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    The Bradford Riots revisited


    by Sunny
    4th May, 2006 at 2:40 pm    

    Coming only a few months before the September 11th attacks, the Bradford, Oldham and Burnley riots of summer 2001 were quickly overshadowed by global events and the so-called War on Terror.

    Yet the violence of those few days has had huge psychological impact on British race relations. Debates around growing segregation, British citizenship, the “failure of multi-culturalism” and the rise of the BNP in those areas all grew out of events.

    The riots in Bradford followed similar, but smaller, outbreaks of violence in Burnley and Oldham during May 2001. Bradford exploded in an orgy of violence on 7th July 2001, involving up to 1000 youths and a slightly smaller number of riot police.

    Not much has been said over the cause of the riots. It cannot be ignored (although the sentencing judge did his best) that in each of the different incidents the tension first arose when the National Front planned a march.

    I remember initially feeling glad that the NF harassment was not easily tolerated. After the intense violence in Bradford however it had become clear that it had gotten out of hand and hijacked by criminal gangs.

    Soon after, the far-right provocation and police reaction was forgotten as the media endlessly replayed clips of the riots. The underlying tensions remained largely unexplored and, despite the Cantle report, largely unchanged.

    But while the media emphasised a culture of silence from the community, the opposite was true.

    “There was a real element of self-policing after the riots. The local religious leaders said they could not harbour these criminals. Fathers actually marched their sons to police stations and handed them in,” says the drama’s writer Neil Biswas.

    A consortium of local Asian businesses even put an ad in the regional paper apologising for the riots.

    “You expected, because there was an understanding on both sides that gestures had been made, justice would be fair,” he says. But that was not the case. Kids were locked up for up to five years for just throwing a few stones or simply spectating.

    Never had a group of rioters been punished so brutally. The film will inevitably evoke some sympathy for those affected and how it impacted the local communities. That is what such dramas are meant to do and Biswas tells the story well.

    But it fails to adequately highlight the long-term significance of the riots - how it played an instrumental part in changing the dialogue on race relations.

    What it does do quite well is give a voice to the frustrations of local people in a way that has been side-stepped by the media until now.

    In the wake of the Bradford riots, 191 people were given custodial sentences totalling more than 510 years. These were the harshest and most widespread sentences given for public disorder since the second World War.


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    1. Rohin — on 4th May, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

      I shall watch Sunny, as you have recommended it. I’m not sure I agree with you on the ‘like many British Asians, I initially felt sympathy for the rioters’. I can’t really recall, but I don’t think I did. Making decisions about which side you’re on before the facts are clear isn’t a great idea - isn’t it a bit like the mob-communalist mentality you and I both dislike? I.e. A person from community x will immediately support another person from community x without finding out the situation fully?

      I’m not suggesting you did this at all - but at the time I thought that it was Muslim vs. white as opposed to Asian vs. NF. I did, however, think the same as you about the NF, I was happy to see their shit not being tolerated.

      I still don’t think I understand what went on very well, so let’s hope tonight explains a bit to me.

    2. Fred — on 4th May, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

      “…What it does do quite well is give a voice to the frustrations of local people in a way that has been side-stepped by the media until now…”

      Perhaps C4 can spend the same ammount of money on making a film about the ‘frustrations’ of the local people of Barking and Dagenham.

      The BNP: What on earth’s going on?

      Yes? No?

    3. Sunny — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

      Maybe I should elaborate more on my initial thoughts.

      I was first embarassed. Before that Asians had a good reputation as keeping their head down and working (IMO anyway). Now suddenly we were yobs chucking bottles at the police.

      But hearing a lot of comments from friends and other people in the area, I felt sympathy for the fact that the media was so willing to paint them as the baddies yet completely ignoring the NF.

      There were a lot of rumours coming out of the area… about NF going to Asian houses and chucking bricks through the windows or harassing women openly in the streets.

      When I was at uni we initially had groups of NF come down and knock on doors looking for Asians they could beat up. It wasn’t until some boys got together and challenge them that that threat dissapated.

      But like I said, that initial sympathy turned into annoyance that criminal gangs hijacked it (as they do in many riots).

      But in the long aftermath - and given the absurd sentences that have been handed out (some more than people get for rape) - I’m not surprised people in that area feel the establishment shafted them.

