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Daily Mail

Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in Leicester expose metropolis’s rigidity


Till a number of weeks in the past Leicester was held up as one in every of our most profitable various communities, a shining instance of multicultural Britain.

England’s eleventh largest metropolis, the place some 70 languages have been spoken and other people of all faiths, be they Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian, had lived peacefully as neighbours, with tolerance and understanding, because the early Nineteen Sixties when new arrivals had first begun to flock there from India and Pakistan.

However stunning photographs of sectarian violence and masked hate mobs on the streets in latest days, with repeated clashes between indignant younger males, has uncovered the simmering, underlying tensions between the town’s totally different cultures.

Ostensibly, the riots – which simply this weekend led to 25 law enforcement officials being injured and 47 individuals being arrested – have been blamed on a cricket match between India and Pakistan.

However scratch beneath the floor and it turns into clear that Leicester, with its opposing spiritual ideologies, excessive unemployment, low wages and massive households dwelling in cramped Victorian terraced homes is a tinderbox. And there are actual fears that the troubles might unfold to different cities.

Solely two nights in the past a 200-strong mob of Muslim men protested outside a temple in Birmingham in response to a deliberate speech by a hardline girl linked to Hindu extremism in India.

After the latest clashes in Leicester, MailOnline despatched reporter Nick Fagge inside a metropolis at struggle:

‘No matter that is about this not about cricket,’ says barber Muhammad Sandhi outdoors his store on Leicester’s Inexperienced Lane Highway. ‘I’m Indian and I’m a Muslim.’

Muhammad, 26, who’s initially from Gujarat, India, moved to the East Midlands 16 years in the past and in that point has has by no means seen something just like the violence which have shaken his household up to now few weeks.

‘In Leicester we’re allowed to have fun our faiths whoever we’re – Muslim, Hindu, Sikh. However we shouldn’t be allowed to ram our religions down different individuals’s throats. We must always be capable to stay collectively and respect one another.

‘That is affecting the status of Leicester and particularly this space. Nobody comes right here within the night any extra. We now have to shut the barber’s store early.’

Additional down Inexperienced Lane the place the scent of spices wafts via the mechanic’s storage and previous the Saree store, mother-of-two Bansari Shukla says individuals who have lived fortunately within the multicultural melting pot for many years are actually on edge.   

A gaggle of masked males march via Leicester on Sunday with one seen armed with a 2×4 foot piece of wooden amid violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims

Until a few weeks ago Leicester was held up as one of our most successful diverse communities, a shining example of multicultural Britain. Pictured: Belgrave in Leicester yesterday where a mural is painted on the side of a furniture shop

Till a number of weeks in the past Leicester was held up as one in every of our most profitable various communities, a shining instance of multicultural Britain. Pictured: Belgrave in Leicester yesterday the place a mural is painted on the facet of a furnishings store

England's 11th largest city, where some 70 languages were spoken and people of all faiths, be they Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian, had lived peacefully as neighbours

England’s eleventh largest metropolis, the place some 70 languages have been spoken and other people of all faiths, be they Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian, had lived peacefully as neighbours

Leicestershire Police on Saturday and Sunday nights, policing groups of people gathering in city neighbourhoods

Leicestershire Police on Saturday and Sunday nights, policing teams of individuals gathering in metropolis neighbourhoods

Footage emerged showing the brewing tensions between the two groups with mass marches showing hundreds of people congregating in eastern parts of Leicester on Saturday and Sunday - with very few police officers to control the scene

Footage emerged displaying the brewing tensions between the 2 teams with mass marches displaying a whole lot of individuals congregating in jap components of Leicester on Saturday and Sunday – with only a few law enforcement officials to regulate the scene

Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon for Leicestershire Police has said that police previously deployed to the capital have been sent back to the east Midlands city to help any potential further unrest (police pictured at the unplanned march on Green Lane Road on Sunday)

Short-term Chief Constable Rob Nixon for Leicestershire Police has mentioned that police beforehand deployed to the capital have been despatched again to the east Midlands metropolis to assist any potential additional unrest (police pictured on the unplanned march on Inexperienced Lane Highway on Sunday)

‘I do not know what that is all about but it surely’s very scary,’ mentioned Bansari, 40. ‘Even my youngsters are frightened proper now. They’ve associates from all backgrounds at college – Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, English, Polish.’

Final weekend individuals like Bansari hid of their properties whereas gangs of younger male Muslims and Hindus within the east of the town clashed, with police arresting individuals for offences together with making threats to kill, possession of a firearm and affray.

