The Dewsbury riot of 1989 was a minor clash between activists of the
British National Partyand local Muslim youths. Although not significant in terms of casualties, it has been viewed as the beginning of the BNP's status as a significant force in British politics. [Alan Sykes, "The Radical Right in Britain (British History in Perspective)", Palgrave Macmillan, 2004 p. 131] Riot gear was used by the police in controlling the events.
Dewsburyis a mill townin Yorkshire, England. It received large numbers of immigrants from Pakistanand the Gujuratarea of Indiain the post-war period. Most of the immigrants adhered to a strict Deobandivariant of Islam. In 1982, the Markazi mosque, was built in the Savile Townarea. [ [http://www.zmo.de/muslime_in_europa/ergebnisse/reetz/index.html Muslime in Europa ] ] This remains the largest mosquein Britain as of March 2008. The number of Muslims in Dewsbury grew steadily as it gained a reputation as the centre of strict Islam in Britain.
Some white parents in the town had withdrawn their children from schools in Savile Town due to opposition to the number of Muslim children in the schools. The BNP organised a "Rights for Whites" demonstration in support of the parents. This attracted an unusually high number for a far-right rally in Britain, and was the first time that the BNP were given widespread coverage in the British media. [Alan Sykes, "The Radical Right in Britain (British History in Perspective)", Palgrave Macmillan, 2004 p.131] Hitherto, the National Front had been the main far-right group whilst the BNP were little known.
The riot occurred when the BNP supporters tried to move into Savile Town, where they clashed with Asian youths. The Scarborough pub in the area was burned down during the rioting.
Dewsbury is still routinely identified in the media as one of the most racially divided towns in Britain. [ [http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/12158/We-must-pay-heed-to.3645462.jp We must pay heed to angry young men, says senior Tory - Yorkshire Post ] ] Its Asian population was estimated at 33% in November 2006. [ [http://mondediplo.com/2006/11/02ukmuslims Britain’s multiculturalism falters, by Wendy Kristianasen ] ] (This may be lower due to immigration of
Hungariansand Kurdsinto the town.)
In March 2007, the local NHS estimated Savile Town at "97-100% Muslim". [http://www.kirklees-pct.nhs.uk/fileadmin/documents/meetings/march_07/KPCT-07-42%20Report%20estate%20strategy.doc paragraph 4.3 ]
There have been two further minor riots in Dewsbury: one between Kurds and Pakistanis in 2007, and one between Hungarians and Pakistanis in February 2008. [ [http://www.thepressnewspaper.co.uk/NewsDetails.asp?id=1169 The Press Newspaper - The Intelligent Weekly ] ]
* http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3537594.ece * http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/12158/Parts-of-region-39left-polarised.3645215.jp
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