    4. Sunny — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

      about the ‘frustrations’ of the local people of Barking and Dagenham.

      And you think the national press haven’t flogged that horse enough yet?

    5. Rohin — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      That article’s a bit rambling but quite interesting Fred.

      Sunny I think I remember what happened. I was on holiday so when I first heard about the riots, it was already at the stage where things had escalated - of course I just saw what others saw on the news and just saw Asian faces smashing stuff up. So I think I missed the build up.

    6. leon — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      I remember those riots and the stories of the NF/BNP leafleting the area before their marchs to stir up shit. And the stories of the police treating the Asian kids badly and not doing their job regarding the NF marchers…shitty fucking circumstance. At the time I was utterly on the side of the rioting youngsters…

    7. Sunny — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

      There is a statistic that they shown on screen at the end of the drama which was quite siginificant. I missed it but I’ve just rang C4 to try and get it. That’ll give an indication of the enormity of the jail sentences.

    8. Fred — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

      So Sunny you don’t want C4 to make a film about the ‘frustrations’ of the local people of Barking and Dagenham.

      Then what about making a film about the ‘frustrations’ of the local people of Lozells, Birmingham .

      Knife mob killed city riot victim

      Yes? No?

    9. Jay Singh — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

      Well - do Channel 4 / Guardian types romanticise some groups and their reactions? That’s the interesting question being posed by Fred.

    10. Fred — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

      Jay Singh:

      Thank you - exactly my point (well one of them at least).

    11. Amir — on 4th May, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

      When I was at uni we initially had groups of NF come down and knock on doors looking for Asians they could beat up.

      Dude, that’s awful. What a horrible experience.

    12. Jay Singh — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

      Southall Riots in the 1980′s made sure the racists never came to harass Indians in West London again on the scale they did with impunity before.

      What happened in Bradford might be comparable - but did they get out of hand? As I understand it they started burning their own streets - what was that about?

    13. Neil — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

      Weren’t Hindu businesses also targetted and attacked during the riots, what exactly did they do to anger the rioters ???

    14. Sunny — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

      Fred - that moral equivalence is not going to work with me. We covered the atrocious death of Isiah Young-Sam here extensively and I wrote about it elsewhere too.

    15. Sunny — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

      Right - they’ve just come back to me with the statistics - which I’ve added to the end of the article. Pretty significant you’ll see.

      I don’t believe this is a case of romanticising. Firstly, the media and the judge kept playing down the impact of the NF and simply demonised everyone involved.

      Secondly, no one has really focused on the prison sentences that were handed out. That story, given how big a part the riots played, has been ignored.

    16. Amir — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

      As a British patriot, I believe in the ‘rule of law’ and consistency in the application of law – including retributive justice.

      191 custodial sentences = 510 years

      Shocking… absolutely shocking.
      As much as I hate the mawkish journalism of the Guardian (getting back to Jay’s point), I am going to reserve judgment on a ‘hidden’ agenda until I see the programme for myself.
      I wait with baited breath.

    17. Neil — on 4th May, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

      I remember a tv programme on C4 focusing on the aftermath of the riots and the strong nature of the sentences handed out. I dont think that matter has been ignored.

    18. mirax — on 4th May, 2006 at 5:25 pm  

      >>Weren’t Hindu businesses also targetted and attacked during the riots, what exactly did they do to anger the rioters ???

      Were they really?

      I read up practically everything there was in the guardian and observer websites at that time and found no mention of this.

    19. contrarymary — on 4th May, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

      how many of the 191 people sentenced were Asian?

    20. guest — on 4th May, 2006 at 11:30 pm  

      yes and how many of the national front were arrested?

    21. Refresh — on 5th May, 2006 at 12:29 am  

      I was actually present during the day - it was an ANL demo/carnival. There were many families present and there were quite a few people in cartoon costumes - in the spirit of united communities.

      There was a large police presence. Generally the whole of the afternoon was reasonably orderly. And generally enjoyable.

      We left to go off to do some sight-seeing in the local countryside, when the radio news first reported trouble.

      What horrified me was Blunkett’s response. He thought the unthinkable and sought to entirely blame the youngsters, who were provoked.