The widespread dysfunction involving primarily younger males from sections of the Hindu and Muslim communities is seen as a ‘country-based dispute’ after India beat Pakistan in an Asia Cup cricket match in Dubai on August 28.

Following the sport, massive crowds of younger males draped in Indian flags started celebrating on Melton Highway in Leicester. Footage emerged displaying Indian supporters apparently chanting ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ – a slogan relationship again to the partition period which means ‘dying to Pakistan’. 

On Saturday a group of young Hindu men were filmed marching through Green Lane Road, home to a number of Muslim-owned businesses

On Saturday a gaggle of younger Hindu males have been filmed marching via Inexperienced Lane Highway, residence to quite a few Muslim-owned companies

Pictured: Members of the public outside shop Aaliya's Collection and Beauty in Green Lane Road in Leicester yesterday

Pictured: Members of the general public outdoors store Aaliya’s Assortment and Magnificence in Inexperienced Lane Highway in Leicester yesterday

Ashraf Haircut barbershop on Green Lane Road in Leicester

Members of the public outside the Sikh Community Centre on  Leicester Street near Green Lane Road

‘No matter that is about this not about cricket,’ says barber Muhammad Sandhi outdoors his store on Leicester’s Inexperienced Lane Highway. ‘I’m Indian and I’m a Muslim.’ Left: Ashraf Haircut barbershop on Inexperienced Lane Highway in Leicester. Proper: Members of the general public outdoors the Sikh Neighborhood Centre on Leicester Avenue

Mother-of-two Bansari Shukla says people who have lived happily in the multicultural melting pot for decades are now on edge. Pictured: A member of the public outside the Saree Mandir shop on Belgrave in Leicester

Mom-of-two Bansari Shukla says individuals who have lived fortunately within the multicultural melting pot for many years are actually on edge. Pictured: A member of the general public outdoors the Saree Mandir store on Belgrave in Leicester

Widespread violence broke out that night time with an emergency employee assaulted, apparently fuelled by disinformation on social media.

Over the subsequent few weeks there have been false claims of an tried kidnap of a teenage woman, baseless stories of assaults on mosques and faux stories {that a} Muslim man had been attacked at a cricket match, all including to the strain.

The violence final weekend was boosted, in line with police, by rival gangs of youths from different cities and cities together with Birmingham and Luton converging on Leicester, a few of them impressed by a web-based marketing campaign entitled ‘We’ll land in Lesta [sic]’.

Clashes like these seen in Leicester threaten to unfold ‘all around the nation’ spiritual leaders have warned.

The scenario is so critical that the Excessive Commissions of India and Pakistan each weighed in, every issuing statements condemning the violence towards the Hindu and Muslim communities respectively, and demanding that the UK authorities take motion. 

Pictured: Jame Masjid mosque in Spinney Hill, Leicester yesterday

Members of the public outside St Stephen's Anglican church near Green Lane Road yesterday

Members of the general public outdoors St Stephen’s Anglican church close to Inexperienced Lane Highway yesterday

Who’re the RSS and the BJP and the way does it relate to the unrest within the UK? 

Hardline Hindu nationalist Sadhvi Ritambhara was due to speak at the Durga Bhawan Mandir

Hardline Hindu nationalist Sadhvi Ritambhara was as a result of communicate on the Durga Bhawan Mandir

All through the unrest between Muslims and Hindus within the UK, reference has been made to the RSS and BJP. 

RSS refers back to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an all-male Hindu nationalist volunteer group, usually described as a paramilitary organisation.

The appropriate-volunteer organisation that was based within the Nineteen Twenties and it’s estimated it has as many as six million members.

The group was shaped to advertise the ideology of Hindu nationalism – the most typical type of which is Hindutva – and continues to unfold this ideology to its members immediately.

Though the group has been identified to arrange faculties, charities and golf equipment, it has additionally been related to communal violence and has been banned 3 times because it got here into existence. 

It was out of the RSS that the BJP was shaped.

The BJP refers back to the Bharatiya Janata Get together, the ruling political occasion in India which has been accused of passing insurance policies and pursuing a religiously divisive agenda. 

Sadhvi Ritambhara got here to prominence within the Nineteen Nineties and is the chief of the ladies’s wing of the RSS and with hyperlinks to the BJP.

Some communities imagine that Hindu nationalism is taking root within the UK.

Ritambhara had been as a result of discuss at temples in Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and London earlier than the tour was cancelled. 

