A young Bangladeshi man murdered in a racist attack at a park over 40 years ago in Tower Hamlets is having a commemoration this Saturday evening at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel. His death sparked a united campaign against racism in East London.
Altab Ali was a 25-year-old worker who had recently arrived in the UK from Bangladesh. On his way home to Brick Lane, he was murdered in a racially motivated attack in St Mary’s Park in May 1978.
The commemoration will be hosted by Tower Hamlets Council at 6pm on Saturday, May 4 in the park named after him in Whitechapel. The event will include wreath-laying and speeches by community leaders.
Other events on the day feature a performance that tells the story of Ali’s death at the Bradley Art and Community Centre at 4pm. The playwright of the performance, Julie Begum, will also be present to take part in a question-and-answer session after the performance.
John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, told Eastlondonlines: “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.”
Ten days after Ali’s death, about 7,000 people came together and marched through central London, calling on the government to address racism in East London.
In 1989, St Mary’s Park installed a new entrance archway as a memorial to Altab Ali and all victims of racist violence. Around a decade later, they renamed the park to Altab Ali Park.
His racially motivated killing united 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.
Amina Ali, Councillor of Bow East and Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit, said to ELL: “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,” she added.
This will be the fourth commemoration of Ali since Mayor John Biggs marked it in October 2015.