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Race Tension in Bradford
by Barnie Choudhury

Last month Bradford saw the worst riots to hit it in six years. Our Social Affairs Reporter, Barnie Choudhury, went to the city for the Today programme. Now a month on, he has returned to Bradford where he has heard disturbing allegations that Hindu families are being systematically driven out of their homes by young Muslims.


Hasmukh Shah tours what is left of his fire-bombed pharmacy. There is still the smell of burning, a month on. All that remains is a shell of the building. Mr. Shah believes it will cost around three quarters of a million pounds to get back to where the business was before the attack. He is one of twelve international trustees of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. His critics denounce the VHP as an organisation for Hindu fundamentalists, something it denies. Mr. Shah claims that over the last ten years he’s seen the Hindu community in Lidget Green and Great Horton shrink from five thousand to five hundred:

“This is a clear warning to the Home Secretary and the police that if they do not want the streets of Britain to be like the Taleban controlled Afghanistan, then they have to take immediate action. This is really a demographic, systematic ethnic cleansing.”

Mr. Shah says that ninety-nine percent of Muslims are law abiding but the rest, a minority of young people, are out of control and intent on causing trouble. People are frightened and some Hindus are leaving the area. One woman, who did not want to be identified, said:

“We are very scared because when ever we come to the centre, the Muslim youth in particular look upon us as if we are aliens or strangers. Our cars are not safe, the contents of this centre are not safe, our life is also threatened. There’s intimidation on the streets everyday.”

Assistant Chief Constable Greg Wilkinson from West Yorkshire police has told the Today programme he knows there are tensions between some Hindus and Muslims:

“We are talking all the time to the people within both those groups and are trying to work with them to ensure they can live harmoniously. I’m also aware that some of the Hindu families are moving out of the area.”

Muslims in Bradford vehemently deny there is any form of ethnic cleansing. Ishtiaq Ahmed is the General Secretary for the Bradford Council of Mosques said it just would not be tolerated:

“Anything of that nature would not be tolerated and not accepted. Violence and intimidation no matter where it comes from, if it comes from the Muslims or Hindus is condemned.”

Racial, and now religious, tensions appear to be apparent in Bradford. Either way the police look likely to be blamed. After all, too little action will lead to accusations of their ignoring a problem, while too much could lead to yet another confrontation.


Read the full transcript


Jihad graffiti
Listen - Hindu families in Bradford are being driven out of their homes by young Muslims
Hasmukh Shah's burnt out shop
Listen - Bradford - Interview with Assistant Chief Constable - West Yorkshire
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Lidget Green
Assistant Chief Constable Greg   
Wilkinson talking to Barnie Choudhury
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