Hub has just got back from another meeting with the MP, the police, the Bishop and several hundred very angry Pakistani businessmen. If the police don’t get it right tonight, this could turn extremely ugly, black on Asian. Hub was with a good friend, a black church leader from down the road, and was warmly received by the Muslims. He was glad to see that there was also a Sikh delegation – but almost no West Indian leaders.
At first they were unable to get into the meeting: there were several hundred outside who could not enter. Then he discovered that the sergeant on the door was asking for the opinions of those there, as to who should be allowed in. The leader of the Muslim Council for Britain was allowed in, so Hub and Bishop B (the black church leader) approached the sergeant and he asked the Muslims about them. Oh yes, they said, they should be in there. That’s how Hub and Bishop B got in.
Afterwards, some of the people said to the Chief Inspector, ‘your boss should have come’. ‘He would have,’ he said. ‘Except he was on the phone to Downing Street, warning them that this is the single most important issue his government has, and if they don’t get this right, then they need to be aware that the consequences would affect the whole country.’
Cameras everywhere, it’s all over the news, TV and radio, as you know. When Al-Jazeera turned up, the people said ‘let them in! We don’t trust the BBC!’
I suggested to Hub that we put up posters – we have a huge church building with noticeboards on the road. So we created one that reads ‘Whatever your faith, please pray for peace’, and put them up. He took one to the Muslim tailor across the road, who was in tears this morning over the death of the young lads last night – he knows the family. The tailor said he would put it up in his window, so we now have twin posters, the church on one side of the road, and the Muslim tailor’s shop opposite. A small gesture, but worth making.
This could conflagrate into racial riots, and if it does, I fear what would happen next. Community leaders are beavering away, but will it be enough?
Rather than writing lots of new posts, I will update this one every so often.