Racial violence laid bare

Racial violence laid bare


Written by: Institute of Race Relations

Ongoing research by the Institute of Race Relations exposes the reach of racial violence that continues to spread across the county.

Following the publication of a briefing paper, Racial Violence: The buried issue in June 2010, the IRR has continued to monitor racist violence in its various guises across the country; the list reproduced below is a collection of some of the most serious cases of abuse and physical violence that took place between the months of January and June 2010, that we have found so far this year.

Random street attacks by gangs of youths, attacks on workers in isolated jobs, such as taxi drivers, takeaway and restaurant owners, and railway staff, alcohol-fuelled racist abuse, arson attacks and cases of graffiti and vandalism all figure on the list below and have been chosen to exemplify how contemporary racial violence affects Britain’s minorities. Attacks on Muslims and vandalism in and around mosques also feature highly on our list.

The 2010 cases that have been analysed reflect the patterns of violence that emerged from our research for 2009. Where once such violence predominately affected people in deprived areas of London like Southall, Newham and Tower Hamlets, now victims of verbal and physical abuse are living in areas that have been traditionally white, and where migration has occurred on a relatively small scale.

1 January 2010: A 29-year-old Turkish man was assaulted on a street in Danbury, Essex, around midnight on New Year’s Day in what police called a ‘nasty’ racially aggravated attack. During the assault he was punched, kicked, and was left with a dislocated shoulder and cuts and swelling to his face. (Clacton Daily Gazette, 10 January 2010)

10 January 2010: 56-year-old Chinese takeaway owner Sui Chung was hospitalised for two nights after he was set upon by a group of around six youths in Clifton, Nottingham. After being racially abused, Mr Chung came out to challenge the youths but was attacked and suffered a broken arm and wrist, bruising to his face and a swollen eye. This is apparently not the first attack – Mr Chung says that in the fourteen years since he opened his takeaway he has had near constant abuse from gangs of up to thirty youths. (The Monitoring Group, 21 January 2010)

13 January 2010: A 25-year-old migrant from the Dominican Republic was cycling along Bell Green Road, Coventry, when he was stopped by a gang of six, all ‘extremely drunk’, who began to hurl racist abuse at him. The victim was then punched and kicked, and as he tried to make his escape, one of the group threw a concrete block at his head, causing him serious head injuries. (Coventry Telegraph, 19 March 2010)

17 January 2010: In Stoke Newington, London, Sarah Amerat, whilst travelling on a bus with her husband and son, was attacked by another woman who punched her in the back. She was wearing a niqab and police investigating the incident treated it as racially motivated. (Hackney Gazette, 21 January 2010)

17 January 2010: Hackney carriage driver Mohammed Sajed, 39, picked up a group of five men in Hanley, near Stoke-on-Trent, at around 3am. He stopped in Stoke when the men asked to be taken to a cash machine. As the men were getting out of the cab, one of them turned around and punched the driver, knocking him into the passenger seat. The man then got inside the car and continued punching him in the head, swearing and shouting racist abuse. (This is Staffordshire, 19 January 2010)

29 January 2010: A children’s play area, a village community centre, telephone boxes and walls and benches in Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire, were covered in racist graffiti, Nazi swastikas and National Front logos over the weekend of 29 January and then again a week later. The tags also said ‘HP5’, ‘HP6’ and ‘Chalfont Boys’. A 13-year-old boy was cautioned by Thames Valley Police for racially aggravated criminal damage and assault in connection with the incidents. (This is Local London, 19 March 2010)

6 February 2010: Michael Olunleye, 29, was attacked in broad daylight outside the Emirates Stadium in Highbury, North London, by a man who swore at him as he walked past his car. The attacker swore at Michael, shouting ‘you f***ing black c**t’, and then two minutes later got out of his car and stabbed him in the face, severing a muscle which needed three hours of surgery to correct. (Islington Tribune, 19 February 2010)

6 February 2010: A drunk passenger racially abused a member of staff at Wembley Park tube station, North London, and waved a glass bottle in the face of his victim, threatening to smash it over his head. Teisutis Macius, 41, was jailed for five weeks for racially abusive threatening behaviour and ordered to pay £100 compensation to his victim. (Harrow Times, 8 April 2010)