      As in Southall in the 70′s and in many other areas where the fascists had to be faced down, it was very important to stand up to the NF in Bradford. Lets not forget that they had already trailed their intentions in other mill towns.

      The debate on race was determined by the media (as before) and the unthinking Blunkett - not by the youngsters.

      Blunkett, politically, probably felt taking any other line would be accepting that government policies were not working. Especially in old Labour heartlands. It would be interesting to see what guidance was on offer from the Home Office with regards to sentencing.

      The government had and has done very little to stand up to the far right, hence the latest questions over BNP’s electoral prospects.

      Had Blunkett and the government taken the hard decisions when troubles first started off in the likes of Burnley and Oldham, instead of surfing the media, we would have had quite a different outcome.

      Rohin, viewing the riots as muslims v. the far right misses the point completely on how these groups are operating. For muslim read Asian. The latest refinement is Pakistani Muslim.

      BTW - I missed the program, late home. Be interested in any summary.

    22. Tilling — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:24 am  

      That film was an embarrassing pile of shite. It was like something from the 80s. They used the “ordinary people pushed too far” theme which is often employed by ham-fisted screenwriters to excuse violent thuggery. Every single white person in it was either a heartless copper, a sneering NF supporter, a hideous racist or an incompetent/harsh member of the judiciary who just didn’t understand. Not one single white person was shown with any redeeming qualities, a kind of stereotyping that would be unacceptable (and rightly so) if the situations were reversed. In fact, it became so laughably heavily-drawn that by the end of it my partner and I were hooting with laughter as the next white stereotype hove into view.

    23. Teacher — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:20 am  

      tilling, you would be surprised how many white people suddenly became distant from me at work and they almost dropped dead when i said i knew some people whos pictures had been presented,

      they didnt like the fact i asked them did their husbands go drinking and fighting on friday nights…..

    24. S — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:29 am  

      “they didnt like the fact i asked them did their husbands go drinking and fighting on friday nights….. ”

      Oh yeah all white people do that. We just can’t control ourselves. Sheesh.

    25. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 11:34 am  

      I had dinner with mum yesterday and she said “I don’t want to watch any rioting” so I had to tape it to watch later!

      I wanted an early night but found myself wanting to watch it all the way through. Now, confusion has arisen with my critique of things before as I can look at it as a political statement or as a dramatic work.

      I think Tilling has a point - every white person was a negative character. Now perhaps that’s simply because the only white people the Asians interacted with were cops and racists, but it did come across a bit one-sided. However Tilling I don’t think they tried to say that the riots were caused by only ordinary people who were pushed over the edge - it was clear that there were thugs and criminals amongst the rioters, along with people like the protagonist who was previously a normal kid.

      It got me thinking, but I don’t think I’ll ever really know what exactly sparked it all off.

      As a piece of filmmaking it was pretty good. The leads all acted well, especially dad (was that Victor Banerjee?) Due to the serious nature of the topic, Biswas & the editors have thankfully abandoned all the silly effects that made Second Gen such a nightmare. It was quite a polished finished product.

    26. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

      Oh yeah, does anyone else find it odd that the riots were on the 7/7?

    27. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 2:53 pm  

      I thought that was wierd too! I’m gonna keeep my wits about every 7/7 from now on :|

      I did raise the point in a Q&A about the portrayal of white people. But given that the drama was explored entirely from a Muslim family’s point of view, there was no editorial need to have “nice white people” just for balance.

      I think that is a fair point. Asking for such balance is as lame as the time the MCB complain that the only Muslim character in 24 or that other Fox drama was a suicide bomber.

      If Asians started complaining everytime they saw a drama or a comedy where the only Asian person is an annoying caricature or a negative character…. sheesh!

    28. Tilling — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

      But given that the drama was explored entirely from a Muslim family’s point of view, there was no editorial need to have “nice white people” just for balance.

      Had the situation been reversed and every Asian character in a drama like this had been hate-filled or unfeeling, there would have been ructions. It made the whole thing like a pantomime.

    29. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

      Well yes and no Sunny. As I said above, it could well the case that there is such little interaction between white and Pakistani people in Bradford that the only white people who meet a regular Muslim family may not be the nicest people. However! There was not one white character, nor even five - there were quite a few.

