Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Bradford: When There Is No Work, the Mullahs Step In

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Bradford: When There Is No Work, the Mullahs Step In

Article excerpt

The more this Bradford business continues, the more the recent and distant pasts illuminate. I recently met young Gary, whom I had known from Race Today's campaigns in Bradford about 30 years ago.

He complained bitterly that he was born in Bradford and had developed very good relations with Pakistanis there. Yet he now felt like a foreigner in the largely Pakistani district of Manningham.

He had gone for a walk in the park and had felt hostility and menace there. Andy, his very good friend, worked for a Pakistani who treated him like "a dog". Gary's language, which bordered on the racist, mortified me. Both Gary and Andy had been members of Bradford Black, which was part of a national alliance formed by Race Today.

The alliance, while it lasted, would not entertain any such deterioration of understanding between Asians and West Indians. We had many things on our side: close links with the university, and a base in the Asian community among those of its members who had broken with mosque politics. Together, we would surely have had some success in shoring up what appear to be rapidly declining social relations. Now, without organisation and without cadres of any quality, we have missed the boat.

Yet at one time, we had seemed so well set. Twenty years ago, a group of young Asians, hearing that Bradford would be invaded by the National Front, stashed a few petrol bombs in readiness for the attack.

Twelve of them were arrested and charged with conspiracy to cause explosions. I was designated by Race Today to assist in their defence. The line-up for the case was formidable: a white and radical solicitor, Ruth Bundy; the young and handsome barrister Mike Mansfield; another electrifying barrister in the form of the young Helena Kennedy, now a baroness.

The Asian youths convinced a white jury to find them not guilty on the grounds of self-defence. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.