7 February 2010: Two Asian men were left needing hospital treatment after a racially aggravated assault by a gang of youths as they walked through a park in Dogsthorpe, Peterborough. Police confirmed they received a ‘vicious beating’ with sticks and bricks; one man suffered a broken leg. Ten young people were arrested in connection with the assault. (Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 12 February 2010)

10 February 2010: Police appealed for information regarding ten separate incidents of racist vandalism over two years at a bus stop in Chingford, East London. The graffiti included racist abuse and support for the British National Party (BNP). (East London and West Essex Guardian Series, 11 February 2010)

11 February 2010: In Barnstaple, Devon, a series of swastikas were painted on the roundabout at Sticklepath Hill and racist hate slogans were daubed on a local church. Swastikas were daubed on properties and near telephone kiosks as well as on an underpass and walls around the town. Police Sergeant Paul Jones said: In 21 years of policing I have never seen graffiti of this scale and this offence. Alex Symonds, 18, was arrested and pleaded guilty to three charges of racially aggravated criminal damage. (Plymouth Herald, 6 March 2010)

14 February 2010: Restaurant owner Mohammed Mazumder, 41, was closing his establishment in Southampton when three men walked in and began shouting racist abuse. He was dragged out of the restaurant by his tie and punched and kicked by group of up to seven men. He suffered injuries to his eye. (Daily Echo, 19 February 2010)

25 February 2010: Merseyside police announced that community police officers would board school buses taking pupils from West Derby’s Holly Lodge Girls’ School, after a number of verbal attacks on Muslim pupils wearing hijabs were reported. Members of Liverpool’s Muslim community had also reported to police that bus drivers had been refusing to stop to pick up hijab-wearing Muslim pupils in order to ‘avoid trouble’. (Liverpool Daily Post, 26 February 2010)

6 March 2010: In Hastings, the owner of taxi firm 24/7 Taxis, Chris Vale, responded to the last of a series of incidents in which his drivers had been racially abused – this time three men shouted racist insults at a driver and smashed a wine bottle against the window of the cab – by installing CCTV cameras in his fleet of taxis. A Hastings Borough Council scheme, funded by the Safer Hastings Partnership and overseen by the licensing team, to put CCTV cameras into taxis across the town, followed Mr. Vale’s decision. (Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, 4 March 2010)

12 March 2010: Alie Sankoh, 26, was attacked as he walked home on Maldive Road, Basingstoke, by three men who had been shouting racist abuse from a pub terrace. As he walked away, one man came up behind him and hit him on the head, telling him to ‘go back to your own country’. Alie ran all the way home, but as he put the key in the lock, he was hit again and slashed across the face with a knife. (Basingstoke Gazette, 27 April 2010)

14 March 2010: An 11-year-old boy from Wallasey, Merseyside, was assaulted as he cycled down Seaview Road. He was approached by a teenager, aged around 14, who began shouting racial abuse before physically assaulting him. The boy sustained injuries to his head and a serious eye injury. (Wirral Globe, 15 May 2010)

18 March 2010: In Harehills Cemetery in Leeds, up to thirty Muslim graves were vandalised over two days. One headstone was broken, and name plaques from other graves had been broken or ripped off. A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage and released on police bail. (Muslim News, 30 April 2010)

19 March 2010: Four people armed with knives launched an attack on the Makka mosque in Bolton, the day before the English Defence League marched through the town. The perpetrators jumped out of a car and threatened people as they left the mosque but no-one was injured and all four were arrested. (Socialist Worker, 20 March 2010)

20 March 2010: Seven men were caught on CCTV cameras at Macclesfield train station racially abusing a security guard. The men, who chanted racial abuse as they alighted a train, were believed by police to have attended the English Defence League rally in Bolton a few hours before. (BBC News, 12 April 2010)

