Wishing All a Happy and Prosperous New Year

Wishing All a Happy and Prosperous New Year

12 wishes

1. Happiness Deep Inside
2. Serenity at every sunrise
3. Success in every part of your life
4. Family beside you
5. Caring friends and colleagues around you
6. A love that never ends
7. Good health here to stay
8. Beautiful memories of yesterday
9. Nice days without sorrows
1 A pathway leading to better tomorrows
1 Dreams that manage to come true and
1 A great appreciation for whatever you do.

Leicester Against Cuts

Leicester Against Cuts

In the last e-bulletin we informed you about the review that Leicester City Council is carrying out regarding the arrangements that it currently has with Voluntary Sector organisations that are funded by the Corporate Services,
including The Race Equality Centre.

Since then, a number of consultation meetings have taken place and some individuals have begun to respond to the on-line consultation. A second Leicester City Council Neighbourhoods and Community Involvement Scrutiny
Commission meeting has received an update report about the consultation.

Commission meeting has received an update report about the consultation.  The Commission meeting was on 4th December 2013, which was more than a third of the way through the consultation period.  The Commission was informed that, at the time of reporting, 37 people had engaged with the consultation.  Of these, 7 were described as “individuals” with no declared connection with any voluntary sector organisation and the remainder came from different community organisations.  The report presented to the Commission indicated that none of the groups presenting views via the on-line survey had also attended any of the consultation events; which is unfortunate as, we have been informed, that the information presented to accompany the on-line survey, is not sufficient to allow for an appropriately informed response – and so respondents are expressing views that are based on assumptions and misrepresentation.

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The members of the Scrutiny Commission asked the officers conducting the review a number of questions regarding the consultation process and the proposed alterations to the existing arrangements. They asked a particular question about the monitoring of participation in the consultation – i.e.
have the officers utilised relevant processes to ensure that there is a fair representation of the communities that might be affected by these proposals.

Sadly, the officers’ responses suggested that they did not know, at the start of the consultation, what is the demographic distribution of those that will be affected by their proposals – and so would not have been in a position to make a fair comparison. More disturbingly, they adamantly declared that the City Council never monitor the demography of the participants in any online consultation, which begs the question: “how do they know that they have
eliminated any discriminatory practices in their consultation efforts?”

The officers were also asked to give a reflection on the effect these proposals will have on the community groups that are supported by the bodies that are subject to the review. This is of particular relevance to the work of The Race Equality Centre, because we carry out a significant amount of work to support the involvement of voluntary run and managed groups in public debates and decision making. However, rather than responding to indicate an awareness of the voluntary nature of the groups that we work with, the officers replied to the Commission by stating that all of the groups being reviewed have paid staff!! This, of course, does not answer the question that was asked.

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This review, along with other proposals regarding reductions in community based services and facilities, has prompted a series of community and public meetings. To date there have been one meeting organised by The voluntary December 2013, which was more and public sector VCS Strategy Group, specifically for Voluntary Sector organisations. This was attended by approximately 35 people who talked about their frustration with the lack of clarity of purpose in the review and the poor quality of the consultation methodology.

There has also been a public meeting organised by the Leicestershire Against the Cuts campaign group. Speakers at this event reflected the broad range of service reductions that vulnerable communities might be facing.

The panel included Iris Lightfoote, the CEO of The Race Equality Centre, Kevan Liles from Voluntary Action Leicestershire, Kevin Sherriff representing Leicester Playfair, a network of children’s community play services, and Priya Thamotheram, the Head of Highfields Centre, serving one of the country’s poorest communities. Iris used the opportunity to draw attention to the work of The Race Equality Centre in supporting racially marginalised communities and the impact that the proposed review of the voluntary sector could have on the work we carry out in supporting vulnerable families and communities.

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Mandela: Goodness Personified, Terrorism Purified!

Mandela: Goodness Personified, Terrorism Purified!

