Glasgow M8 bridge Kriss Donald tribute bid slammed as 'cynical' move by far-right
A BID to name a new bridge after tragic Kriss Donald was started by far-right extremists, the Glasgow Times can reveal.
The petition to name the replacement crossing over the M8 between Sighthill and Cowcaddens, which has garnered more than 4000 signatures, was launched by Kenny Smith, a former senior British National Party (BNP) member and now an activist for the far-right group Patriotic Alternative.
It has been branded a “sickening” manipulation of people’s “good faith” by Glasgow Labour MSP Paul Sweeney.
David Lawrence, a researcher at the anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate described the organisation as being “comprised of the dregs of the BNP and worse still”.
He added: “That they are seeking to capitalise on the tragic murder of Kriss Donald and to deceive the public in this cynical manner, is, sadly, no surprise. It is a reminder that we must remain vigilant of prejudicial groups attempting to gain traction through underhand means."
Kriss Donald was singled out for murder by three Asian gang members because he was white and they were looking for a retaliatory hit after one of them was attacked on a night out by white rivals. He was abducted from a street near his Pollokshields home in 2004 and then stabbed repeatedly before being soaked in petrol and set alight. Imran Shahid, his brother Zeeshan, and Mohammed Mushtaq (left-to-right, below) were jailed for a total of 70 years for the brutal killing.
Mr Sweeney said: “It is sickening to watch this group manipulate people who signed a petition in good faith, not realising its purpose was not to commemorate the memory of Kriss Donald but to attempt to sabotage a petition started to create an appropriate memorial to Firsat Dag on the 20th anniversary of his murder in Sighthill, at the very location where the new bridge is situated.”
The petition does not declare anywhere that it is linked to the Patriotic Alternative group, whose stated aims are to “raise awareness of issues such as the demographic decline of native Britons in the United Kingdom, the environmental impact of mass immigration and the indoctrination and political bias taking place in British schools”.
Mr Smith is one of a number of former BNP activists who have found a home for their nativist and discriminatory views in the organisation, according to Hope Not Hate.
The research and advocacy organisation told the Glasgow Times he was fired from his job as an army cadet officer after his role in the party was exposed having stood for election in Glasgow for the BNP in 2007. Mr Smith was sacked from the party the same year, owing to a feud with the then leader Nick Griffin.
Mr Smith was described as having “a history of promoting hate,” by Mr Sweeney.
We reported previously how Glasgow city council had launched a competition among local school pupils and residents to name the bridge. It is not yet known when the results of this will be announced.
Laura Towler, the deputy leader of Patriotic Alternative, said: "Kenny Smith is a passionate advocate for the indigenous people of Scotland.
"He has a long track record of standing up against anti-white hatred such as the horrific racist murder of Kriss Donald.
"Having heard about another campaign attempting to use a tragic non-racist killing to highlight racism in the city, Kenny was moved to start the petition to have it named after 15-year-old schoolboy Kriss, who was murdered simply for being a ‘white boy’.
"Kenny has said: ‘Anti-white racism is an everyday fact of life for many. There are areas of our own country where our people are not welcome. That is unacceptable and yet the authorities turn a blind eye to it because the victims are white.'”
A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “The racist murder of Kriss Donald was a tragedy. It’s hard to fathom the motives of the people who did it and it’s just as hard to fathom the motives of people who would try to co-opt a boy’s memory to divide Glasgow’s communities. It is shameful.
“When it comes to naming the bridge we will want to listen to the views of local people, and particularly local young people, before taking a decision.”