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Whites in 'minority' in some cities

The inflow of families from Pakistan and Bangladesh is poised to affect Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford and Oldham, says Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 18:26 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

The continued inflow of families from the Indian sub-continent, particularly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, is poised to reduce white community into a minority in cities like Leicester, Birmingham, and Bradford and Oldham in north England.

It was earlier predicted that this would take about a decade but the rate of birth in some Asian communities could make Leicester the first city to have ethnic majority by 2011 and others crossing the threshold by 2016.

There are now seven boroughs in London in which whites are in a minority, up from three in 2001. Brent in north-west London has the highest proportion of non-whites, 69 per cent.

The race relations watchdog has warned that such a demographic change poses a critical challenge to social stability. Tough decisions will have to be made said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) as these cities become "plural cities" where no one race holds clear demographic majority.

There have already been calls for Sharia law in Muslim majority areas.

The warning is based on the government statistics that shows that white and ethnic minority communities are becoming increasingly segregated by growing population and immigration. Segregation was the main reason for the worst race riots in Oldham and Bradford a couple of years ago as it bred mistrust and fracture.

Some Muslim leaders have warned that that the indigenous white people would resent the fact of being pushed into minority. But, Nigel Harris, emeritus professor at University College of London was quoted saying that until now there was a wonderfully diverse society and to turn it into an issue about black and white "seems bizarre".

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 18:26 IST