The temple in Birmingham the place a protest came about on Tuesday, September 20, has denied having any ties to the BJP or RSS and insisted Ritambhara had spoken on the temple with out incident previous to this deliberate occasion and was identified for her charitable work in India. 

On Saturday a gaggle of younger Hindu males have been filmed marching via Inexperienced Lane Highway, residence to quite a few Muslim-owned companies. Some have been filmed shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, which means ‘Victory to Lord Rama’ a chant that has been more and more utilized by Hindu nationalists in India as an emblem of their adherence to their religion.

Muslim males massed in retaliation, there have been movies on-line of the teams throwing bottles at one another and the saffron flag on a Hindu temple was vandalised.

Police investigating latest disturbances within the metropolis’s jap space have made 45 arrests for offences together with making threats to kill, possession of a firearm and affray.

Till now, Leicester has usually been seen as the usual bearer for multiculturalism within the UK with 14 faiths represented, so what has led to the unrest, and will it’s replicated elsewhere?

One downside could also be that though many within the metropolis are multicultural and built-in there are some areas of Leicester the place they’re predominantly not.

In these areas individuals stay clustered inside communities in the identical postcodes the place everybody has the identical heritage and a few individuals do not communicate English. Tons of hardly ever encounter anybody not of their very own religion group and background.

This has led to a breeding floor for resentment between these of Hindu and Muslim, Indian and Pakistani heritage.

And up to date occasions, additional stoked by faux and exaggerated posts on social media, have infected these pre-existing tensions.

The function performed by extremist teams on each side, and the blowback from the growing marginalisation of India’s 200 million Muslims by its Hindu supremacist Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t be ignored.

The frontline for latest clashes have been an space that beforehand apparently represented the 2 communities – these of Muslim and Hindu heritage – dwelling in shut proximity in relative concord.

Set amongst small, sweat-shop textile factories and lightweight engineering producers, Inexperienced Lane Highway, is much less glamorous than the higher identified ‘Golden Mile’.

It is an industrial space. The Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal passes shut by. An industrial brick chimney towers above.

However it was hitherto seen as an space the place totally different religion teams lived amongst one another with out issues.

In a single avenue Hindu symbols adorn one entrance door, a prayer from the Koran the subsequent, the Sikh Gurdwara temple is throughout the highway.

Sikh butcher Soand Singh, 40, instructed MailOnline: ‘There is a lengthy historical past of individuals from India and Pakistan dwelling collectively in Leicester in concord. We’re Sikhs and we do not have an issue with anyone. However that is scary. And it’s dangerous for enterprise.

‘This has nothing to do with cricket.’

The ideologies underpinning this hitherto chilly struggle are espoused by the ‘Hindutva’ or ultra-nationalist Hindu teams on the one facet and the extremist Islamists of teams resembling Hizb ut-Tahrir on the opposite.

In essence, every needs to ascertain a state based mostly on spiritual grounds, the place these of different religions would successfully be second-class residents.

Leicester, with an unemployment price of 6.8 per cent in contrast with the nationwide price of 4.1 per cent in 2021, has proved a fertile breeding floor for these wishing to foment the politics of division and hate.

And lots of different issues within the metropolis stay out of sight, such because the appalling sweatshops of the clothes commerce which flourished for years but have been solely delivered to mild in 2020 by a newspaper expose.

In keeping with some stories the exploitation of employees continued in lots of factories, with employees being paid lower than minimal wages too frightened to complain and authorities turning a blind eye as a result of they have been too scared of being accused of racism.

Two years later, the sweatshops proceed to thrive in line with a latest report by the Leicester Garment and Textile Employees Belief – with workers struggling bodily violence, denied maternity go away and paid simply £3 an hour. Greater than half of employees interviewed mentioned they have been paid under minimal wage.

Leicester additionally earned the doubtful title of Britain’s first ‘locked down’ metropolis through the pandemic, with sky-high Covid charges being blamed on continual overcrowding within the Victorian terraced homes the place a lot of the Asian group lives.

Some observers have identified that ‘integration’ is one thing of a façade, and that though members of various ethnic communities could share the identical postcode, precise contact between them, particularly if they don’t share a language, may be uncommon.

In fact, tensions between Muslims and Hindus within the Indian sub-continent have simmered for a whole lot of years, relationship again to the introduction of Islam within the space within the seventh and eighth Centuries. Horrific violence flared up most memorably in 1947 with the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, with some estimates placing the dying toll as excessive as two million individuals. Three wars between India and Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1971 over contested territorial claims in Kashmir have ensured that relations between the 2 foes has been characterised by distrust and suspicion.

