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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 10:41 GMT
Oldham MP warns of anti-white racism
Phil Woolas MP
Phil Woolas: "Attacks condemned"
A Labour MP has been accused of damaging community relations after claiming racist attacks by blacks and Asians on white people were being ignored.

Phil Woolas, whose Oldham constituency was the scene of race riots in the summer of 2001, said there had been a number of anti-white attacks in recent weeks.

He has written to the Commission for Racial Equality to ask them to take the issue more seriously.

But his comments were attacked by Oldham councillor Mohammed Masud as "absolutely irresponsible".

'Politicians failing'

Mr Masud said Mr Woolas's comments would not help community relations in the town.

He added: "His remarks were inflammatory and irresponsible - the only beneficiary could be the BNP."

Mr Woolas, who represents Oldham East and Saddleworth and is also a government whip, said race relations were being damaged by politicians' failure to condemn racism towards white people.

My view is that the police are improving their reaction to both kinds of racial attacks. They both exist.

Claude Moraes, Labour MEP
He said: "We have had a series of very nasty and sinister attacks in my area against white people, where it is clear that the motivation is racial.

"I want to make the point that these attacks should be condemned as equally as strongly as we condemn racist attacks by white people on ethnic minorities."

Mr Woolas said that 25% of racist attacks in Oldham were against white people.

He added: "If there's a feeling in the white population that a racist attack against a white person doesn't matter - and that perception is very strongly there in many of our communities - then I think we have to tackle that."

He denied he was helping the BNP, saying he was committed to defeating the party and its aims.

'Equally and effectively'

Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP and former director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the CRE had treated racist attacks on white people "very seriously" in the past.

"They are as brutal and are to be condemned as much as racially-motivated attacks on black and Asian or ethnic minority people.

"My view is that the police are improving their reaction to both kinds of racial attacks. They both exist.

"The overwhelming majority are in relation to people of ethnic minority background.

"Both must be dealt with equally and effectively."


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30 Nov 02 | England
21 Nov 02 | England
28 Oct 02 | England
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