Opposition Lib Dem leader Councillor Rabina Khan today criticised Tower Hamlets Labour for failing to stand up for the welfare of East End schoolgirls and against racism after a mealy-mouthed response to the circulation of an overtly racist video on social media.
The video shows a crowd of Tower Hamlets schoolgirls leaving the school gates and boarding a bus at home time. The anonymous voiceover entails a racist tirade, including jibes about sarees some of the girls may wear, predictions that they will ‘breed like rats’ and other language that is too offensive to repeat in print.
In addition to the racism, the broadcast is replete with sexism, refers repeatedly to the underage schoolgirls’ genitals and - most offensively for all - calls for society to adopt the practices of Nazi medic Josef Mengele against Jewish Europeans during the holocaust, and to forcibly sterilise the schoolgirls to prevent them having children.
Labour mayor John Biggs’ statement in response includes weak platitudes about being ‘one community’ but fails to mention racism or sexism, complaining instead about the outburst’s ‘negativity’, or consider the victims and their own welfare.
Councillor Rabina Khan said: “For goodness sake, call a spade a spade. If this isn’t racism and sexism then what is? Labour needs to grow a backbone and stand up for this community.
“And how can you not even mention the victims, innocent schoolgirls, children surreptitiously filmed without their consent?”
Local Lib Dems suspect the video is illegal and have reported it to the police.
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse said: “Surely they can’t be looking for votes from people sympathetic to this bigot’s vile sentiments. They should call it what it is. No-one should have to suffer the horrific abuse that gets hurled at the girls in this video. I expect our Mayor and the local Labour party to take issues like this far more seriously.”