So it is not stunning that such discord can sometimes spill over to cities within the UK the place Muslims and Hindus have co-existed – comparatively – peacefully for many years.

'The threat of rising Hindu nationalism in India cannot be ignored abroad, because it has repercussions in Western countries too. In 2019 I reported that BJP activists in Britain were stirring up hatred against Muslims and pushing British Hindus to support the Conservative Party,' writes former Hindustan Times columnist Sunny Hindal. Pictured: Members of the public outside the Leicester Conservative Party office in Belgrave

‘The specter of rising Hindu nationalism in India can’t be ignored overseas, as a result of it has repercussions in Western international locations too. In 2019 I reported that BJP activists in Britain have been stirring up hatred towards Muslims and pushing British Hindus to assist the Conservative Get together,’ writes former Hindustan Occasions columnist Sunny Hindal. Pictured: Members of the general public outdoors the Leicester Conservative Get together workplace in Belgrave

Two members of the public at Spinney Hills Park in Leicester yesterday

Two members of the general public at Spinney Hills Park in Leicester yesterday

A mural painted onto the side of a restaurant in Belgrave

A mural painted onto the facet of a restaurant in Belgrave

Several people were arrested during a policing operation in east Leicester 'to deter further disorder' on Sunday

A number of individuals have been arrested throughout a policing operation in east Leicester ‘to discourage additional dysfunction’ on Sunday

Deliberate discuss by Hindu nationalist Sadhvi Ritambhara sparks protest in Birmingham

By KATIE FEEHAN AND ROSS SLATER FOR MAILONLINE

The riot by 200 younger Muslim males outdoors a Hindu temple in Birmingham final night time was sparked by the religious building’s plan to host a controversial speaker linked to Hindu extremism.

Hardline Hindu nationalist Sadhvi Ritambhara was as a result of communicate on the Durga Bhawan Mandir in the beginning of a five-venue tour of the UK.

However her journey, which was scheduled to contain additional speeches in Nottingham, Coventry and London, was cancelled on the weekend with supporters claiming it was as a result of ‘unwell well being’ and her opponents claiming that her British Hindu hosts had withdrawn their invites.

Nonetheless, as much as 200 protesters descended on the temple on Spon Lane, Smethwick, to warn of bother ought to different extremist Hindu audio system be invited to talk within the UK.

One masked protester mentioned: ‘This can be a message from Birmingham to the BJP and the RSS Hindutva supporters, you are not welcome in Birmingham, you are not welcome in Leicester, you are not welcome in Nottingham, you aren’t welcome wherever within the UK.’

Police have been seen with riot helmets and shields confronting the group, believed to be predominantly Muslim males, and making an attempt to maneuver them away from the temple whereas protesters climbed the encompassing boundary fence.

Bottles and firecrackers have been thrown at police who have been later pressured to shut the encompassing highway so they may usher the protesters throughout the road.

It follows days of unrest between Hindus and Muslims in Leicester the place 47 individuals have been arrested throughout violent clashes this weekend, which group leaders say have been fuelled by misinformation on-line and outsiders travelling to the town from areas together with Birmingham to fire up sectarian tensions. 

However within the Leicester instance, exterior forces have been additionally seen to play a decisive function, in line with some observers.

Dharmesh Lakhani, who has lived within the metropolis for greater than 50 years and works with native mosques, blamed outdoors influences for inflaming the scenario.

He instructed BBC R4’s As we speak programme: ‘It has been brewing slowly, slowly, slowly, and what occurred at cricket acted as a set off.

‘Now my private feeling is that if it was simply individuals from Leicester, issues would have calmed down. I really feel there’s outdoors influences right here they usually’re not welcome. We actually want simply the individuals of Leicester, the Hindu organisations, the Muslim organisations, our authorities, the police and our native council and we might kind this out immediately.’

Former Hindustan Occasions columnist Sunny Hindal agrees. On this week’s New Statesman he writes: ‘That is one other instance of how rising Hindu nationalism in India, which has continuously been directed towards spiritual minorities resembling Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, is exporting tensions overseas.

‘India’s ruling occasion, the BJP, is dedicated to the concept of making a nation for ‘Hindus first’, an ideology espoused by its founding fathers, and has used faith to assault minorities and critics.

‘The specter of rising Hindu nationalism in India can’t be ignored overseas, as a result of it has repercussions in Western international locations too. In 2019 I reported that BJP activists in Britain have been stirring up hatred towards Muslims and pushing British Hindus to assist the Conservative Get together. ‘What occurred in Leicester wasn’t one-sided. Muslims desecrated Hindu spiritual symbols and a few posted racist rants to social media. That is extra a narrative of how political rivalry can shortly escalate into interfaith battle via social media and misinformation.

