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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 04:38 GMT 05:38 UK
Riot report a 'missed opportunity'
Bradford race riot
Asians clashed with police in Bradford last summer
The inquiry report into the causes of the Bradford riots failed to address the problems or concerns of the city's Muslim communities, it is claimed.

Humera Khan, a government adviser on Muslim Affairs, says the investigation into riots in Bradford - which happened exactly a year ago - was a missed opportunity to look into Islamophobia.

She told the BBC there should have been stronger recommendations in the final report urging national debate on Islamophobia.

Her comments come after a Labour MP sparked controversy by claiming Asian youth gangs are lawless and out of control.

Ms Khan also believes Muslims are discriminated against and cannot access services or money to set up projects.

She says this was one of the main reasons the riots took place.

Earlier, Ann Cryer, who represents Keighley in West Yorkshire, said there is more violence in the Asian community than in the white community.


Her agenda is an agenda for damaging race relations

Shahid Malik,

Her remarks were immediately denounced as "offensive" and "extremely dangerous" by Labour Party National Executive Committee member Shahid Malik.

"Her agenda is an agenda for damaging race relations," he said.

Mr Malik, from Burnley, said the comments were "extremely dangerous stereotyping of race, completely irresponsible and profoundly counter-productive".

He said Ms Cryer had failed the ethnic community in Keighley and called on the MP's constituents to "stand up against" her.

'No fear'

Ms Cryer criticised leading representatives of the Asian communities in the north of the country for burying their heads in the sand and not acknowledging there is a problem.

She also accused the Asian community of allowing youth gangs in Northern England to run amok without fear of reprisal.


Some leaders pretend it is just as bad in the white community, but we do not have this degree of killing and violence in the white community

Ann Cryer
"(Gang members) have no fear of the law as they assume the Asian community's loyalty will protect them," she said.

"People are escaping scot free because members of the Asian community are intimidated by them and fear for their own lives and those of their families.

"The community must power itself - not to take the law into its own hands - but to co-operate with the police."

She observed that there have been four killings of young Asian men by Asian men in a six month period.

"Some leaders pretend it is just as bad in the white community, but we do not have this degree of killing and violence in the white community," she told BBC News Online.

Drug deals

The MP believes the violence is mainly caused by drug dealers protecting what they regarded as their territory.

"The community here is largely Pakistani and there is a strong connection with drugs, possibly because that is where the drugs originally come from," she said.

But Robin Banerji, of the Commission For Racial Equality, believes the problem cuts across racial divides.
Ann Cryer
Ann Cryer says the majority of Asians are law-abiding

"We need to bring these young men - whatever their racial background - back into normal life," he told BBC News Online.

"It is something we all need to tackle - the police, parents and other agencies and youth services."

Rising crime

West Yorkshire Police Chief Superintendent Phil Reid said crime by Asians in Keighley was on the rise.

"I can understand Ann Cryer's concerns and those of the Asian community," he said.

"The key to helping the community lies in the community. There is legislation to protect witnesses, and witness protection schemes. We have doubled our efforts to tackle criminality."

He said officers had arrested 240 drug dealers since last September.

Ms Cryer's comments are not her first to attract controversy.

In the wake of race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley last summer she called on the government to consider introducing restrictions on immigrant brides and grooms who cannot speak English.

She said many UK Muslims were held back economically and educationally by language difficulties - but her views were branded as "sinister" by Mr Malik.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Labour MP Ann Cryer and Labour NEC's Shahid Malik
discuss the issue of drugs in Keighley
The BBC's Barney Choudhury
"There have been numerous reports of shootings"

In DepthIN DEPTH
Footballer Earl BarrettRace UK
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See also:

22 Apr 02 | England
21 Jan 02 | England
11 Dec 01 | England
11 Dec 01 | England
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