Altab Ali Remembered

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A ceremony of commemoration was held in the borough on Saturday 4 May, to remember Altab Ali on the 46th anniversary of his murder. 

Altab Ali, a newly married, 25-year-old garment factory worker, had recently returned to the UK from Bangladesh.  

Brutally murdered in a racist attack in 1978, he was on his way home from work in nearby Brick Lane when he was fatally stabbed in the park in Whitechapel that now bears his name.  

The racially motivated killing mobilised communities in Tower Hamlets to take a united stand against hatred and intolerance and marked a significant turning point in east London’s race relations.  

Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Altab Ali Day on 4 May is an opportunity for our communities to come together in honour of Altab’s life and legacy. Tower Hamlets has a long and proud history of resisting all forms of hate, and the day is a poignant reminder of the importance of keeping alive the significant messages about learning from the past, community cohesion and standing united against racism.” 

Laying of wreaths, poetry readings and tributes formed part of the Altab Ali Day commemoration ceremony hosted by the council at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel. 

Also marking Altab Ali Day, an exhibition titled Fighting Fascism in Focus: 1978 is on display at the Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel until 25 May (open Monday to Friday, 9am – 7pm and Saturday 10.30am to 4pm)The exhibition contains work created during and after 1978 through photography, poster art and graphic design. It captures the spirit of the time and the power of photography to document this key moment in the history of the East End, and the UK’s ant-racism movement.

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