Call for Ban on All Neo-Nazi Groups after Nail Bombings
Sengupta, Kim, The Independent (London, England)
ANTI-RACIST campaigners and community leaders called for neo- Nazi groups such as Combat 18 to be banned yesterday in response to the two bomb attacks on Brixton and Brick Lane in London.
Civil rights activists said the Government's plan to reform the 1967 Race Relations Act after the Lawrence report does not go far enough. They called for immediate action to make membership of far- right groups illegal.
Combat 18 has claimed responsibility for the two bombings, which injured 45 people. Kumar Murshid, chairman of the National Assembly Against Racism, said: "Most people would be very surprised to know that Combat 18 and other groups like that are not illegal. They clearly exist to incite violence and they should be banned." The call came as it was revealed that a group called the White Wolves, suspected of the bombings and said to be an offshoot of Combat 18, has sent death threats to Jewish community leaders in Manchester. Black, Asian and Jewish public figures and organisations received such threats before the Brixton attack. A spokesman for the Jewish Community Security Trust in Manchester said: "The risk has to be taken seriously. We are liaising with the police and other ethnic minority communities in the city ... a pattern is emerging, first it was the blacks, then Asians and the Jews could be the next on the list." Yesterday the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, told the Commons that hunting the racist bombers was the police's number one task: "Whilst the perpetrators of this violence remain at large there is plainly a risk that they may strike again. The police are pursuing the investigations of these bombings and protection of the public with the utmost vigour." But Bangladeshi community leaders accused the police of failing to provide adequate protection and said the force had been negligent in closing Brick Lane's police station on Saturday afternoon. They also accused the police of being slow to arrive at the blast scene. Shofique Choudhury, chairman of the Bangladeshi Welfare Association, said: "The Brick Lane police station is situated opposite where the bomb went off and in our opinion, the local police have been negligent in their endeavours to protect the local community even though they knew that a spiteful, racially motivated campaign was in the midst of London. …