20 March 2010: A 22-year-old Asian man was walking along Hospital Road, Hounslow, with a friend when they were racially abused by a gang of up to seven men. Two of the men assaulted the victim with a bottle before kicking him. He was taken to hospital and treated for cuts on his hands and chin, and had stitches in his head. (The Monitoring Group, 13 May 2010)

23 March 2010: Unknown attackers threw a brick through the window of Lazeez, a takeaway in Currock, near Carlisle. Asma Khatun, the co-owner, said that when she heard the crash she ran immediately outside to hear three youths shouting racist abuse from the other end of the street. It is the tenth time the establishment has been attacked in the past five years, with staff routinely subjected to racist abuse. (News and Star, 25 March 2010)

26 March 2010: Two Asian brothers were attacked in broad daylight as they walked along Russell Road, Clacton, after a passing cyclist racially abused them. The same cyclist then returned with a pipe, and the brothers’ path was blocked by a car as they tried to walk away. The younger brother was struck with the pipe and as he lay on the ground, the passenger in the car got out and stubbed a cigarette out on the boy’s face. He suffered facial injuries and a broken arm. (Clacton Daily Gazette, 13 April 2010)

27 March 2010: Taxi driver Riaz Ahmed was taking four men to Allerton, Bradford, at around 4am when they said they would refuse to pay the fare. When Mr Ahmed asked them to leave the cab, one of the men punched him in the face. He was then dragged from his car, punched and kicked and racially abused. He was hit with a metal bar and stick, and received injuries to his hip and hand. The men also stole Mr Ahmed’s earnings of £280 and the taxi’s satellite navigation equipment as they left him lying on the ground. (Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 1 April 2010)

2 April 2010: An 11-year-old boy was travelling on a bus through Hackney, London, on his way home from school when he was racially abused by a woman. As he walked down the stairs to get off the bus, she poured beer over him, and when he turned to asked why, he was again abused. The woman’s male companion then kicked him in the stomach, and left the bus while the victim was telling the driver what had happened. (Hackney Gazette, 5 May 2010)

10 April 2010: The Eccles and Salford mosque in Eccles, near Manchester, was targeted twice in twenty minutes by vandals, who were captured on CCTV removing fences and throwing bricks through the windows. The chairman of the mosque, Ali Anees, said the incident was one in a series of attacks on the premises, including an incident the previous month when eggs were thrown at people leaving the mosque. (Manchester Evening News, 16 April 2010)

17 April 2010: Two Polish men were hospitalised after they were assaulted in Mildenhall, Suffolk. One of the men was stabbed in the hand, while the other suffered a head injury from a baseball bat. Police said they would investigate the possibility of the attack being racially motivated, and arrested three men in connection with the incident. (East Anglian Daily Times, 17 April 2010)

17 April 2010: Worshippers at the Crawley Islamic Culture Centre and Mosque, West Sussex, called the police after a pig’s head was thrown into the car park of the mosque. Three men, all in their early twenties, were arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated public order offence, but were not prosecuted. (Crawley Observer, 19 April 2010)

27 April 2010: Anwar Alqahtani, a Saudi Arabian masters student studying in Glasgow, was attacked on Hope Street near Glasgow Central station by 26-year-old William Baikie. He ripped off her hijab and threw it to the ground. Ms Alqahtani said afterwards that she feared leaving the house and gave up her studies. Bailkie was prosecuted and admitted racial assault in court and was jailed for two years. (STV News, 26 July 2010)

28 April 2010: Four children, two girls and two boys aged 12-16, were arrested on suspicion of affray and bailed after a racially aggravated fight outside a Childwall Community Comprehensive School, Liverpool. Police believe iron bars were used in the incident, and a 16-year-old boy received hospital treatment for minor injuries. (Liverpool Echo, 29 April 2010)

1 May 2010: Martyn Howlett, 43, a self-proclaimed ‘right-wing extremist’, made Nazi salutes and hurled racist abuse at Muslim cub scouts after a Bristol Rovers match in Horfield, Bristol. The children were having a picnic outside the 1st Bristol Muslim Scout group headquarters, when Howlett began pointing to his BNP badge, shouting ‘It’s BNP, racist, fascism and Hitler (sic)’, and then launched into a tirade, directing some of his abuse directly at a young girl wearing a headscarf, and making obscene hand gestures at the children. (Bristol Evening Post, 11 June 2010)

