Man charged with murder of Asian taxi driver

Man charged with murder of Asian taxi driver

Written by: Arun Kundnani

Paul Craig, 46, of Higginshaw, Oldham, has been charged with the murder of taxi driver, Israr Hussain.

Craig has also been charged with assault and intent to rob. 42-year-old Israr Hussain, a father-of-six from Glodwick, Oldham, died after a stab wound to his neck following an incident in his taxi in the early hours of 28 December 2002. So far, detectives have not treated the attack as racially motivated.

On 10 January 2002, hundreds of people lined the streets of Oldham to pay their respects to the murdered cabbie. The procession passed by the taxi firm where Israr Hussain worked and stopped outside the Red Lion pub where he was killed, before proceeding to the Pakistani Community Centre. His body will be flown to Pakistan for burial. Since the murder, cabbies have been calling for greater security and protection, such as CCTV in all cars, and the Anti-Nazi League has organised a demonstration in Oldham against racist attacks.

Dangerous work

Taxi driving has been one of the main occupations of Asian men in Oldham, since the closure of the cotton mills in the 1980s. But Asian taxi drivers have had to face a constant risk of violence, often racially motivated.

  • In 1992, 46-year-old cab driver Mohammed Sarwar was dragged from his car, beaten and left for dead in a Manchester street. Over a thousand people joined a funeral cortège taking Mohammed Sarwar’s body from the mosque in Rusholme to Manchester Airport to be flown back to Pakistan. Taxi drivers came out in their hundreds, displaying black flags on their cars and bringing traffic to a halt.
  • In 2000, Tariq Javed, 48, was murdered in Bury by a gang of white men who hijacked his cab, beat him, robbed him and then run over him with his own car.
  • Later in the same year, Sarfraz Khan, 30, of Rotherham, was beaten and stabbed six times and then set alight in his car after picking up a fare.

These murders represent a tiny proportion of the very serious attacks Asian cabbies undergo but taxi drivers have often complained that police fail to take seriously reported incidents, particularly if race is an element. Police did not regard racial motivation as an element in the deaths of either Mohammed Sarwar, Tariq Javed or Sarfraz Khan. Many taxi drivers opt not to report crimes to the police, not least because of the potential business lost while processing the report at the police station. In June 2001, taxi drivers in Burnley held a ten-day strike to protest against racist attacks and police inaction.

Related links

Anti-Nazi League

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

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