      But as it was a work of fiction based on real events, I’d hate all stories to have to have some politically correct balance, it’d become like Star Trek with every minority represented. Or American shows with token ‘heroic’ black characters who appear and vanish so they can tick the ‘ethnic minority’ box.

      But why I objected to this programme’s particular slant is even though it was from the viewpoint of a Muslim family, the fact all the white people were racist or abusive served to make a neutral person assume this was a biased programme. Perhaps it wasn’t, but it came across like that. I know the director wanted it to be simply drama but it was marketed by Ch4 as what actually happened.

      What about when the shoe’s on the other foot - United 93? Another drama based on real events. We can’t be sure what happened on that plane cos we don’t know. So are you happy with the way the Muslims are portrayed? I assume you haven’t seen it yet but many American Asians seem to think it’s not worth watching.

    30. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

      Had the situation been reversed and every Asian character in a drama like this had been hate-filled or unfeeling, there would have been ructions.

      Rubbish - You’re talking about positive white representation in a situation where all the Asians have been marginalised and demonised for years now without even a hint of the NF impact or talking about the jail sentences afterwards.

      What about them? What about the silly jail sentences?

      When more people vote for the BNP, we are supposed to “understand their frustrations”. When the Irish get into sectarian riots, then we have to engage in confidence-building exercises.

      When Asian kids get pissed off with National Front harassment and no support from the police - they’re demonised incessantly and locked up for five years apiece.

      And you’re crying about white portrayal on TV. Welcome to the world of those Bradford kids. It doesn’t look so good does it?

    31. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:28 pm  

      Rohin - when the MCB etc complain about portrayal in every little thing - do you see me join them? No. When the Sikh leaders got annoyed at Behzti, I stood up for freedom of speech. I still side with Gurpreet Bhatti.

      Having racial balance all of the time is not a pre-requisite and I see no reason why it was necessary here for political correctness.

    32. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 3:39 pm  

      I side with Gurpreet Bhatti too. But she didn’t portray all Sikhs as rapists.

      My views are more similar to yours than I think you think, but when making TV shows it’s not so much if you ARE accurate, it’s if you LOOK accurate. Hence why so many chuck in that token good guy from the bad guys’ side. Like Charlie Andrews in Gandhi (where all the other Brits were racist snobs), like Toby Stephens in The Rising (where all the other Brits were racist snobs, again), like the undercover guy in True Lies (where all other Muslims were bombers) or like several of the characters in Behzti.

      Do you see where I’m going? Bradford Riots may have been entirely accurate. But people like Tilling can dismiss it because it seems one-sided. It’s a lazy and obvious trick to put in the token good guy but it side steps these objections. I’m sure there were many white people in Bradford who thought the Asians were treated badly, but none are shown in this programme, not even the mothers of young kids.

    33. gaz — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

      I enjoyed watching the program but channel4 is on dodgy ground with these dramas based on real events. Just like the recent Guanatamo program I thought the portrayal was too one sided. Some of it was laughably clichéd.

      Sunny - I don’t think it is true that the Bradford Asians did not have support from the police. From speaking to several people that were there the police did try their best to keep the two sides apart. But like rival football firms the two sides were intent on having a scrap. There were a few skirmishes in the city centre, but the portrayal of the police just did not ring true.

      I thought the sentences were harsh, especially for first time offenders. I would be interested to find out what sentences where handed down for the poll tax rioters or even the recent disturbances at millwall. However I don’t think provocation can be used as an excuse, defend your community fine, throwing rocks and petrol bombs at the police is stupid. Burning down your own area and risking lives is the work of retards.

    34. Sunny — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

      Burning down your own area and risking lives is the work of retards.

      Agreed, and I don’t say I side with all of what happened. But a lot of families put their trust in the police by handing in their sons to the police in the hope it means they can show they were embarassed by the riots and are willing to own up. That trust was badly broken. How many will trust the police again?

      Rohin:
      But people like Tilling can dismiss it because it seems one-sided.

      Agreed. And it is a lazy trick, which is why I dismiss it when Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus use it too. I can’t stand whiners.

    35. Jay Singh — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:38 pm  

      How was their trust broken by handing their sons over to the police? What did they think the police would do? Spank them on the hand and send them home with lollipops for being naughty? The sentences they got were the responsibility of the judiciary - not the police.

