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ANTI-FASCISTS rallied in the Yorkshire market town of Batley yesterday in solidarity with a local Muslim councillor who has been scurrilously attacked in the local media.
Local Labour councillor Fazila Loonat was targeted in an opinion piece by columnist Danny Lockwood for local newspaper The Press.
Mr Lockwood wrote: “In my opinion, Batley East councillor Fazila Loonat is a dangerous and divisive extremist.
“She’s a leading member of an anti-British, communist group that is riddled with anti-semitic racists.
“Loonat is a leading local light of the fascist-style group Momentum, which is built on the ‘politics’ of bullying and coercion, of silencing opposition and festering hate amongst British communities.”
Local Stand Up To Racism activists organised yesterday’s rally in solidarity with Ms Loonat, an equalities officer for GMB union.
The town is in the parliamentary constituency where Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a neonazi two years ago.
It also borders Huddersfield, where a young Syrian refugee was recently filmed being assaulted and “waterboarded” at school, prompting tens of thousands of online protests.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott took time out from campaigning in the region to speak at the rally.
She told the Morning Star: “I wanted to show support for the Muslim councillor who was under attack, and also because the rally was in Batley and Spen, near where a Syrian schoolboy was waterboarded and tortured and, of course, where Jo Cox was killed.
“I wanted to go and stress the Labour leadership’s position against Islamophobia and anti-semitism.
“It was a successful rally. I think it is important to show solidarity. I know what it is to be attacked by the press.”
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