Newcastle Unites for our Muslim Sisters
Saturday 29 September 2018
Anya Cook UCU National Executive
Good afternoon and thank you to Newcastle Unites, to Tony and Shumel for inviting me to speak.
I bring greetings of solidarity from University and College Union.
I am proud to stand alongside our Muslim sisters who have been targeted today by the EDL, The Patriots – whichever masque it is that they are wearing today to object to women wearing the veil.
Banning the burkha, banning the veil – this is just a veil to masque an agenda of racism and hate.
The trade union movement has a proud history of campaigning against all forms of racism and discrimination: we will not tolerate it in our workplaces and we will not tolerate it in our classrooms.
Anti-fascism, anti-racism – it’s in our DNA.
We stand for tolerance.
We stand for respect.
We stand for dignity.
As educators, we in UCU know that education, openness and fairness are the best ways to challenge discrimination and hate to make positive changes in our classrooms and in society.
Hate comes from a place of fear.
Fear comes from inequality.
Austerity has caused inequality on a frightening scale.
We need to eradicate the politics of austerity which has ruled to divide and divided to rule.
Now more than ever, the trade union movement’s shared values of equality, justice and dignity matter.
To our Muslim sisters I say this:
We will be with you when you need us, shoulder to shoulder and by your side, supporting your right to express in peace, your faith, your culture, your identity – solidarity.