      I compared these riots with the Southal Riots in the 1980′s and the comparison is there - with one difference - after the pub hosting the NF was trashed in Southall the crowds didnt go and burn down Southall Broadway and ten other streets and set fire to businesses and petrol stations and car showrooms - just as gaz said - that was just retarded.

      And Sunny you say you hate it when people bitch and whine and moan but to me people handing over their sons to the police and when their sons get long sentences from the INDEPENDENT judiciary and then saying that this is another reason why the police breached the trust of the community seems to me just like another example of MANUFACTURING GRIEVANCE and whining itself. And yes the way white people were caricatured utterly was troubling to me just as it was to Rohin. You can get into a yah-boo well what about this and what about that now you know how it feels - but that just mirrors the same rhetoric of the minorityism whiners justifying their own prejudices.

    36. Jay Singh — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

      I agree with Rohin - Victor Banerjee was excellent - the film worked as a piece of drama and the performances were good but if we’re discussing the social implications of it all well there’s plenty to discuss.

    37. a — on 5th May, 2006 at 4:48 pm  

      “What about them? What about the silly jail sentences?”

      The sentences seemed very high to me when i read Sunnys post yesterday. Having seen the documentary it occurred to me that any direct violent action against the police is taken VERY seriously by the courts and rightly so. Had they been throwing bricks at the NF (which is what i thought before the prog) then perhaps they wouldnt have been so high. As it stands for the courts NOT to take attacks on the police so seriously would send the message ‘its okay to riot and its ok to attack the police”. Dont think so. Sorry but the fact that the police drove them back does not excuse those actions as much as the community frogmarched them in.

    38. Rohin — on 5th May, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

      Heh, just read the discussion at AiM - rather different! They’re discussing it as if they were real characters, how quaint. I know several of these people, what’s going on? I like PP, we have balanced debates here.

    39. Fisking Central — on 6th May, 2006 at 8:42 am  

      When I was in Bradford recently, they seemed to have quite a multi-cultural police force (it wasn’t anywhere near representative, but there did seem to be a lot of Asian policeman). Were these people left out of the film (surely they would have made interesting charcters)? Were they not on duty on the night of the riots, or left out for operational reasons? Or did I just happen to bump into the very few Asian coppers there are, when actually the police force up in Yorkshire is 99% white? Anyone got the figures?

    40. Neil — on 6th May, 2006 at 8:58 am  

      What Jay Singh said earlier was right, its one thing to defend your own community from attack and completely another to go on a mindless rampage destroying your own town and fighting the police. Yes it was admirable that parents wanted their sons to hand themselves in, but they shouldn’t have been fighting the police in the first place, once the NF had departed the scene.

      Again I’m not too happy about the term Bradford Asians, becuase I got Sikh friends from Bradford and they had nothing to do with the riots.

      I think the weather had a lot to do with it because riots only tend to happen on those hot summer evenings (or at least if it isent raining!)

    41. Tilling — on 6th May, 2006 at 10:27 am  

      And you’re crying about white portrayal on TV.

      I’m not “crying” about anything. I am criticising a shit programme for its shitness, part of which was based in its pantomime-like portrayal of white people as moustache-twirling villains.

    42. Sunny — on 6th May, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

      Jay Singh:
      What did they think the police would do? Spank them on the hand and send them home with lollipops for being naughty?

      No but you expect leniency for turning yourself in and taking into account the NF aggravation.

      In a deprived area which already has high unemployment, what do you think the impact will be of some 18 year kid spending 5 years in prison for a bit of bravado? Who is going to employ you afterwards?

      I’m not in any way condoning the violence because by Bradford it was clear it was hijacked by kids who wanted a fight. Plus, I did not support the Paris riots either.

      But my point is firstly that the police wanted revenge and they took by exacting the maximum sentence possible.
      People have called me after this programme was shown saying that rapists and people committing GBH have frequently gotten less than 5 years. There is no sense of proportion here.

      And what about other riots? How many people were arrested in the recent riots in Ireland and what sentences did they get?

      in Southall the crowds didnt go and burn down Southall Broadway and ten other streets and set fire to businesses and petrol stations and car showrooms

      Agreed - and I’m not supporting any of that. but the way these kids have been demonised, its made out as if everyone did that. A lot of family members of people who’ve been on other Asian messageboards (barficulture.com) have said that kids just standing around, as young as 16, have been sent to jail for years.

