Riots have been rocking Britain for days now. Interestingly the EDL and their cohorts were quick to blame Muslims and Islam as the culprits. Many Islamophobes were eager for a repeat of 2005 when riots rocked France and they latched onto the fact that many of the youths involved were of North African descent.
Can you imagine if Muslims were heavily involved in these riots, or if there was a Muslim face to these riots? You can be sure that Islamophobes would be blaming Islam. Instead we have a sad case in which some Muslim youths who were actually protecting their neighborhood were killed after leaving the Mosque, in what witnesses are saying was a targeted killing. Will the Islamophobes suck up their pride, put away their hate and commend these youth for sacrificing their lives while protecting their neighborhood? (hat tip:Link182 &JD)
Police in Birmingham have launched a murder inquiry after three British Asian men were killed by a car in an incident that has raised fresh tensions after nights of looting.
A tearful and resentful crowd gathered outside the City hospital following the incident early on Wednesday morning, with police protecting the building against any incursion as feelings ran high.
A man has been arrested and a car impounded following the crash near a mosque in the Dudley Road area of England’s second city. Neighbours said the men had just left the mosque and were among large numbers of local people determined not to allow the fluid series of grab-and-run attacks in the city centre to spread to their area.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that two of the men were brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Mussavir , 32 and 30, who ran a carwash which was reckoned to be among possible targets for looters. The BBC has interviewed the father of another victim, Haroon Jahan, 21, who worked as a mechanic in a local garage.
Emergency ambulances found around 80 people already trying to help the victims when they arrived at the scene, which is close to a petrol station on Dudley Road. Throughout Tuesday, large numbers of British Asians had gathered outside shops and other businesses in Handsworth, Lozells and other inner-city areas, sometimes in tense face-offs with small groups of mostly African-Caribbean youths.
Community leaders are working to calm intense anger in the largely British Asian area around the scene of the tragedy, where groups of local people are out on the streets openly warning of inter-communal violence.
The local Labour MP, Shabana Mahmood, joined a tense meeting at Dudley Road mosque, which was being protected by young men in the early hours when the car rammed into a group including the three victims.
The Bishop of Aston, the Right Rev Anthony Watson, was also there and warned of concern about possible reprisals and events “potentially having an ugly race dimension”. Efforts are being focused on calming younger people who accuse the police of taking too little action to protect locally owned businesses from the looters.
One man who declined to give his name said that he had seen the incident and described it as “deliberate – no way was it an accident. The driver went on to the pavement and rammed them. He knew what he was doing.” He said that he had given evidence to the police.
Feelings have been inflamed by an alleged 20-minute delay before an ambulance arrived, with other locals saying that police riot vans had got in the way. Frantic efforts by locals to resuscitate the men failed and two died at the scene. The third died shortly afterwards at City hospital. Forensic experts are examining the scene and the impounded car and an appeal has made for witnesses.
Confrontation with the British Asian community or inter-communal violence would take the disturbances on to a new level and police have worked rapidly on the murder inquiry. It comes on top of 19 court appearances due on Wednesday after 43 arrests on Tuesday, and a further 37 on Tuesday night as violence dogged pockets of Birmingham and neighbouring West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.
Police do not yet know if there is any link to the troubles beyond the fact that unusually large numbers of people were on the streets in Winson Green and neighbouring suburbs. A spokesman for the West Midlands force said: “The incident took place close to the Jet filling station on Dudley Road in Winson Green at approximately 1.15am. Three ambulances, two rapid response vehicles and an incident support officer were sent to the scene.
“When crews arrived, they found around 80 people at the scene with resuscitation ongoing on three men. Crews used their advanced life support skills while police officers provided support.”
Violence in Birmingham on Tuesday night was on a much-reduced scale compared with Monday, but its spread to West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, in contrast to the relative calm in London, attracted growing attention. Police are growing increasingly used to troublemakers’ use of Twitter and other swift links to spot unprotected areas and zero in on them.