Wednesday, November 30, 2022
HomeUnited Kingdomthe city of Leicester plagued by violence between Muslim and Hindu communities

the city of Leicester plagued by violence between Muslim and Hindu communities

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In Great Britain, the authorities are concerned about the situation in Leicester. For weeks, this large city in the English midlands has been rocked by clashes between Hindu and Muslim communities.

From our correspondent in London,

Authorities are careful not to label the latest clashes as riots, let alone race riots. And prefers the term “disorders”, “social unrest”.

Groups of men in their thirties, all in black, masked, take to the street to face each other. Between them, dozens of police officers, yellow vests on their backs, try to prevent them from confronting each other directly. These two groups come from the Hindu and Muslim communities in the city respectively. Other images show the removal of a Hindu flag from a temple or crowds, loud music outside a mosque at prayer time.

Rivalry and incitement to hatred

About fifty people were arrested, a young man of 20 was even imprisoned for 10 months for possession of weapons. Twenty-five law enforcement officers were injured. In the city, the restaurants are deserted, the rest of the inhabitants explain to local journalists that they are afraid to go out, especially since these tensions are kept on even during the day.

The starting point of these riots can be explained by a geopolitical context: the rise of Hindu ultranationalism in India for several years, and by extension tensions with the Muslim community of the subcontinent. In Leicester, the first clashes took place on 28 August following a cricket match between Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, won by India. The fight escalated the rivalry between the two communities.

Several weeks of increasing tension

The tensions go back at least to May and to the rumor of Hindu aggression by a Muslim and to the non-advancement of the police investigation. The fight would have been the trigger, and since then many infox have continued to circulate on social networks, fueling the fire and fueling tensions: rumors of the kidnapping of a Muslim woman, the search of a mosque, distribution of fake videos…

Leicester, however, is a city of just under 350,000 that is widely regarded as an example of community integration and cohesion. Since the 1940s, it has welcomed diasporas from all over the world (Poland, Kenya, Ireland, Uganda and the Indian subcontinent, etc.). The authorities are concerned about the risk of spreading to other English and British cities.

Religious leaders and community leaders have come together to make a joint statement and call for calm as soon as possible. They promise to start an interfaith dialogue to ease the old underlying tensions.

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