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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Does segregation lead to racism?
Mark Simpson
By Mark Simpson
BBC North of England correspondent

2001 Bradford riots
Bradford was the scene of violent rioting in 2001

Amid claims that racial segregation in Britain is reaching a critical point, BBC North of England correspondent Mark Simpson examines race relations in Bradford.

They like being called the UK curry capital in Bradford but not being branded a hot-bed of racism.

Yes, the West Yorkshire city is segregated, admit community workers, but segregation does not always lead to racism.

The 2001 riots did not help the city's reputation, and in some areas racial tension still exists. It is mainly among young males.

Those trying to counteract the problems say it is sometimes disputes over girls or drugs between rival groupings rather than naked bigotry.

And, as in other British cities, the rivalry can be within communities rather than simply a "whites versus Asians" scenario.

I'd love to live in a more mixed area but it only causes problems, on both sides
Young mother
Bradford

Bradford is a predominantly white city - only two out 10 people are from an ethnic minority. The problem is that the population is not evenly spread.

Take the Manningham district in the west of the city - it is mainly Asian.

Seven out of 10 people come from Pakistan, India or Bangladesh. "I live here because I feel safe here," one Pakistan-born shop owner told me.

"I mean safe in a social sense, more than a security sense. My friends are here, my family are here, the type of shops I need are here."

A 10-minute drive away, it is difficult to find an Asian face. In and around the Holme Wood estate, nine out of 10 people are white.

"It's probably better it stays that way," one young mother told me. "I'd love to live in a more mixed area but it only causes problems, on both sides."

The charge from Trevor Philips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, is that segregation in Britain is on the increase.

We do accept that we have predominantly white and predominantly Pakistani communities and there is segregation - we don't accept that it's increasing
Kersten England
Bradford council

In Bradford, the claim is rejected by Kersten England, director of policy at the local council.

"We do accept that we have predominantly white and predominantly Pakistani communities and there is segregation - we don't accept that it's increasing," she insisted.

She said there were no "ghettos" in the city.

There is, however, an acknowledgement that more needs to be done to bring people together - through housing, through sport and especially through education.

Community worker Dr Abdul Bary Malik says the bringing together of young people at school level is the best way forward.

He has a vision for the future: "You go into the garden and there are all different flowers, different shapes and different colours with different scents.

"But when you bring all these together in one bunch then it becomes one beautiful thing. This is my Bradford."

While some are talking about race relations becoming a nightmare, Dr Malik is holding onto his dream.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Bradford residents give their reaction to the warning



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