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Who is to blame for the English race riots

00:00 Wed 11th Jul 2001 |

asks Modge:
A.
According to Amnesty International, Liberty, the Law Society and other human rights groups, it's all down to comments by Labour and Tory politicians about asylum-seekers. They sent a report to the UN Human Rights Committee recently, claiming that 'negative presentation of asylum-seekers has not only led to direct attacks on asylum-seekers, but also an underlying greater hostility towards all those from ethnic minority communities, and heightened racial tensions.'

Q. What do the politicians think about that
A.
Predictably, they deny it. Lord Tebbit said he didn't think that the comments had been excessive, and that repressing discussion about asylum keeps it on the far fringes of politics.

Q. Who does he blame
A.
The British National Party...

Q. Which blames...
A.
...'Asian thugs'.

Q. So, while everyone's blaming each other, the problem continues
A.
Yes. The report to the UN committee fears that these disturbances are only a symptom of the state of race relations in Britain.

Q. Will anyone get to the root of the problem
A.
There is a new official report, which was commissioned by Bradford council and other groups to look at racial problems in the city - even before the riots started. Chaired by Sir Herman Ouseley, the former head of the commission for racial equality, the inquiry describes Bradford as 'the ultimate challenge in race relations in Britain.'

Q. Why
A.
It concluded that Bradford's race relations are getting worse rather than better, and that 'communities are fragmenting along racial, cultural and faith lines.'

Q. What does the Inquiry blame for that
A.
Among many other things, it mentions segregation in schools, which doesn't promote a multi-culture society, just growing intolerance. There is discriminating against Asians in the job market. It states that local leadership is weak, and maintains 'the status quo of control and segregation through fear, ignorance and threats.' It talks about police officers who won't tackle black and Asian offenders in case they are called 'racist', and sections of the community believing that nothing is being done against some criminals and drug dealers. The list goes on...

Q. So what happens next
A.
Home secretary David Blunkett plans to review the factors behind the riots in Bradford and other cities to prevent this happening in the future.

What do you think is behind the riots Post your opinion here

By Sheena Miller

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