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National Front activities organiser Terry Blackham
"We want to see the trouble and violence stopped in Oldham and the only way to do that is by repatriation"
 real 28k

Oldham's deputy mayor Riaz Ahmed
"Decent people in this country will never, never, never subscribe to National Front policies"
 real 28k

Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Muslim leader seeks peace talks with BNP
Scenes from Burnley
Robin Cook condemned recent racial violence
A Muslim community leader is seeking peace talks with the British National Party in the wake of racial violence in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham.

Shoukat Khawaja, of Oldham, said he wanted to "get the hate out of the heart" of BNP Chairman, Nick Griffin.

Mr Griffin, received 16% of the vote in the strife-torn constituency of Oldham West and Royton at the general election.

On Tuesday, he told BBC Two's Newsnight programme that he had visited Burnley as part of his party's "strategy" to defuse tensions by offering a political alternative to disgruntled whites.

BNP Chairman, Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin received 16% of the vote in Oldham West and Royton
He called for "peace walls" similar to those in Northern Ireland to avoid clashes between different ethnic groups.

"In Oldham, Burnley and towns like that white people are being forced out of their homes by Asian racists and Asian people are being forced out of their homes by white racists.

"Unless they are moved peacefully to divide the communities, as the British state has done in Belfast, they are going to be moved by violence, which nobody wants to see."

On Thursday, the Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook, told the Commons: "The only people who gain from violence and from the destruction are those extremists who wish to turn racism to their own poisonous political objectives - such as the BNP.

"It is important that we defeat them."

Mr Cook added that in order to do this it would be "necessary to address not only the racism that was demonstrated in those riots but also the social conditions which breach the tensions in the first place."


The BNP have targeted areas in order to ferment divides that split and devastate communities

Nottingham South MP, Alan Simpson
The leader of the house was responding to a question by Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson who called for a debate on the "hopelessness and despair" that resulted from poor social conditions being exploited by the far right.

Mr Simpson told MPs: "I know the leader of the house will be as appalled as anyone else about the rioting that has taken place over recent months in Burnley, Bradford and Oldham, and the specific ways in which the National Front and the BNP have targeted areas in order to ferment divides that split and devastate communities."

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