Backlash feared as attacks by racists rise: Intolerance and tension are growing in parts of Newcastle. Reports by Jason Bennetto

A DISINTEGRATION in race relations in Newcastle upon Tyne has led to a sharp rise in racist attacks in the city.

Community leaders fear that some areas of the city have become virtual no-go areas for Asian, Chinese and black people and that a backlash will result unless action is taken to ease growing tension.

Inquiries by the Independent have uncovered evidence of increasing racism including:

Police reports of race attack have doubled in the past year.

A growing number of racist incidents at schools, including a recent case in which an Asian boy reportedly had petrol poured on his head and was threatened.

Boys and girls as young as five routinely vandalise homes. Members of one Asian family had their windows smashed 14 times, showering glass on to their sleeping children.

White racists have driven Asians out of once-thriving streets, which are now boarded up and abandoned. Homes once worth pounds 60,000 cannot be sold for pounds 5,000.

Women and children are regularly spat on and abused in streets during the day. Many are now too frightened to leave their homes.

Increasingly violent attacks against black people including several fire bombings of community centres and places of worship.

This depressing picture is found in a part of Britain not usually associated with tension between black and white people. The growth of the far-right British National Party in east London is more well known, as is the deprivation and unrest in Liverpool and Manchester. But leaders of the relatively small ethnic minority groups in the North-east point to the growing culture of racism and hatred developing in parts of Newcastle and surrounding areas.

There are only about 11,000 people from ethnic minorities in Newcastle - just over 4 per cent of the population. The largest group is Asian, with small numbers of Chinese and Afro-Caribbeans. Most of the attacks are taking place in the West End of the city where the Asian population is concentrated. It is a traditional working class area which is closely linked to the former ship-building industry.

Next month, Newcastle City Council will start monitoring attacks and harassment to discover the scale of the problem. Action for Racial Justice, a new group, has set up a 24-hour helpline for people to report racial violence and intimidation. It is receiving about 16 cases a week.

Abdul Malik, its chairman, said: 'Racial harassment is an everyday event for black people in Newcastle. It is undoubtedly becoming more violent and I think we will see black gangs against white ones in the future as the young people become increasingly angry and frustrated.'

He added that much of the black community remained suspicious of the police and local authority which they believed to contain racist elements.

The police had 15 reported cases of racial attacks in January, 16 in February and more than 20 in March - double the rate of last year.

A police spokesman said: 'This is still a relatively low number of incidents, but we take the issue extremely seriously.'

A spokesman for the Shahjalal Mosque and Islamic Centre in Newcastle, said: 'We feel very angry because everybody has the right to live in peace and harmony. We are not a burden on the state, we are paying our way and we have rights as well. The problem is getting worse and is waiting to be ignited.'

'It has reached boiling point and we feel cornered. There's a danger of people retaliating. Matters are getting very serious.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power