December 8, 2013 in Blog, Highlights by Gus John

“South Africans mourn the death of the late former President Nelson Mandela” by GCIS/GovernmentZA (Flick – CC BY-ND 2.0)
“South Africans mourn the death of the late former President Nelson Mandela” by GCIS/GovernmentZA (Flick – CC BY-ND 2.0)

There appears to be an unwritten code of conduct in most societies I know that you speak good of the dead or hold your peace and let them rest in peace.

former South African President Nelson Mandela's house in Houghto

In the last few days I have longed for some people to do the latter and not pollute the spiritual balance of the Universe by rewriting history, making self indulgent claims and choosing to dissociate the goodness of Nelson Mandela from the evil he laid his life on the line to confront. Some commentators proclaim as if Mandela’s ‘terrorist’ belief in the legitimacy of armed struggle against a genocidal regime was cured in the furnace of Robben Island, thus qualifying him to return to the fold of decent, peace loving citizens the world over.
Bizarrely, the Los Angeles Times carried an article on 7 December 2013 with the headline Robben Island: The place that changed Nelson Mandela. Changed from what to what? This writer does not say. But, writing in the same paper the day before, David Horsey noted:

Mandela was a militant black man with a raised fist and that scared many people. But the revolution in his heart freed him from narrow ideology or racial enmity and made him able to seek the national reconciliation that led to a more complete liberty for all the citizens of South Africa, no matter the color of their skin. Yes, he was just a man, but he learned a key lesson that most revolutionaries, politicians and world leaders never learn: before you can change the world, you must change yourself.

Both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan denounced Mandela as a ‘terrorist’ and the ANC as a terrorist organisation. In 1987, Thatcher stated with all the authority at her command as British Prime Minister:
The ANC is a typical terrorist organization … Anyone who thinks it’s going to run a government is living in cloud-cuckoo land.

Thatcher was then head of a government that was buttressing the murderous apartheid regime in South Africa and breaking sanctions liberally and unapologetically. The suffering people of South Africa had been calling on the international community not just to take a stand in respect of the daily dehumanising grind of the state orchestrated barbarism of apartheid, but to refuse to do business as usual with the apartheid regime on account of massacres against an oppressed people who dared to act collectively against unjust laws and practices. Peaceful protest against the crushing pass laws brought the masses face to face with the military might of the state and resulted in the Sharpeville Massacre on 21 March 1960.

sharpville Massacre

The famous photo taken by Sam Nzima of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying the lifeless body of the 12-year old Hector Pieterson. Source: Global Brief
The famous photo taken by Sam Nzima of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying the lifeless body of the 12-year old Hector Pieterson. Source: Global Brief

Protests by some 20,000 school students against the imposition of Afrikans, the language of the oppressor minority, as the medium of instruction in schools, led to the Soweto massacre on 16 June 1976 in which an estimated 700 school children lost their lives, although the official figure was given by the apartheid regime as 176.

How can one ever forget the deeply distressing image (right) of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying the limp body of 13 year old Orlando West High School student, Hector Pieterson, with Hector’s sister Antoinette Sithole running alongside her, an image that came to symbolise the ‘Massacre of the Innocents’ in Soweto? Hector was the first child to be shot when the police opened fire on the students.
After that massacre, South Africa was not allowed to return to business as usual. The ANC in exile galvanised support for the liberation struggle from across the world. The international movement to ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ and to isolate South Africa as a nation state intensified. If the apartheid regime had set out to conscript the nation’s youth to the liberation struggle through using their military might against unarmed children, they could not have been more successful. The young people of South Africa determined after 1976 that it would be resistance till death if necessary.

Meanwhile, in spite of such atrocities and the daily denial of fundamental human rights endured by the African majority in South Africa, those such as Margaret Thatcher who supported the apartheid regime dared to talk about ‘terrorism’ and the harm that would be done to the people of South Africa if the economy of that country were brought to its knees through sanctions.
I worked at the time with the British Council of Churches and in that capacity with the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism (PCR). The PCR supported the ANC and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. A regular topic of discussion both within the Council of Churches and at our PCR meetings was the number of churches in Britain that were withdrawing their financial support for both organisations on the grounds that they were opposed to any church funds going to the PCR because it was supporting ‘armed resistance’ and ‘terrorist organisations’. No doubt they, too, are now embracing the purified ‘terrorist’, Nelson Mandela, and projecting him as someone who stands head and shoulders above most others worldwide in epitomising Christian values.
Mandela did not just ‘teach us all to love’, or ‘teach us what true forgiveness is all about’. He taught us to love justice and uphold the right of every individual to live free, with respect and dignity, irrespective of whatever characteristics define us. At the Rivonia Trial in 1964 that many of his supporters expected to end with him being given the death penalty, Mandela was moved to depart from his written defence statement (as he narrated later), look the judge straight in the eye and proclaim fearlessly:
I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Needless to say, there are many who believe in the Second Coming and among them those who believe it has come and gone in the life, suffering and death of Nelson Mandela. But, therein lies the danger.

