out Christianity" and even went as far as to attempt to link local Muslims in Craigavon with the 11 September terror attacks!
These racist lies only give groups like the WNP oxygen upon which to feed and grow.
The far-right attempt to scapegoat ethnic minorities for the problems facing working class people. The reality is that successive governments have starved public services in Northern Ireland of adequate funding for decades.
When the Assembly was up and running, all the parties in the Executive carried out privatisation of public services and other anti-working class policies.
Working class people, of all colours and religions, have suffered because of these right-wing policies. Groups like the WNP are opposed to working class people uniting to defend our jobs, services and conditions.
That is why the fight against racism and fascism is linked to the fight for a socialist alternative to the right wing parties and the capitalist system they defend. Socialist Youth will continue to campaign against the rise of racism and will vehemently oppose all fascist activity in Northern Ireland.
For more articles from the November 2003 edition of Socialist Voice
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