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Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
'Yob culture' blamed for riots
Burnt out cars in Burnley
Burnley violence mirrored that in other northern towns
By BBC News Online's community affairs reporter Cindi John

The involvement of Asian youths in civil disturbances and violence at the recent Pakistan v Australia cricket matches has painted a picture of a rebellious generation.

But there are conflicting views among Asians themselves.

One community leader said the recent disturbances involving Asian youths were the result of "yob culture" not race issues.

The whole generational thing is just some old buffers ignoring the fact they did the same thing and wanting to be community leaders.

Dr Virinder Kalra, sociologist

Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said many British born Asians in the riot-hit towns had assimilated the worst of English culture.

He said: "They have the yobbish culture, they are defiant, not so obedient to their parents any longer, they don't comply with the peace and quiet the family want, the way their parents lived here and they are rebellious.

"They are following the norms of the youth culture of this country. Then because they come from a different racial group things do tend to acquire a racial complexion."

He said the way forward was to tackle the root of the problem: high unemployment and poor housing.

Manzoor Moghal
Manzoor Moghal blames yob culture for riots
But sociologist Dr Virinder Kalra of Manchester University disagrees and says the recent troubles are not a new phenomenon.

He said: "Twenty years ago twelve Asian and African Caribbean young people were arrested for making petrol bombs in Bradford, the so-called Bradford 12 case.

"Their argument in court was they were defending their communities against the National Front.

"And in 1976 in Southall the murder of a young Asian taxi driver sparked a riot," Dr Kalra said.

"The whole generational thing is just some old duffers ignoring the fact they did the same thing and wanting to be community leaders. There is a history behind this, it's not as if there hasn't been resistance before," he added.

'Cycle of deprivation'

The leader of the Muslim Parliament organisation, Dr Ghayasauddin Siddiqui, also expressed doubt that the present troubles were connected to different attitudes of young Asians.

He said: "It may have a little part but I don't think it's significant.

"The cycle of deprivation and the British National Party's part in exploiting it have played the major role in the situation we are facing today."

Virinder Kalra believed that in many respects young Asians had now taken on the position formerly occupied by young black people.

"In the 1970s the high levels of unemployment, the policing and stuff mainly affected the Afro-Caribbean youths and now it's Asian Muslim youth," he said.

Dr Kalra said immigration from Pakistan and Bangladesh to northern towns meant there were now maturing communities with large numbers of young men who were unemployed and discontented.

"The North thing is really that there are a lot of young men unemployed there at the moment."

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15 Jun 01 | UK Politics
'No no-go areas in Oldham'
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