Those citizens across the world and especially those leaders of state who are prepared to invest Mandela with supernatural status and attributes would no doubt prefer us to focus on his magnanimity, infinite capacity for forgiveness, generosity of spirit, lack of bitterness, abhorrence of vengeance, etc., rather than on his abiding and never diminishing commitment to justice, human rights and human liberation, and to dismantling the systems and structures that perpetuate oppression and the denial of fundamental human rights.

Doubtlessly, for generations to come, Mandela’s life and the totality of his sayings and writings would, just like the Bible or the Qur ‘an, be used to justify or condemn any number of passionately held positions and the dubious practices arising from them.

I have no doubt that many of those who preside over oppressive states and routinely deny human rights and equal opportunities to their long-suffering people are even now busying themselves to travel to South Africa and ‘big up’ Nelson Mandela for the colossal champion of human rights and freedom that he was.

It is 50 years since Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sedition, treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government of South Africa by way of armed struggle. It is almost 24 years since his release from prison and 20 years since he received the Nobel Peace Prize (see video – right).
All those current and former leaders of state who are now speaking grandiloquent words about Mandela’s qualities, what he gave to the world, what he has inspired in them and the legacy he has left us might do well to remember that. If his example meant so much, if his leadership so inspired them, if they could now declare so passionately their commitment to his ideals, I am led to wonder why it is that they did not seek to honour him while he was still alive, alert and capable of making common cause with them, by demonstrating that commitment in their own policies, leadership and the treatment of their own.

In his Nobel lecture in 2003, Nelson Mandela shared with the world his vision of the society he was committed to spend the rest of his life building:

(…) A society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance. Such a society should never allow again that there should be prisoners of conscience nor that any person’s human right should be violated.

We live with the hope that as she battles to remake herself, South Africa will be like a microcosm of the new world that is striving to be born. This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.

The challenge for the world that mourns the passing of this great man is to embrace Mandela’s vision and make it a reality in every community and among every people. This means learning from the entirety of Mandela’s ‘Long March’, beginning with the struggles of his Ancestors which gave him inspiration, direction, fortitude and determination.

As far as South Africa itself is concerned, it is only by owning that vision and building a future that is shaped by it that the deep divisions that are part of the fabric of that society that is still emerging from its devastating past would be healed rather than become encrusted.

On my visits to South Africa in the last decade I discovered that there are across the population many former activists within or supporters of the resistance movement, let alone people who lost loved ones or/and lost or were denied careers on account of apartheid, who are deeply disillusioned not just with the pace but with the direction of change in post-apartheid South Africa. Hours of debate with them reveal positions which they articulate in the following terms:

We have a class of former militants who have inserted themselves into the positions of the whites and kept us out. We might have democracy, but poverty, hunger and poor housing are still widespread among those of us who suffered worst under apartheid and showed that we were prepared to die to bring down that nasty regime.

They left everything in place, just as it was during apartheid. We are yet to see the benefit of all that Madiba promised when he became President.

If Nelson Mandela wanted to make peace with de Klerk and those people, that was for him to do. Changing the Constitution was definitely the right thing to do, but I don’t believe anybody had a right to give Amnesty to those people who murdered our children. Many of them got promoted. We were left to bury our children and live in poverty. How could you forgive people on behalf of a whole nation after all that brutality and suffering? You forgive on behalf of yourself. What have the whites lost? Nothing. What have they handed back to us? Nothing. What were they made to give up? Nothing.

20 years after Mandela was released, Soweto is still the same. We have a museum to our suffering. I can show my grandchildren what happened to their uncle and their aunt, but we are still in the same situation as when those people rolled up in their armoured trucks and killed our children.

