Race Relations Chief Claims Ethnic Divide 'Breeds Terrorism'

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH

RACE EQUALITY chief Trevor Phillips triggered a fresh row today when he claimed that ethnic segregation was turning Britain into a "fertile breeding-ground" for terrorists.

Mr Phillips said that the country was "reaching US levels" of racially-based housing and urgent action was needed to tackle the problem.

The Commission for Racial Equality chairman said that segregation in schools had to be turned round by drawing up new catchment areas and forcing white and black sixth forms to merge.

Mr Phillips told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What we are discovering is that as a country, we are not talking across the ethnic, religious and colour lines. There is more residential segregation ... we are reaching US levels now.

"We used to have one city in the world league of segregation, as it were, and there are now eight.

"We find that the place where we actually ought to be seeing more integration- schools - from research that has been done by Bristol University, reveal themselves as actually increasing the trend, because they are slightly more segregated than their neighbourhoods.

"Our worry is that this is fertile breeding ground for extremists. As in the United States, you can get to a point where actually things are so divided, there is no turning back." He concluded: "People don't have to love each other, or even like each other, but we think if we at least know each other, that is the fundamental platform for a better, more integrated society."

Mr Phillips said fines ought to be imposed on educational institutions that showed a consistently poor record in attracting students from ethnic minorities. He added that many universities had such a bad record they were effectively hanging out signs reading "blacks need not apply". …