      That’s not justice, it’s vindictiveness.

    43. El Cid — on 6th May, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

      I didn’t see it. Even so, I wouldn’t dismiss Tilling’s point out of hand. If every white person WAS portrayed in a negative fashion then it quite clearly stops being a serious examination of events on the ground. In many ways it is incompetence because it fails to communicate a point effectively to a wide audience. It’s not about simply balance but about accuracy. So in that respects, it can legitimately be called shit.
      On the other hand, I’m not going to be a hypocrite and criticise the rioters. As a veteran of several riots and punch ups with the NF in the 1980s… lets just say when it kicks off and you feel a righteous anger it can be very intoxicating.
      As for These were the harshest and most widespread sentences given for public disorder since the second World War. I think you need to back that up with some hard evidence about previous upheavals. You might be right but where’s the beef?

    44. Jay Singh — on 6th May, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

      Sunny

      So that is the judiciary and the judiciary of Bradford responded to the evidence and made their judgments - the police have nothing to do with it and turning this into a big sore so that people can feel opressed and grow that chip on their shoulder even further by comparing them to the sentences handed out in Northern Ireland or wherever is exactly the kind of joined up persecution complex that breeds chips on the shoulder. Judicial heavy handedness is not something that only afflicts the Asian rioters of Bradford. Deal with it judicially rather than make a massive long campaign of injustice and oppression.

    45. sidera — on 7th May, 2006 at 11:58 am  

      all im saying is that where all gone get chucked out of uk and get sent back to pakistan because all these white people are rasicedt in clouding bladir

    46. Guvnor — on 7th May, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

      The whole problem was the amount of ‘roumor’. Let me tell you straight there is no way any NF would dare go to Asian areas in Bradford to cause trouble. It would be suicidal, and there would have been news of a large distrubance had something like that been taking place. It only takes a few calls and half of Bradfords asians would have had these people kicked in.

      Secondly, the show was fiction. The riot shields the police were shown to be using in the city centre were not on show until the serious trouble in the night. They were not in FULL riot gear and the sheilds were the small ones, due to not wanting to provoke a riot.

      Most of the NF were intercepted and most of the talk in pubs during the afternoon was “where the fuck are the NF”, the person who got kicked in (which DID happen) was by members of the Bradford Ointment football hoooligans, who may have been BNP supporters. The police DID NOT turn a blind eye, they were called to the incident after it took place.

      I witnessed an Asian gang walk through a police blockade to they were hardly pushed to Abby Road. And there was not just one group to contain but many groups.

      The ANL held a banned demo, there was NO NF DEMO. Labour MP’s Terry Rooney and Marsha Singh were both present at that and spoke on stage, defying a ban on ALL marches and gatherings in the area for 3 months. This meant there was a very large angry group held in centenary sq. The news of the attack was the excuse needed. Had it just been left at attacking the pub that this happened at, I could have understood, but noooooooooooooooooo

      Many none Muslim businesses (mainly pubs) were burned down, none of which had any links with the far right. In fact the two pubs that did contain people who were supporting the far right, were barely touched compared to pubs and businesses on white abbey road and oak lane. The prog forgot to mention that not only was one pub burned down (the labour club) but some sick bastards left burning cars outside the exits to stop innocent people who had nothing to do with any riot, trapped inside.

      It was quick to be said that this was not ASIANS in the riot but mainly MUSLIMS, who had targetted ‘White’ and ‘Indian’ businesses, whilste managing to miss the HALAL MEAT BUTCHERS. Coincidence eh??

      There was other similar businesses that were missed too, that were well known Muslim businesses.

      This was not simply a riot, this was disgrace and i also recall a number of police horses were stabbed, something else they failed to mention in the film.

      The sentencing was fair given the scale of the riot.

    47. Guvnor — on 7th May, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

      >>Weren’t Hindu businesses also targetted and attacked during the riots, what exactly did they do to anger the rioters ???

      Were they really?

      I read up practically everything there was in the guardian and observer websites at that time and found no mention of this.

      Yes they were, I live there. The Upper Globe is Hindu owned and there were a few other places. As I mentioned i my last post, surprisingly, Places like the Halal Meat Butches were missed yet every other place were smashed up.