Winnie Mandela and Steve Biko did more for us and for the struggle than most of the people you see in power now. Truth and Reconciliation came and went. The person who was put on trial and was never reconciled was Winnie. All those same people who killed men, women and children for years, killed Steve Biko and the leaders of the youth movement, escaped trial and were able to walk free from Truth and Reconciliation. Any yet, if it wasn’t for Winnie and all the risks she took, down to serving time in solitary confinement for leading a campaign to free her husband, the movement would have got nowhere fast. Yet, Winnie is the one who has been thrown on the dump heap. Guilty as charged. No reconciliation for her.

All of this raises a number of important issues, not least in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death and the volume and tenor of the newsprint and broadcasts there have been. Much has been made of Mandela’s lack of revenge and avoidance of bitterness and vengeance, as if one cannot have or demand justice and restitution without revenge, bitterness and vengeance. Why should it be assumed that to hold people to account and to seek justice for systemic wrongs and orchestrated oppression cannot be done without bitterness and vengeance?

The Mandela Memorial Walk

The Mandela Memorial Walk

Hundreds of people gathered in the city yesterday to commemorate the life and work of Nelson Mandela.

Events began in the Welford Road park, named after him in 1989, where speeches were given, music was played and flowers were laid in his memory.

mandela march2

Among those paying their respects at the park was 49-year-old South African Gabi Witthaus, who lived in Johannesburg all her life before moving to the city five years ago to take up a post at the University of Leicester.

mandela march3

Gabi, of Clarendon Park, Leicester, who was involved in the anti-apartheid movement in the country in the 1980s, said: “This is a wonderful celebration of his life here in Leicester, a magnificent multi-faith city where I feel quite at home – it’s the next best thing to living in South Africa.”

Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Nelson-Mandela-memorial-Hundreds-commemorate-life/story-20324669-detail/story.html#ixzz2o8WiThHT

ADIEUS

ADIEUS

It was January 2005 when the then Refugee and Asylum Seekers Project (one of the four teams of TREC) had a new member of staff. This individual became an active member of the group of 5 responsible for responding to the integration needs of refugees and asylum seekers recently dispersed to the City.

For Asylum Seekers it was about support and advice whilst for Refugees this expanded to include advocacy and representation. The team was renamed and the New Arrivals Integration Team (with fewer staff) continued to work solely with individual with recourse to public funds. Keeping abreast of legislation, year on year this team positively addressed the needs of those who presented to the office in the areas of housing, welfare benefits, human rights, equality, education, health and employment. Bringing in excess of £11m to the City and, acquiring in excess of 600 accommodation for those who presented with housing needs.

Within this team was an individual, Julian Minnis, the person who joined in January 2005. Julian assisted the New Arrivals Integration Team to over achieve in every outcome detailed in our service level agreement with Leicester City Council. Today, Friday 20th December 2013, Julian said good bye to his colleagues and friends at TREC as he moves to another part of the country. He will be truly missed.

Goodbye mate!!

Spotlight on racial violence: July – December 2013

hate_accept

December 12, 2013 — Comment

Written by Jon Burnett

A selection of attacks with a racial element and convictions over the last six months.

A few weeks ago, 24-year-old Lee James was told he will serve at last eighteen years in prison for killing Iranian refugee Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol. Mr Ebrahimi was harassed persistently by local residents prior to his death. He was abused consistently because he was disabled; he was called a ‘P**i’ and a ‘foreign cockroach’. Over a period of several years he had been forced to relocate at least three times, having been beaten with a baseball bat and doused in boiling water in a series of attacks which left him so terrified that at one point he broke both of his legs as he tried to flee. In a desperate attempt to prove his harassment, he took photos of youngsters as they vandalised his flowerbeds (he was a devoted gardener) in July. But after this, a false rumour was spread that he was a paedophile and he was subsequently arrested and led away as his neighbours cheered. A few days later, he was beaten to death. His body was doused in white spirit and set on fire.

As the judge at James’ trial remarked, Mr Ebrahimi’s killing was an act of ‘murderous injustice’. Yet this was an injustice compounded by the actions of the police, who did little to protect him from his torment. According to a local reporter, at one point officers ignored him as he banged on the door of a police station desperate for protection. And another time, an officer allegedly neglected to visit him because he was eating. He didn’t want his food to go cold.

