Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 10:23 UK

Race boss's discrimination claims

Aneela Asim
Ms Asim said she was undermined by some board members

The chief executive of a race equality group has made a formal claim for racial and sexual discrimination.

Aneela Asim, who is in charge of the Nottinghamshire Black Partnership, said she had been undermined by Pakistani members on the group's board.

Ms Asim, herself a British Pakistani, said if she had been a man, or a white woman in the same senior position, she would have been treated differently.

No-one from the board was available for comment until the matter is resolved.

Leadership role

"I've always been given the indication I'm here to do as I'm told and if I'm going to do anything other than that, I'm going to be put in my place," said Ms Asim.

"Although I've come into a leadership role with qualifications and experience, they feel they can talk to me the way they might talk to a woman at home because the Asian community have never seen women in a leadership role.

"I'm here to promote equalities. If I don't stand up for myself, what hope have I got for anyone else?"

It is understood Ms Asim's allegations will be strenuously denied, including the specific claims about the way she has been treated as well as the more general claim she faced discrimination simply because she is an Asian woman.

Leaked report

In a council report reviewing the group, leaked to BBC East Midlands, the organisation has been criticised for "damaging community relations".

It found that while staff have delivered their work professionally - which includes resourcing for health and crime prevention - the organisation's board has been divided, predominantly between Asian members on one side and African-Caribbean members on the other.

The situation came to a head in March when some board members were barred from an emergency meeting. This led to a confrontation which police were asked to investigate.

Nottingham City Council, the One Nottingham group and the Government Office for the East Midlands have now decided to pull the group's funding after deciding that the board row has "diverted effort away" from helping the city's ethnic minority communities.

The partnership has been served notice that funding will stop in three months' time and the organisation will close.

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