It’s been a while since I have written a column for the Free Press; this has been for a number of reasons, including agreeing to become the Chairperson for a Racial/Social Justice and Human Rights Charity.
That said I am pleased I have still been able to participate in many of the debates that the Free Press facilitates via Facebook and Twitter, which allows us all to interact on issues that affect our daily lives.
However, I have to say I am deeply concerned by the level of anti-immigrant sentiment, and blame on these forums. It is incredible that people still hold such views in 2016, and this is despite the fact that we interact with each other every day, support one another in moments of need, and our children go to school and grow up together – yet it is claimed we don’t integrate.
I recently read a report that was presented by Council officers to Councillors on the levels of crime in Doncaster including hate crime. Not only was it poorly written, it just did not reflect the subject matter it was trying to articulate, therefore rendering the Councillors impotent. In that report it stated hate crime was coming down, whilst in the rest of South Yorkshire it was going up. On the face of it this may seem like a good news story, but I can assure you this is deeply worrying, particularly given communities do not feel confident in reporting hate crime. In the area that I live, local shopkeepers of particular ethnicities have been subject to crimes that involved knives, guns and hammers and as many of you know we recently had a conviction in Rotherham for the murder of a man for simply being Muslim and in the last few days a man had part of his hand hacked off too.
In the year 2000, within 8 months, I dealt with more than 100 cases of racism in Doncaster as evidenced in this Free Press article http://m.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/racial-harassment-revealed-in-report-1-512097 , yet today in 2016 it is alleged hate crime is coming down, contrary to all national trends.
I suppose this is what happens when an organisation fails to engage with the people it serves, and continues to superficially impose strategy and cuts, without an understanding of impact or evaluation; is there any wonder we have such poor voter turn outs?
Finally, I was delighted to read about the convictions in Rotherham last week. I sent out a number of tweets stating that it should serve notice to all paedophiles and gangs that they have no stake in our society. Let me also state that these evil people do not represent or reflect the hard working, law abiding decent Muslims or Pakistanis, we are appalled by these heinous crimes, in the same way as we are about Jimmy Saville, or crimes in the Catholic church or in the political establishment.