It has become clear, over the last six months, that too often the response to racial violence has been undermined by the actions or inactions of the police. In October, Ukranian student Pavlo Lapshyn was given a life sentence and ordered to serve at least forty years in prison for murdering 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem and attempting to bomb several mosques in Birmingham. Lapshyn, a far-right sympathiser, stabbed the elderly man to death in April as he walked home from a mosque. But for the first ten weeks of their investigation, the police focused their inquiries on the man’s son.

What follows includes threats, assaults, the petrol-bombing of mosques and the targeting of those who oppose the far Right. Several incidents were carried out by people who said they supported the English Defence League (EDL).

Most of the attacks were not reported beyond the areas in which they took place. Rarely are they seen as anything more than local interest stories. And so the culmination of the trial of a man who set fire to an eastern European family’s home in Plymouth, for example, terrorising them to such an extent that they said they would leave the country, did not make headlines. Nor, for example, did the stabbing of a Libyan man in Brighton in an unprovoked attack that police treated as racially motivated.

A selection of attacks and convictions that have taken place over the last six months is presented below:

Anti-Muslim attacks and far-right violence

  • 29 November 2013: Daniel Cressey, a 25-year-old man, was found guilty of aiding and abetting two men (both former soldiers) who firebombed an Islamic cultural centre in Grimsby after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Sentencing was adjourned until the end of December. (iENGAGE, 29 November 2013)
  • 23 November 2013: A bishop speaking at an event opposing the EDL in Wakefield was accosted and harassed by an EDL supporter. (International Business Times, 25 November 2013)
  • 13 November 2013: Wayne Lord, 20, and Declan Clayton, 19, two of a gang of white people who had assaulted several Asian men in Burnley, were given custodial sentences. The incident took place on 15 September, and the attackers shouted ‘EDL’ as they charged at them, carrying bricks and sticks. One of the people spurring on the attack was a 16-year-old boy, who received a twelve-month community rehabilitation order. (Lancashire Telegraph,13 November 2013)
  • November 2013: Members of the North East Miners’ Association say that they received threatening phone calls from the EDL after opposing them at a march in Durham. The EDL had marched to protest against plans to turn a former pub into a Muslim education centre. (Journal, 20 November 2013)
  • 4 October 2013: Tracy Davies, 46, a woman who shouted racist abuse at a Somali woman in south London and punched her in the face in the aftermath of the death of Lee Rigby, was fined £355. The victim was targeted because she was wearing a burka. (BBC News, 4 October 2013)
  • 2 October 2013: A teenage EDL supporter appeared in court having been accused of plotting a series of mass violent attacks. He had allegedly stockpiled home-made bombs, terrorist manuals and an array of weapons as he planned the attacks. His targets reportedly included his school and a local mosque. (Loughborough Echo, 2 October 2013)
  • 21 September 2013: An 18-year-old man was sentenced to 33 months in jail and his 20-year-old friend received a 23-month suspended sentence after a spree of attacks on Islamic centres in Plymouth and the south-West of England. They plotted a nationwide campaign against Muslims and branded each other with hot irons to initiate themselves in Anders Breivik’s Order of the Knights Templar. (Plymouth Herald, 21 September 2013)
  • 21 September 2013: John Claydon, an EDL supporter who assaulted an anti-fascist protester at a demonstration in Hull, was given a community order and 100 hours unpaid work. CCTV footage showed the man punching the protester in the face repeatedly. (Hull Daily Mail, 21 September 2013)
  • 14 September 2013: A man appeared in court in Wales, accused of vandalising a mosque and assaulting a couple who challenged him. The man allegedly headbutted the woman and stamped on her after she fell. (Wales Online, 14 September 2013)
  • 1 September 2013: Three Muslim men walking in Kent were assaulted by a group of men in an unprovoked attack. The attackers drove up to them, jumped out of their car, racially abused them (shouting at them to ‘get back to [your] own country’) and set upon them. One assailant had an iron bar, and the victims were told they would be killed if they called the police. (Kent Online, 6 September 2013)
  • August 2013: Arsonists attempted to burn down a mosque in Essex by setting fire to insulation foam beneath its shutters. The attack only caused minor damage, and the mosque was able to open a few hours later. (Independent,26 August 2013) 
  • 15 July 2013: Former EDL activist Adam Rogers was given a suspended prison sentence for posting Facebook messages calling on people to burn down a mosque in Hastings following the murder of Lee Rigby in May. (Hastings Observer, 19 July 2013)

Street attacks

  • 30 November 2013: A 26-year-old man was racially abused and set upon by a group of men outside a takeaway in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside. His jaw was broken in the attack. (St Helens Star, 9 December 2013)
  • 29 November 2013: Three Asian men were hospitalised after being racially abused and assaulted by a group of eight or nine white men in Glasgow. One of the people attacked needed plastic surgery. (STV, 30 November 2013)
  • 3 November 2013: A man was approached by a white man in Tamworth, racially abused and beaten with a baseball bat in an unprovoked attack. (Tamworth Herald, 22 November 2013)
  • 29 October 2013: A 19-year-old woman was ordered to pay £75 and carry out community work for racially abusing and assaulting a Chinese student in retaliation for the murder of Lee Rigby. The student later reported that she did not like to go out at night as a result of the attack. (Exeter Express & Echo, 29 October 2013)
  • 25 October 2013: A man was given a prison sentence for a string of offences including forcing entry to the home of two men with learning difficulties and attacking them. Nathan Taylor, 20, was on bail at the time for threatening a group of language students, terrifying one of the students to such an extent that he left the country. (Exeter Express & Echo, 25 October 2013)
  • 2 October 2013: A Libyan international student in Brighton was stabbed in the face as he waited at a bus stop by two white men. The police said they were treating the incident as a racist attack. (Argus, 6 October 2013)
  • 1 October 2013: A teenager with his girlfriend on a bench in St. Helens was approached by a group of people, racially abused and assaulted. His nose was broken after being headbutted. (St Helens Star, 18 October 2013)
  • 9 August 2013: A 25-year-old white man, was jailed for four years after stabbing a Polish man in the back in Dover. When arrested, he racially abused the man who he had already stabbed. (Kent Online, 9 August 2013)
  • 4 August 2013: A man was assaulted in Kempston, with his attacker racially abusing him, punching him and dragging him out of his car. (Bedfordshire on Sunday, 13 August 2013)
  • 22 July 2013: 25-year-old Kayleigh Hall racially abused a man in Sunderland and headbutted him because he parked his car on double yellow lines whilst collecting a takeaway. When questioned by the police about what had happened, she said ‘Obviously I headbutted him. I can’t help it – I’m racist.’ (Sunderland Echo, 5 September 2013)

Attacks on people in their homes

  • 20 October 2013: Joele Leotta, a 20-year-old Italian waiter who had only been in the UK about ten days, was killed in his flat in Maidstone, allegedly by a group of Lithuanian men shouting ‘you steal our jobs’ as they beat him to death. The police quickly denied that the attack was racially motivated. (International Business Times, 23 October 2013)
  • October 2013: Gypsies in Thurrock facing eviction from their homes said that they had been the target of persistent harassment and abuse by local residents. At one point residents reportedly attempted to obstruct a water company visiting the area so as to deny the families access to water. (IRR News, 31 October 2013)
  • September 2013: An Asian man helping his brother move into a new house in Manchester was racially abused and assaulted. The attacker shouted ‘You need to get permission from me before your brother moves in’, and tried to take his keys and wallet from him. His friends joined in with the assault. (Manchester Evening News, 16 September 2013)
  • 20 August 2013: A 45-year-old man, Ian Rimmer, was evicted from his residence in Islington by Salix Homes after ‘a campaign of racial harassment and intimidation’. (24 Dash, 20 August 2013)
  • August 2013: A family in Bedford was posted racist material, the latest such incident in a long-standing campaign of harassment which included having KKK and Nazi literature and DVDs sent to them. (Bedfordshire on Sunday, 6 August 2013)
  • 10 July 2013: 24-year-old Daniel Lawson was given a prison sentence of three years and eleven months for his part in an arson attack on an eastern European family’s home in Plymouth. Lit fireworks were put through the letterbox of the house which set the building on fire. When the family put this blaze out, more lit fireworks were thrown at them. When he was arrested, the attacker said ‘English Pride, Nation Wide’. The family eventually made the decision to leave the country as a result of the attack. (Plymouth Herald, 10 July 2013)

