Review to probe violence between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester

Independent review will probe violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester: Professor in Hate Studies to probe mob mayhem on UK streets

  • Leicester, previously known for its diversity, has seen violence in recent months
  • Leicester police have arrested a total of 66 people over 150 violent incidents
  • The review will look at the cause of the clashes and publish findings in 2023 

An independent review is to take place into the cause of recent violent disorder between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester, headed by a professor specialising in hate studies.

Leicester has been shocked in recent months by large mobs and angry protests, some culminating in physical violence, as tensions between parts of the city’s Muslim and Hindu communities spilled over. 

The violence appeared to be triggered by a series of cricket matches between India and Pakistan, culminating in more than 60 Muslim and Hindu youths from Leicester being arrested on a slew of charges. 

There have also been multiple allegations of attacks on mosques and temples, leading to huge crowds gathering outside some of the city’s places of worship. 

Leicester police have arrested a total of 66 people in connection to the more than 150 incidents of violence that have broken out between the groups during and after matches in August and September.

Police arrested the suspects on suspicion of a range of public order offences, as well as assaulting an emergency officer, possession of a Taser, racially aggravated assault, making threats to kill, violent disorder, affray, conspiracy to incite violent disorder, and possession of cannabis. 

The review into the incidents is to be led by Dr Chris Allen, Associate Professor in Hate Studies at the University of Leicester, who will be supported by experts in social research from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.

The violence has been so severe it has also spilled over into other cities in England, including Birmingham. 

Large-scale disorder has broken out on the streets of Leicester on multiple occasions over the last few months

The fierce clashes have also seen similar incidents break out in other cities, such as this onein Birmingham

Leicester has seen dozens of masked men taking to the streets in the ongoing dispute between the two communities

Police officers have been forced to separate the large gatherings in Leicester on multiple occasions in order to stop large-scale disorder

Local residents have been left shocked and in fear after incidents of street brawls which have left some seriously injured

Dozens gather during a clash outside a Hindu temple in Birmingham last month

Dr Chris Allen specialises in Hate Studies and is based at the University of Leicester

Residents of Leicester, which is known for its diversity, have been left shocked by images and videos of the violence circulating on social media in the usually peaceful city. 

Most recently on Sunday police in Leicester upped their police presence in the city as the latest match between the two nations took place in Melbourne, Australia.

The city’s Hindu community also celebrated Diwali this week, a celebration which police were determined to ensure passed off without a hitch.

Diwali is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. It includes a festival of lights celebrating the triumphs of ‘light over darkness’ – or good over evil. 

Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby has commissioned the review and it is expected that the findings will be published early in 2023.

Sir Peter said: ‘Dr Allen and his colleagues have a wealth of experience in conducting research into hate crime, and also have a thorough knowledge of our city and the community cohesion we have enjoyed here for many decades.

‘There are many theories circulating as to what led to the recent disorder – the likes of which has never been seen here before. 

‘It’s important that we get to the facts as quickly and efficiently as possible so that we can all take whatever action is necessary to ensure we never see it again.’

Dr Allen said: ‘In leading the review, I will draw on more than two decades of research expertise to try and better understand what caused the disturbances and why they happened when they did. 

‘Far from trying to apportion blame, the learning gathered will instead provide a meaningful starting point, from which we can all work towards rebuilding the good relations that have been a defining feature of Leicester for the past few decades’.

Dr Allen and his team have been asked to produce an informed summary of what happened leading up to, and during the period of the disorder, and to establish any real or perceived contributory factors that lay behind it.

They will also provide an assessment of ongoing and future risks around community tensions and mitigations that could be put in place and recommendations for actions that could be taken by the council, other public bodies and the community.

The review aims to support the development of a national blueprint for other cities to help with community cohesion in the face of rapidly moving national and international social and political influence.

The review team will talk to a wide range of people as part of their evidence gathering, from local residents and business owners to councillors and school representatives.

The team are scheduled to conclude the review and publish recommendations in early 2023. 

Leicestershire police last week advised there would be a ‘significant police presence in East Leicester’ throughout the weekend and into this week as the Diwali holiday got underway.

‘I’d like to take this time to ask everyone to enjoy the Diwali celebrations – as they normally would,’ Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon said.

‘It’s a very special time for so many people in the communities of Leicester, and a very special time for the city and those celebrations should go ahead.

‘There will be a high-visibility police presence in the area throughout Monday to ensure this is the case. 

‘Anyone thinking of causing trouble – please, don’t. We will be there to stop disorder breaking out.

‘This is also the case on Sunday, following the cricket match. We recognise that there might be tensions around this result and will be on the streets, patrolling and offering reassurance to the community.’

Chief Constable Nixon added: ‘I’d like to take this opportunity to ask – again – to not share unverified and unchecked information on social media. 

‘Misinformation has proven very destructive throughout.’

During the last two weeks there have been at least five arrests in connection with the outbursts of violence seen on Leicester’s streets.

These included a 17-year-old from Leicester and four men aged 22 to 41.

The teen was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and was subsequently charged with the offence. Police say the charge relates to an incident on September 6.

A 26-year-old man, also from Leicester, was arrested for causing violent disorder on September 4 and has been released under investigation.

The other three arrestees, a 41-year-old and two men aged 22, were arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm following an incident on September 18.

The three suspects, all from Birmingham, have been released on police bail.

The new arrests come as police continue investigating the violent incidents, including reviewing more than 6,000 hours of body worn camera footage.

‘Meticulous efforts to investigate the disorder are progressing but not without challenges. The effort and care going in this work, as you would expect, is relentless,’ Chief Constable Nixon said.

‘The team of detectives working on the reports of crimes are doing so around the clock, with more charges expected.’

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