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Remembrance events to mark Altab Ali Day

Commemoration events will take place in Tower Hamlets this May to remember Altab Ali, who was killed in a brutal racist attack in 1978. 

Altab, a newly married, 25-year-old garment factory worker, had recently returned to the UK from Bangladesh. He was returning home from work in nearby Brick Lane when he was fatally stabbed in the 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.  

Wreath laying and poetry reading will form part of the Altab Ali Day commemoration ceremony hosted by the council at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel on Thursday 4 May. 

A free photography exhibition entitled Brick Lane 1978: Turning Point will be on display at the Brady Centre, 192-196 Hanbury Street, Whitechapel, from 4 to 30 May. 

The images by local photographer Paul Trevor celebrate East London's Bengali activists of 1978, reveal the dramatic events which were sparked by the racist murder of Altab Ali, and pay tribute to those who mobilised around the rallying cry of justice that followed. 

From 3 to 5 May, Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane, a short, animated documentary that explores the events surrounding the racist killing of Altab Ali, will be played on a loop at open-air screenings in Mallon Gardens, Toynbee Hall 28 Commercial Street, Whitechapel.  

The energetic and moving animation was led by young people who were inspired to share the story of the senseless attack. They conducted research through local archives, heritage walks and discussions with those at the heart of the anti-racist movement in recent decades. 

The film was made in 2020, in partnership with Loughborough University’s Migrant Memories and the Post-colonial Imagination project and directed by Dr Diwas Bisht. 

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The forty-fifth anniversary of Altab’s tragic and racist murder serves as a stark reminder to everyone in our community and beyond, of the need to unite against all forms of hatred and intolerance.”  

Cllr Suluk Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Social Inclusion, said: “Altab’s killing drove the whole community to take a stand against division. I encourage everyone, young and old, to commemorate Altab and his legacy, by attending the council events to learn about the changes inspired by his death.” 



Posted on Tuesday 25th April 2023