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Class, ethnicity and religion in the Bengali East End: a political history / Nilufar Ahmed

Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume: 39, Issue: 13, Pages: 2416 - 2418

Swansea University Author: Ahmed, Nilufar

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Abstract

The Bangladeshi community in East London is more associated with deprivation and disadvantage than it is with political activism. However, in this insightful book Glynn charts the political mobilization of the community in Tower Hamlets, threading together political activism of Bengalis from the end...

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Published in: Ethnic and Racial Studies
ISSN: 0141-9870 1466-4356
Published: 2016
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa27988
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Abstract: The Bangladeshi community in East London is more associated with deprivation and disadvantage than it is with political activism. However, in this insightful book Glynn charts the political mobilization of the community in Tower Hamlets, threading together political activism of Bengalis from the end of Empire and East Pakistan; to the Independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and their growing political engagement in the UK.The East End has historically been a magnet for migrants. Glynn discusses the familiar trope of comparisons between Bangladeshis and the previous wave of Jewish settlers, pointing out significant differences between the communities that have shaped their political engagement. The Jewish struggle against fascism in the 1930s is often likened to the Bengali fight against racism in the 1970s; however, the framework of experience was very different. The Jewish community was already established in the East End by that time, whereas Bengalis were only just arriving into the hostility of the 1970s with young families and no understanding of the English language and culture. Having had time to settle created the space for the Jewish community to feel secure in their religious identity before going on to form alliances with other working class groups and trade unions to improve conditions for the wider community.
Keywords: Bangladeshi, politics, East London, class
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Issue: 13
Start Page: 2416
End Page: 2418