Leicester trouble shows 'foreign-inspired sectarianism' is now on Britain's streets, Nigel Farage told
GB News' Nigel Farage was told that "foreign-inspired sectarianism and ultra-religious identity politics is now on Britain’s streets" after violent scenes in Leicester
Leicester was the scene of 47 arrests over the weekend after tense stand-offs on the city's streets.
Some of those detained after trouble in the city’s east were from Birmingham, according to Leicestershire Police, which also said 25 of its officers and a police dog were injured.
Residents in Leicester, famed for its diversity, have been shocked by images of groups of men, mainly masked or hooded and involving members of the Hindu and Muslim communities, in tense confrontations and stand-offs on the city’s streets.
And, investigating the events on GB News, Nigel was joined by Dr Rakib Ehsan – a writer specialising in race relations.
Nigel asked: "Would it be right to describe these scenes, night after night in Leicester, as race riots?"
To this, Dr Ehsan replied: "Well one thing I will say, Nigel, is that this is sectarian violence.
"The reality is that foreign-inspired sectarianism and ultra-religious identity politics is now on Britain’s streets, in a regional city.
"What’s even worse is that we have out-of-town troublemakers travelling from cities such as London and Birmingham, adding further heat to those community tensions in Leicester."
On the issue of immigration, he added: "The reality of the matter is we do have newly-arrived migrants with radical, ideological beliefs."
Across the community there have been repeated calls for restraint following the weekend, most recently from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which said “hatred of any kind has no place in our society”.
The collective leadership of many of the main Hindu and Jain temples have also appealed to all “for calm in the city”.
Leicester’s troubles have also taken on an international dimension.
The High Commission of India and, on Tuesday, the Pakistan High Commission have both issued statements, condemning violence against the Hindu and Muslim communities, respectively.
On Monday, the MCB also hit out at what it called “the targeting of Muslim communities in Leicester by far-right Hindutva groups”, “mob-attacks on Muslims” and vandalism of homes and businesses “in recent months”.
But the city’s Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO), while urging calm, also called for care in the language used and the dangers in ascribing the trouble to one group or another.
The FMO strongly cautioned against using terms “like Hindutva”, which was “strictly related to this fascist extreme minority” because “such terms can demonise an entire community unfairly”.
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, called the recent troubles a “dark episode” in a city where he and residents “rightly pride ourselves on celebrating our diversity”.
He said: “Attempts to sow division including by those with extremist views will fail and are totally condemned across Leicester.
“We utterly condemn violent incidents on our streets; marches with provocative slogans inciting hate; attacks on places on worship, symbols or religion.
“It has always been the case – re-confirmed from my conversations across communities – that the vast majority of Leicester’s Hindu and Muslim communities are law abiding and continue to enjoy long-standing good relations.
“These strengths will help us through this dark episode.”