Concerns over policing and criminal justice

  • November 2013: Victims of a vicious racist attack in Chigwell launched a complaint against the Metropolitan Police, stating that the police had never called them over the incident, that they had been unable to make a statement and that they were not visited when in hospital. The victims, all Indian, were racially abused and set upon by between ten and fifteen people whilst on a night out. Three of the group were hospitalised and one person knocked unconscious. (Asian Image, 13 November 2013)
  • November 2013: Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (Tell MAMA) announced that of 1,432 anti-Muslim incidents it had reported to the police over the last 22 months, only seventy had received a response. (BBC News, 24 November 2013)
  • 25 October 2013: Ukrainian student Pavlo Lapshyn was given a 40 year prison sentence for murdering 82-year-old Muslim Mohammed Saleem and bombing several mosques in the Midlands. He murdered Mr Saleem in April 2013, but the police spent the first ten weeks of their investigation focusing their inquiry on the deceased’s own son; the family described it as a  ‘wild goose chase’.  (BBC News, 25 October 2013)
  • 2 October 2013: Black anti-racist activist Maxi Hayles found two knives plunged into his car, parked outside his house, and a swastika daubed on the dashboard. According to supporters, the police did not treat the incident as racially motivated, and after a forensics team initially visited the scene Mr Hayles heard nothing more from the police. (Voice, 22 November 2013)
  • 8 August 2013: The family of Kamlesh Ruparelia, a 55-year-old man from Uganda, called for a review of the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to halt the case against a man who had punched and killed him after racially abusing him. Mr Ruparelia was killed in Sheffield in 2010. (BBC News, 8 August 2013)
  • July 2013: Police in Glasgow were accused of ‘failing to investigate’ a racist attack, during which a taxi driver was attacked by three white men and called a ‘P**i’. Among other concerns, it reportedly took the police three weeks to source CCTV footage of the attack. (Glasgow Evening Times, 7 July 2013)
  • July 2013: A protest was held outside Wembley police station after CCTV footage of a brutal attack was lost by the police. A Moroccan man had been assaulted by five white men, and it took external pressure to make the police log the attack as racially motivated. The police waited nearly a week to contact the victim. (IRR News, 4 July 2013)

Attacks in the night-time economy

  • 20 November 2013: Wendy Hunter, a woman in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and causing racially-aggravated fear, provocation or violence, having vandalised a shop owned by an Indian man, and racially abusing him whilst brandishing a hammer. (Sunderland Echo, 20 November)
  • 1 September 2013: A customer racially abused and spat at staff in a Chester takeaway before assaulting a female customer who tried to intervene, punching her in the face repeatedly and then attacking her husband. (Click Liverpool, 17 September 2013)
  • 21 August 2013: A woman in Daventry was released on bail, accused of racially abusing and attacking a grocer, stealing items from his shop and setting fire to some of the produce. (Northampton Chronicle, 21 August 2013)
  • 21 August 2013: Ian Ovens, 53, was jailed for twelve months after racially abusing the Asian owner of a petrol station in Leicester and threatening to burn it down. (Leicester Mercury, 21 August 2013)
  • 1 August 2013: 19-year-old Scott Blackburn was jailed for fourteen weeks for racially abusing and threatening a shopkeeper in South Shields, and smashing the shop’s door. (Shields Gazette, 1 August 2013)
  • 23 July 2013: CCTV footage of a Sri-Lankan shopkeeper in Liverpool being racially abused and set on fire was released by the police. The incident took place in June 2013. (Liverpool Echo, 23 July 2013)
  • July 2013: An Indian family in Castleford, Leeds, had panic alarms fitted in their shop after suffering racist abuse ‘almost every day’ for six months, including threats to burn their shop down. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 1 August 2013)
  • July 2013: Police in Scotland resorted to issuing shopkeepers in Edinburgh with hidden CCTV cameras, to be worn on the body, as a result of ongoing racist attacks. (Scotsman, 30 July 2013)

RELATED LINKS

Read an IRR report: ‘Racial violence: facing reality

Read an IRR News story: ‘Spotlight on far-right violence

Read an IRR News story: ‘Spotlight on racial violence: May – June 2013

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.