Ethnic minority 'ghettos' to be investigated

Ministers believe the kind of extremism that led to the London suicide bombings in July is fostered by the disillusionment felt in some communities within mainstream society.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), will reinforce their fears with a warning today that the country is "sleepwalking" into US-style racial segregation, with areas of major cities becoming "fully fledged ghettos". He will say: "We are becoming strangers to each other and leaving communities to be marooned."

The new Home Office commission, reflecting the CRE's alarm, will be charged with forging links with young people from Muslim and other non-Christian groups. As well as potentially tackling the roots of terrorism, it could also be asked to find ways of building bridges between ethnic minority groups living parallel lives. It will get off the ground as quickly as possible and tour throughout the country, with the aim of making contact with groups traditionally excluded from political debate.

The Commission on Integration and Cohesion, to be chaired by a minister, will be told to produce by next summer proposals for encouraging integration. It will consider how to produce "an increased sense of Britishness" and a "shared sense of cultural norms and behaviour" that incorporates people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.

In an implicit recognition that the Government has failed to tackle the poverty faced by some ethnic minority groups, the commission has also been asked to look at "how to push further to tackle inequalities which can trap people into segregated lives".

The Home Office ministers Paul Goggins and Hazel Blears have already held a series of meetings with Muslim leaders to explore the roots of alienation in some sections of the community. A final meeting, to be chaired by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, will be held in London today.

Announcing the creation of the commission, Mr Clarke said it would "actively engage young people and those who have traditionally had less opportunity to contribute to this type of debate".

Seven task forces set up in the wake of the London bombings to examine how to improve integration and tackle extremism are due to meet for the last time this week. They are due to submit final reports at the beginning of next month.

They are expected to propose that Islamic schools, or madrassas, should teach "citizenship" and to suggest that a "media unit" is set up to counter misleading stories in the press about Muslims and their faith.

Mr Phillips will also call for fresh action today to root out institutional racism in the public and private sectors. He will suggest that "white" schools should take more ethnic minority pupils and accuse some universities of operating "invisible 'no blacks may enter' messages".

He will tell Manchester Council for Community Relations: "The fact is we are a society which, almost without noticing it, is becoming more divided by race and religion. We are becoming more unequal by ethnicity." He will say the number of Pakistanis in "ghettos" has trebled in the past 10 years, citing Bradford and Leicester.

Religious spread

Christian 42.08m (71.6%)

Muslim 1.59m (2.7%)

Hindu 559,000 (1.0%)

Sikh 336,000 (0.6%)

Jewish 267,000 (0.5%)

Other 170,000 (0.3%)

No religion 9.1m (15.5%)

Not stated * 4.29m (7.3%)

Source: UK census, 2001. The question on religion was voluntary

Suggested Topics
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...

Teaching Assistant for KS1 & KS2 Huddersfield

£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...

Primary Teaching Supply

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories