Race relations on knife edge after three Asian men killed in hit-and-run

 

Police in Birmingham were struggling to contain swelling anger within the Asian community after a hit-and-run by suspected rioters killed three young men, two of them brothers.

Despite appeals for calm from senior officers, young Asian men vowed to defend their streets once more following an attack which has plunged a community into mourning – and awoken fury about what they believe to be a lack of police officers on their streets at a time of widespread unrest.

But Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the dead men, called for an end to the violence: "Today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stand united. This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of society. I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites - we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home - please."







Witnesses in the Winson Green area of Birmingham described the moment when Haroon Jahan, 21, and two brothers, Abdul Musavir, 31, and Shahzad Ali, 30, were struck by a car travelling at high speed in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The men were part of a group of around 80 locals patrolling Dudley Road throughout Tuesday night in a peaceful show of force against rioters who were bringing renewed destruction to the streets of Britain's second-largest city.

Tariq Jahan was standing yards away from where his son was struck down and desperately tried to resuscitate him as the car sped off.

Community leaders have tried to calm tensions in the area, but youths openly threatened inter-ethnic violence if police failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. "If the police don't do something soon it's going to kick off," said one young Muslim man.

The ethnicity of the car's occupants has not been disclosed but locals believe they were black. In Birmingham, where there have been violent outbursts between black and Asian youths, the perception that the perpetrators are black is potentially explosive.

Six years ago the racially mixed inner city suburb of Lozells exploded in two days of running battles between blacks and Asians. The spark that lit the fuse was a false rumour, broadcast on pirate radio stations, that a black woman had been raped by an Asian man.

At a public meeting a couple of hundred metres away from where the three men were mown down, the local MP Shabana Mahmood called on people to exercise restraint and allow the police to carry out their investigation. But Mohammed Nawaz, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said locals needed police to deliver results as quickly as possible: "We want to see justice done."

Police last night announced that 60 detectives were working around the clock on the collision, which they are treating as a triple murder investigation. One 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. But last night police also confirmed that they are seeking other perpetrators.

Detective Superintendent Richard Baker, who is working on the case, said there were a dozen people in custody who police believe to be involved in the offence.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

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
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living