Council and communities mark Altab Ali Day

Residents, community leaders, faith groups and voluntary organisations will come together at Altab Ali Park at 6pm this Saturday 4 May to commemorate the life and untimely death of Altab Ali in 1978.

Tower Hamlets Council will host a ceremonial event, which will include wreath laying and speeches by community leaders.

Altab, a 25-year old garment factory worker had recently arrived in the UK from Bangladesh. He was returning home from work in nearby Brick Lane when he was fatally stabbed in a park in Whitechapel that now bears his name.

His 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.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets Council, said: “The 41st anniversary of Altab Ali’s terrible murder, is a poignant reminder of how important it is to take a stand against all forms of hate and intolerance and the need for our communities to come together to oppose racism.”

Other events on the day include the staging of the heart-breaking story of the death of Altab Ali at the Brady Arts and Community Centre, at 4pm. The play oscillates between a village in Sylhet, Bangladesh and a flat in East London and dramatises the historic moment when Altab’s mother is given the devastating news. The airmail letters to his family back home with descriptions of life in a foreign land are keenly anticipated but everything changes with the arrival of an ominous envelope from one of Ali’s friends. Playwriter Julie Begum will be present to take part in a question and answer session afterwards.

Councillor Amina Ali Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexitsaid: “Altab’s senseless murder 41 years ago was the catalyst for a mass anti-racist movement in our community. Altab has left a legacy of hope, unity and harmony, which all people in Tower Hamlets and beyond can live up to.”