5 May 2010: A man was racially abused and assaulted as he walked down Manchester Road, Rochdale, late at night. The two men involved in the incident followed the victim and then attacked him, kicking and punching him in the head and back, and knocking him to the ground. One of the men bit the victim’s ear, before running off. (Rochdale Online, 26 June 2010)

9 May 2010: A Sri Lankan shopkeeper, Matt Mahalingam, opened his shop in Litherland, Merseyside, to find the words ‘P*** scum’ painted on the exterior. Matt says the incident is one of a series of racist incidents, and believes that the graffiti was related to a dispute with a customer who refused to pay for his cigarettes and who had insulted and punched him, telling him to ‘go back to Pakistan’. (Bootle Tmes, 12 May 2010)

13 May 2010: A Chinese takeaway in the Rosemount Factory complex in Rosemount, South Ayrshire, was targeted by teenagers who set fire to a bin at the back of the establishment late at night. According to community workers, the fire could have caused a potentially lethal explosion, as the bin was placed next to gas cylinders. The charred remains of the bin were discovered by the restaurant owners the morning after a group of four teenagers had racially abused the owner. (Derry Journal, 17 May 2010)

22 May 2010: A 44-year-old Asian man who was walking down Midsummer Avenue in Hounslow, Middlesex, was viciously attacked in the street. Two men began pushing him and hurling racist abuse, until they knocked him over. They continued to kick him as he lay the ground, and smashed a motorcycle helmet on the victim’s head. (Hounslow and Brentford Times, 25 May 2010)

4 June 2010: A 15-year-od girl was viciously attacked in Heaton Park, Newcastle, by a group of teenagers who came up to her from behind, racially abused her and forced her to the ground. They punched and kicked the victim, and poured beer over her before she was able to make her escape. She did not need hospital treatment, but sustained a number of cuts and bruises during the attack. PC Allan Clark, who was leading the investigation into the incident, called it the most disturbing he had seen in the area. (Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 11 June 2010)

9 June 2010: A 13-year-old Turkish girl, Sureyya Ozkaya, was attacked by three teenage girls as she walked through Grangewood Park, Croydon. They beat Sureyya with a stick, hit her head against a dustbin, and then cut off her hair at the front of her head. She was in hospital for two nights receiving treatment. Her father, Mehmet Ozkaya, believes the attack was connected to racist bullying the Sureyya had experienced in school. (Londra Gazette, 17 June 2010)

10 June 2010: A group of around ninety Year Ten school pupils from Derby were on a trip to Bridlington, North Humberside, when they were subjected to racist abuse from people in the town centre. Black and Asian students were abused by pub drinkers on the street, and one group was taunted as they bought lunch in a chip shop by a lady who made comments about the children ‘wanting curry with everything’. (Derby Telegraph, 15 June 2010)

21 June 2010: A builder, Scott Michael Jones, 23, became racially abusive towards two Chinese takeaway workers at the Red Lantern Chinese takeaway on Wyndham Street, Bridgend, when they refused to serve him food. CCTV footage of the incident, shown later in court, shows Jones threatening to punch Guopei Zhou and Huiya Zhou, being drunkenly abusive and making animal noises, saying ‘You come to my country and you tell me you can’t serve me?’ Jones admitted racially aggravated behaviour in court, adding that he was embarrassed at his own actions when he watched the tape and that he had been so drunk that he did not fully recall the night. (Glamorgan Gazette, 15 June 2010)

22 June 2010: Two cars were set alight in a racially motivated arson attack in the middle of the night, in the Fernagh Avenue area of Whiteabbey, County Antrim. Both vehicles were damaged extensively, and the front of one of the homes was scorched by the flames. The cars belonged to an Indian family and a Filipino family, and police investigating the incident are treating it as a hate crime. (Newtownabbey Times, 1 July 2010)

Related links

Newham Monitoring Project

The Monitoring Group


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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