‘Most of these gangs of males roaming Leicester have been mentioned to be from outdoors the town, in search of bother and a spotlight. Each Hindu and Muslim teams have been making an attempt to use these tensions to draw assist.’

However he additionally accused Leicestershire Police of being ‘flat-footed’ and lacking the warning indicators, including: ‘Police forces additionally must have higher plans of motion to grasp and defuse such tensions, which is why area people engagement actually issues. Leicester police have been caught off guard (I believe the Queen’s funeral was partly the explanation).’

For his or her half the police blamed agitators from each side are coming from outdoors the town to commit violence. Maybe they’d in thoughts individuals like 6ft 7in British-Egyptian YouTuber ‘Mohamed Hijab’, who describes himself as an ‘writer and educational’ to his 700,000 followers.

In his newest rabble-rousing video from Leicester, he tells a baying crowd of Muslim males: ‘In the event that they [Hindus] imagine in reincarnation, what a humiliation for them to be reincarnated into some pathetic, weak, cowardly individuals like that. I would relatively be reincarnated as a grasshopper, bruv!’ The fears of Hindu-Muslim violence spreading elsewhere look like justified, judging by occasions solely 38 miles away in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Hardline Hindu nationalist Sadhvi Ritambhara’s meant look at a Hindu temple in Birmingham on Tuesday sparked a riot by 200 younger Muslim males.

Ms Ritambhara’s plans for a five-venue tour of the UK, taking in Nottingham, Coventry and Ilford, east London have been scrapped, supposedly as a result of ‘unwell well being’, although her opponents claimed her British Hindu hosts had withdrawn the invites.

Information of her go to prompted Sam Tarry, Labour MP for Ilford South, to ask the House Workplace to intervene and cease her tour.

Police closed the road and moved protesters across to the other side away from the temple where projectiles were thrown

Police closed the highway and moved protesters throughout to the opposite facet away from the temple the place projectiles have been thrown

Pictured: Representatives from multiple faiths stood outside the temple during the protest last night as an act of solidarity

Pictured: Representatives from a number of faiths stood outdoors the temple through the protest final night time as an act of solidarity

In a letter to House Secretary Suella Braverman he wrote: ‘As you’ll know, Sadhvi Rithambara is a vastly divisive determine, identified for her xenophobic speeches and rhetoric, particularly towards the Muslim group in India.

‘She was beforehand arrested on grounds of inciting communal violence within the wake of the Babri Masjid’s demolition, which led to the dying of over 2000 individuals.

‘It’s my constituents and my perception that her Islamophobic rhetoric has no place inside our multicultural and various group of Ilford, and I’m deeply apprehensive in regards to the potential stoking of communal tensions, ought to her go to be allowed to progress.’

The charity Hindus for Human Rights had additionally protested towards her go to and had campaigned towards her talking tour of America earlier this month.

Police will little question be scanning social media for upcoming indicators of bother, however they could even have a watch on the calendar.

There’s one other cricket match between India and Pakistan scheduled for October 23, this time within the T20 World Cup in Melbourne – and on the eve of the Hindu competition of Diwali.

How migration has shifted Leicester’s panorama 

Migration into Leicester largely from the subcontinent modified the make-up of Leicester dramatically.

A examine by the College of Manchester trying on the metropolis between 1991 and 2011 confirmed the proportion of ‘white British’ or ‘white different’ declined from 70% to 50%, whereas over the identical interval the variety of residents of Indian heritage rose from 23% to twenty-eight%.

The variety of different ethnicities – which included these of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage – additionally elevated, from 7% to 21%.

A examine by Inhabitants UK revealed two years in the past estimated the town’s complete inhabitants would have reached over 451,000 by this July

That examine famous: ‘Muslims are 18.6 p.c of the inhabitants and Hindus are 15.2 p.c of the inhabitants. Different religions are Sikhs (4.4 p.c), Buddhism (0.4 p.c) and Jews (0.1 p.c).’

It discovered English is essentially the most generally used language adopted by, so as, Gujarati, Punjabi, Polish, Urdu, Somali, Arabic and Bengali.

The 2011 Census query on faith for Leicester confirmed: Christian 32.4%, Muslim 18.63%, Hindu 15.19%, Sikh 4.38%, Buddhist 0.37%, Jewish 0.09% with no faith or ‘not acknowledged’ at 28.38%

 

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