    48. Guvnor — on 7th May, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

      “in a deprived area which already has high unemployment, what do you think the impact will be of some 18 year kid spending 5 years in prison for a bit of bravado? Who is going to employ you afterwards?”

      I wish people would cut all this crap “deprived area” stuff. You should see some of the cars in Manningham! Fucking hell, if that is deprived Sunny, I am dread to think how deprived I must be, I should get myself to Rawanda, they obviously have a better standard of life than us Bradfordians.

      Get a grip, nobody is deprived, just wanting to play the victim. And ignore the bullshit about there only being jobs that pay £100 a week. There is plenty to go around, just people prefer to inject smack rather than get off their arses.

      There is no excuses. And the sooner people snap out of this “deprived” shit the better. And remember, up norf, the cost of living is much less than the south, so we get by.

    49. Ravi4 — on 7th May, 2006 at 10:11 pm  

      Sorry for joining this discussion so late. Frankly that Bradford Riots drama ended up leaving me disturbed and confused.

      My memory of the riots and attitude towards them was I think similar to Sunny’s. I remembered reading about the NF march which the council/police refused to ban. The riots themselves looked to me to have been provoked by the march but then got totally out of hand as criminals/ thugs took advantage. The Bradford Muslim community then rallied round admirably, eg dads getting their sons to hand themselves in. But the sentences were shocking particularly given the fact that many of the lads handed themselves in and were first offenders. I notice that guvnor says the NF never marched that day. Even so, the story about the march seriously pissed off a middle class middle of the road asian (ie me) living in a completely different part of the country – I can imagine the enraging effect it might have had on Muslims living in Bradford.

      So I was initially impressed with the drama (although I think I missed the first 20 minutes or so). Well acted, edited, music etc. But as it progressed, I had many of the reservations that Rohin, Tilling and Jay Singh outlined.

      Like Tilling and Rohin, I was particularly struck by the depiction of white characters as either deliberately or thoughtlessly antagonistic to the Muslims. Even at the time I remember white local govt officials from Bradford presenting a much more sympathetic approach to the muslim community. As Tilling says, the overall depiction of the white characters was pantomimic at best, downright racist at worst. I was watching the programme with my wife – a native of these Islands. Unlike Tilling our reaction was not laughter but depression at this lazy stereotyping. Only the reaction of the white mums telling the Muslim mum that they couldn’t let their kids go to her kids party – displaying a mixture of regret, confusion, fear and bigotry – rang true.

      The central character Karim being a promising uni undergraduate, getting plenty of strong positive references from teachers and uni tutors, yet still being sent down for five years also struck me as suspiciously exaggerated. As did the strand about his law abiding brother getting sucked into the violence and also getting banged up after a harrowing raid by armed police. If 191 people got put away out of the 1000 or so involved in the riots, how come just about all the young male characters in this drama end up in jail? Does anyone know of any individual who fitted Karim’s profile getting such a harsh punishment? Or any family so utterly destroyed as Karim’s?

      And I seem to remember many of the sentences being appealed? Didn’t that happen?

      Another point I’ve picked up from this thread. Refresh reports attending the ANL carnival/demo “There were many families present and there were quite a few people in cartoon costumes” and finding it “reasonably orderly. And generally enjoyable.” The drama makes no mention of this and does make a big thing of the cancellation of the Mehla festival. Was that true?

      There’s a clear statement at the end of the drama that the story is fictional and any similarity to actual characters is pure coincidence. But drama - particularly docu-drama like this - ought to have some core of dramatic truth to it. I think this is particularly true in times like ours when an exaggerated sense of victimhood and powerlessness can have very literally lethal and destructive effects – as we found out on a more recent 7/7. I’ve gotta say I ended up deeply suspicious about the veracity of this drama and depressed about its probably largely negative contribution to UK community relations.

      Because it seems to me the drama’s final message – with the arrest of Karim, his brother, the heavy sentences, the tearing apart of Karim’s family, and Karim’s final impotent rage in the prison cell he shares with a racist white yob – is entirely negative and wholly inaccurate. Something like “You muslims have no real choices. Either get back to Pakistan or whatever bit of bongo-bongo land you come from. Or be a good little Paki, keep your head down, and take whatever knocks the white folks give you. Or stand and fight. But whatever you do be in no doubt – the white man is out to get you and you can’t do nothing peaceful to stop it”.

