Sunday, October 23, 2005

UK riots looking like Compton in the early 90s.

UK: More on the race riots that happened in Birmingham, UK. The 300 Muslims wanting to come in for payback is either a nice touch at storytelling or a scary scene in the making if British authorities step in and say enough.

"....The rape allegation appears to have crystallised the growing ill feeling between certain sections of both communities. Since the Handsworth riots, the Lozells area has changed. Many white and more affluent African-Caribbean residents have moved out. In the meantime, the Pakistani community has put down roots and built itself an economic base. On the Lozells Road there are Pakistani-owned bookshops, cash and carry groceries and jewellery stores. As well as catering for their own community, they sell foodstuffs and cosmetics favoured by the African-Caribbean community. That rankles with some of the local African-Caribbean traders, who see their customer base eroded. Mohammed Saleem, of the Birchfield Traders Association, said Pakistani shopkeepers had closed their shops for an hour on Saturday afternoon as a mark of respect. "We put out a statement making it clear that if it [the rape] happened, we condemn it wholeheartedly, but you have to go by the evidence. We think the protests are basically an economic thing to stop people trading with the Asians." Another Pakistani trader, who did not wish to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: "Four days ago black boys stood outside my shop. They had rocks and they were telling me to close the shutters. They were using abusive language. All the black community leaders did was to arrange another protest. They went to the church and afterwards youths were throwing stones, breaking windows and attacking the local mosque. Then some Asian kids came to protect the mosque, but were driven away by the police." He added: "Black people say that we have taken all their businesses. They say we are taking over, including the African shops that sell beauty products to black people. These used to be run by black people, now they're run by Pakistanis. They want to shut us down." A British-born Pakistani Muslim who runs a decorating shop on Lozells Road, said the violence could have been worse. "In Aston, which is about half a mile away, around 300 Asian lads were ready to come to Lozells, but the police stopped them from coming down here." He said the violence was terrifying. "We just saw black youths running up and down the road, smashing things up and kicking things over. You can smash up as many shops as you like and people will put up with it, but when you start attacking a mosque, people aren't going to tolerate that. "There are about 300 Muslims waiting for orders, but the imam stopped them from doing anything." Maxie Hayles said the problem transcends economics. "Afro-Caribbeans have been spending money in Asian shops for many years now, but they don't give them enough respect. They don't employ black people in their shops and it is about the way they treat their customers. The way they look at them." Dr Frank Reeves, chief executive of Race Equality West Midlands, said both groups were "severely disadvantaged and in competition with each other for jobs and other opportunities." Amid the confusions and all the accusations, he said, the wider causes stand out. "It's about anger, discontent and jealously."

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