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24 September 2014
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Leicester in Harmony?

BBC Radio Leicester's BIG Debate took place on 07 February 2007. Listen to the BIG Debate in full here, and find out what happened when the city's movers and shakers tried to answer the question: is there harmony in Leicester?

BBC Radio Leicester's BIG Debate on 'Fact or Fiction - Harmony in Leicester?' took place on Wednesday 7 February 2007 at 17:30.

It looked at whether or not Leicester lives up to its reputation of being a model city where different cultures and faiths live harmoniously together.

Listen to The BIG Debate on harmony in Leicester in full...

audio Listen: The BIG Debate - Leicester in Harmony? >
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One of the outcomes of the BIG Debate was that a leading member of the BNP has agreed to meet with local Muslims.

The BNP's Mark Collett condemned the wearing of the veil by some islamic women, and said that wearing a full veil was "a powerful statement against integration."

Listen to a key moment in the post-debate discussion between Mark Collett and some local Muslims, and click on the three parts to hear more...

He also claimed a high proportion of young Muslims want Sharia law in the UK.

Councillor Hussein Suleman dismissed Mr Collett's comments and went on to make the offer for Mr Collett to meet with Muslim women.

The Panel

The debate was chaired by BBC Radio Leicester's Martin Ballard and the members of the panel were:

  • Woldie Selassie - Chair, Leicester African Caribbean Arts Forum and Leicester Black History Season consortium
  • Professor Richard Bonney - Formerly Professor of Modern History at the University of Leicester, now Emeritus Professor and Chairman of the Europe-Islamic Organization
  • Riyaz Laher - Youth worker and teacher
  • Sir Peter Soulsby - Leicester South MP

Background information

Leicester has a population of 280,000 people from different faiths and cultures living together.

It is the diversity of cultures, heritage and languages spoken in Leicester that make it the vibrant and energetic city that it is.

Some more facts about Leicester:

• There are over 50 languages spoken
• 21.74% of population are aged 30–44*
• Leicester City population is 36.1% ethnic minority
• The population of Leicester City is 48% Male and 52% Female

BBC Radio Leicester's Bridget Blair takes a closer look at the different communities that have settled in Leicester since the 1950s...

audio Listen: Settling in Leicester >
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Can Leicester claim to be a city where different people get along? Click below to discover what some people in Leicester had to say:

audio Listen: Do we really get along? - Part One >
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Whilst others said:

audio Listen: Do we really get along? - Part Two >
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Do you think we really get along? Have your say on the BBC Leicester message board...

last updated: 18/06/08
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