does it matter if
you're black or white?
By Sean O'Neill
15, was abducted in Glasgow in March 2004, stabbed
13 times, doused in petrol and set alight. Daanish
Zahid was found guilty of his abduction and murder
in November last year. Three other defendants,
who were returned to the UK from Pakistan, have
been charged and await trial.
It was alleged ( THEY DID
!! ) Stathclyde Police had shelved an operation
gang crime for fear of being perceived as
The sentences handed out for two recent murders suggests
an unexpected discrepancy
TWO identical acts of kindness that led two young men to
violent deaths have been recounted before the criminal courts
in the past fortnight.
Anthony Walker and Christopher Yates, concerned about
female friends late at night, walked with them to bus stops
in Liverpool and London respectively to make sure that the
women got home safely. Both were set upon, not far from
homes they shared with their mothers, by other young men
from their own neighbourhoods who had been drinking heavily
or taking drugs.
Liverpool, Mr Walker, 18, who was black, was attacked
by Paul Taylor and Michael Barton and killed with a
savage blow to the head with an ice axe. They were sentenced
to at least 24 years and 18 years, respectively.
In Barking, East London, Mr Yates, 30, a white man,
was knocked to the ground and kicked and stamped on
Sajid Zulfiqar, Imran Maqsood and Zahid Bashir .................
bone in his face was broken in a ferocious attack.
Afterwards, Zulfiqar boasted in Urdu: "We
killed the white boy. That will teach a white
man to stick his nose in Paki business."
But while a judge in Liverpool
decided that Mr Walkers murderers were racists
and therefore liable to more severe jail terms
an Old Bailey judge decided that Mr Yatess
murderers had not been motivated by racial hatred.
Zulfiqar, Bashir and Maqsood were sentenced to 15
years in prison, the minimum tariff for murder.
The similarities between the two
murder cases, and the differences in their outcomes,
has left the Yates family feeling that it has been
treated unequally. I understand what Mrs Walker
and her family are going through. We are going through
exactly the same thing, Rose Yates, Mr Yatess
mother, told The Times.
But it appears to me that we have experienced
a different measure of justice than they have experienced.
Every bone in his face - broken
Mrs Yates, a thoughtful woman who has taught children of
many races and creeds, pondered long and hard before making
this comment. Like Gee Walker, she sat through every day
of her sons killers trial. She heard how the
three men who killed her son had also screamed racial abuse
at a black man and carried out a violent assault on a second
black man. In the end, Mrs Yates concluded it seemed
that they had something against everyone who was not of
their own race.
| There is growing anecdotal
evidence of a more aggressive Asian youth culture which
manifests itself in racist attacks against whites and
blacks. The increasing aggression is the result of the
growing sense of victimisation and isolation felt by
many in the Asian community. Young people from Pakistani
and Bangladeshi communities feel victimised by police
after the July 7 attacks; some are also fired by the
rise of political Islam and anger over issues such as
Shifting demographics in East London are also fuelling
incidents. In Tower Hamlets and Newham, Asian communities
sense encroachment from the growth of the City and Canary
Wharf and the stirrings of gentrification since the successful
2012 Olympic bid.
There is resentment that unemployment levels remain high
and incomes low in the Bangladeshi community while new middle-class
immigrants push up house prices.
As a result, the tensions of the 1960s, when the poor white
communities felt threatened by the influx of West Indian
and Asian immigrants, are once more being raised, but this
time it is the Asians who feel their community is imperilled
by the white arrivals.
Elsewhere in the borough of Tower Hamlets, one police officer
said that he had seen a rise in antisocial behaviour incidents
which might be racially motivated.
He said: We are seeing a new phenomenon. Asian gangs
used to fight turf wars with one another. But there have
been attacks on young, white professionals buying new properties
here because they are seen as moving into a Bengali neighbourhood.
It was in this fraught and changing environment that Mr
Yates was murdered. A judge thinks his death was not the
result of a racist attack. His mother begs to disagree.
But because of the discomfort such cases cause, there are
few voices prepared to speak out in support of Mrs Yates.
The Commission for Racial Equality, asked about anti-white
racism, said that there was little, if any, research on
the issue. The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham,
where Mr Yates lived, said its community cohesion unit did
not want to comment.
People from minority communities are most likely to be
victims of racist crime.
Results from the 2002-03 British Crime Survey show that
less than 1 per cent of white people had experienced a crime
that they thought was racially motivated. This compares
with 2 per cent for the black community and 3 per cent among
But 1 per cent of whites amounts to a substantial number
of people and a growing problem.