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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Police pledge to Muslim community
Asian people in Glasgow
There have been increased fears of attack
A senior police officer has warned of a growing sense of insecurity among Glasgow's muslim community since the terror attacks on the United States.

William Rae, the chief constable of Strathclyde Police, said there was a need for better relations between the police and the most vulnerable communities amid concerns over a backlash.

Racial tensions have risen since the terrorist attacks on the US last month and this has been followed by an increase in the number of racist incidents in the city - with shopkeepers the worst affected.

William Rae
William Rae said racism will not be tolerated
Mr Rae told BBC Radio Scotland that this was a worrying trend.

He said: "These incidents do undermine the community and cause great anxiety and stress right across the minority communities and it doesn't matter which section of the community it is.

"It is important that Strathclyde Police is seen to be doing something to prevent that and help the victims."

Community leaders and city officials met police representatives for a special seminar on Monday to address the concerns.

It came at the start of a week-long programme of activities aimed at promoting racial harmony and allaying fears.

Third-party reporting

There has been an increase in records of racist incidents in the Strathclyde force area over the past six months, but it has been played down by police.

They said it can be partly attributed to an improved system of reporting incidents and crimes, such as third-party reporting.

However, although most of the incidents are not classed as serious they are stirring tensions and creating an atmosphere of fear.

Police said the problem has become more acute since the attacks in the US.

Last month, Mr Rae told members of ethnic communities that no racist incidents would be tolerated.

Police officers
Police say more crimes are being reported
He added: "It is not just Muslim communities that I am concerned about, I aim to maintain the safety of all people in Strathclyde, whether they are white, Chinese, Sikh or even asylum seekers, who have, after all, fled from countries where persecution, harassment and oppression is pervasive.

"That type of harassment is completely unacceptable in Strathclyde."

Councillor Bashir Maan, convener of the Strathclyde Joint Police Board, welcomed the initiative.

He said: "Strathclyde Police has always promoted racial harmony and equal opportunities, and this is another innovative step in that direction."

Councillor Hanzala Malik, Chairman of the West of Scotland Racial Equality Council, said: "This awareness project is very much a welcome development.

"The fact is that we very much wish to see all the good work that has been done continue, more and more businesses are becoming better acquainted and aware of appropriate reporting facilities available to them."

Raymond Buchanan reports
"Fear of attack is nothing new to many Asian shopkeepers"

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See also:

08 Oct 01 | Scotland
MSP learns about sectarian divide
07 Oct 01 | Scotland
Sarwar urges caution in conflict
23 Sep 01 | Scotland
Police seek to ease race tension
19 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scottish Muslims describe fears
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