News raises fears in a divided city: Jonathan Chapman looks at relations between Birmingham's Hindus and Muslims as India is rocked by riots
Thursday 10 December 1992
'That mosque was there for 400 years and the Hindus have just found out their god was born there,' said Yassar Zaman, a street vendor in Handsworth.
'We want a mosque rebuilt on that exact spot,' he added, thrusting his finger downwards. But he did not believe that setting fire to Hindu temples in Britain could solve anything.
Across the city in Sparkbrook, Mohammed Ishtiaq said that all Muslims felt so passionately about events in Ayodhya because their religion was under attack. 'We should protest about it, but in a peaceful manner,' he said. At the back of their grocery store, his brother Mohammed Ishaq explained that the land on which a mosque was built was holy and nothing else could be put there.
Both Muslims and Hindus in Birmingham agreed that the fanatics who attacked the mosque in Ayodhya were completely unrepresentative. However, one Hindu jeweller in Handsworth said he considered Islam to be a fanatical religion as it held no respect for the beliefs of others.
His main concern, and that of the wider Hindu business community, was the impact that events in India would have on their lives here. He feared it could only fuel right-wing hatred of immigrants.
Danny Chauhan expected his sari shop to begin to lose business. Some of his best customers were Muslim Bengalis, he said.
Concern about events in India was widespread in the community. Mr Chauhan said this was because religious traditions and values were passed down by each generation.
Another Hindu told how a Muslim boy at his nephew's school had stayed up all night with his family to watch the events unfolding in Ayodhya.
Hindus and Muslims spoke of how the brotherhood of Asians living in Britain had concealed differences between the communities. One Muslim, Rafi from Sutton Coldfield, said the pace of life in the West was so fast that there was no time for falling out.
Nash Yadav, from Rugby, a believer in Hinduism, compared the depth of feelings to those in Northern Ireland. 'It's just fanaticism. When you see a Hindu being killed by a Muslim, some see it as their duty to take revenge.'
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 4 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...