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Birmingham Muslims prepare anti-war civil disobedience

Birmingham Post | 16.09.2002 10:01 | Birmingham


Group prepares for war protests

By Shahid Naqvi,

A war with Iraq could lead to civil disobedience in Birmingham with workers downing tools in protest, a pressure group claimed yesterday.

Anti-war campaigners also claimed any conflict could also harm the huge gains made by the city in race relations over the last decade.

The warning came at a rally, organised by the Birmingham South Asian Alliance and held in Alum Rock, to oppose America's "War Against Terror".

One of the group's founders, Mukhtar Dai, told The Birmingham Post that Asian workers in the city would feel compelled to perform acts of civil disobedience to show their strong opposition to military force being used against Iraq.

"If it means disruption by our people who work in various service industries that will happen. For example people working in taxis and buses will stop work and there should also be strikes in factories," he said.

"The largest possible civil demonstration within the law ought to take place."

About 100 people listened to a panel of Asian activists and writers speak against war at the Norton Hall in Ralph Road.

Chairman Raj Pal said: "We called this rally because the threatened war against Iraq, the campaign against terror and the action against Afghanistan are not just things that affect people in those countries.

"It is important that we send a message that we are united against this so-called war on terror."

The Birmingham South Asian Alliance was created to oppose racism in Britain and promote cohesion among the Asian community in the city.

Next week the Stop the War Coalition is to hold a public meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday while a national rally in London on September 25 is being described by organisers as the "biggest anti-war demonstration in the last 25 years".

** More than 6,000 people yesterday attended a conference in the London Arena in Docklands billed as the largest gathering of Muslims in the UK since September 11.

Delegates met to debate the role of Muslims in the West since the terrorist attacks and to discuss the situation in Iraq.

Birmingham Post