      Can anyone spot a different message from the drama? And does anyone seriously believe this is a real reflection of the dilemmas facing Muslims – or any other Asian – in Britain today?

    50. Guvnor — on 8th May, 2006 at 12:49 am  

      ”I remembered reading about the NF march which the council/police refused to ban. The riots themselves looked to me to have been provoked by the march”

      if you had bothered to read what i wrote, you would now be in posession of the facts

      - THE MARCHES WERE BANNED, ALL MARCHES AND DEMO’S WERE BANNED IN THE CITY CENTRE

      - THERE WAS NO NF MARCH AT ALL, THE ONLY DEMO THAT TOOK PLACE WAS AN ILLEGAL ANTI NAZI LEAGUE DEMO.

      Some people have no clue about what ACTUALLY happened, and the drama has only suceeded in making people believe some big myths about the riots, I personally think the police should sue given how they were portrayed, given the title of the film, even if they said it was fiction.

      “Even so, the story about the march seriously pissed off a middle class middle of the road asian (ie me) living in a completely different part of the country – I can imagine the enraging effect it might have had on Muslims living in Bradford”

      I am not surprised people were seriously pissed off, I cannot blame Asian people (or any other middle of the road people who are not Asian) for being pissed off. But why attack innocent peoples busineses and try kill innocent people drinking in an old mens club??

      “The central character Karim being a promising uni undergraduate, getting plenty of strong positive references from teachers and uni tutors, yet still being sent down for five years also struck me as suspiciously exaggerated.

      If you saw the damage done (most businesses that were burned down are gone for good) attempted murder on those in the club, innocent passers by being attacked,the shame it brought on the city. Plus the fact this was by no means simply a “one off”. There were reasons why examples were made of people involved. If you knew more of the facts, you would probably understand, or if we simply took race out of the equasion.

      To answer the question about the ANL demo and the mela. Due to the nature of freedom of expression, the home sec david blunkett had to ban ALL large gatherings within a 3 mile radius for 3 month. The mela was due to be held in Peel Park, about 2 miles from the city centre, it was re-arranged not long after anyway. And the ANL demo was as ILLEGAL as it gets. However at least two LABOUR MPS Terry Rooney and Marsha Singh decided to defy that. Had this not have taken place most people would have noticed there was NO NF DEMO and gone home. But instead thousands of people were stuck in the centre of bradford.

      The drama chose to ignor this fact. Also the police were NOT in full riot gear in order not to provoke a riot, infact the sheilds they had at the time things kicked off were the small round ones, not the full on ones that were seen in the drama.

      I cannot spot any positive message from the drama and found it offensive personally. The problem is there will be Asian people who see it who actually believe this shit happened. The police were slagged off for risking the safety of the public by not taking hard action at the time of the riots. If i recall, the arrests made that night barely made it into two figures.

    51. DavidP — on 9th May, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      ‘Every single white person in it was either a heartless copper, a sneering NF supporter, a hideous racist or an incompetent/harsh member of the judiciary who just didn’t understand.’

      What about the blonde girl who snogged Karim at the start and later tried to phone him on his mobile?

    52. Guvnor — on 14th May, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

      was she portrayed as a nice person or just white trash? cant recall.

      maybe to please davidp the comment should have had the word “nearly” at the start of it.

    53. Laban — on 28th May, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

      “>>Weren’t Hindu businesses also targetted and attacked during the riots, what exactly did they do to anger the rioters ???

      Were they really?

      I read up practically everything there was in the guardian and observer websites at that time and found no mention of this”

      During the Lidget Green/Great Horton riots in April 2001 the chemists on Horton Grange Road, owned by a prominent member of the Hindu community, was torched. The owner, interviewed afterwards, was convinced he’d been deliberately targeted as a Hindu.

      “Rioters went on to set fire to the Second West pub and looted the pharmacy in Horton Grange Road before setting fire to that.” reported the Telegraph.

      The riots started after trouble at a Hindu/Native Brit wedding party. Which was then attacked by Muslims.

      http://archive.thisisbradford.co.uk/2001/4/26/141059.html

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