Inside Eye: The View From Within Savile Town

I have lived all my life (over 20 years now) in Dewsbury and more specifically in the Savile Town area of Dewsbury. The far right extremists English Defence League are to congregate in Dewsbury town centre this coming Saturday to demonstrate against what it alleges is the Islamification of the UK.

One of the reasons that they claim to have chosen Dewsbury to hold a demonstration (apart from the fact that Dewsbury is a multicultural hotbed) is because of what has happened in Dewsbury and in particular Savile Town.

Savile Town was home to July 7 bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan; it is home to the Islamic Tablighi Jamaat movement and is an area largely consisting of Muslims from South Asia.

They also point out a few other incidents that have taken place over the last few years. Buses driving through the area were stoned by gangs of Asian youths on two notable occasions.

Recently more serious incidents have taken place. A boy was attacked by a gang of Asian youths for his bike in neighbouring Thornhill. Then there was an incident when a group beat up a young teenage boy walking through Savile Town.

There was also an incident when 45 year-old Robert Dyson was attacked for no reason whatsoever by a pair of Asian hoodlums as he walked through the area. He required stitches to reattach a chunk of his ear; such was the severity of the attack.

These are all incidents referenced by the far-right EDL and it’s supporters as the reason for holding the demonstration in Dewsbury. They claim that parts of Dewsbury such as Savile Town are no-go areas for white people.

I disagree, sure there are problems but Savile Town isn’t a no-go area for anyone, people of all creeds have always and will continue to be welcome in Savile Town. The actions of a minority shouldn’t mean that a whole town should be tarred with the same brush. To use a cliché one bad apple doesn’t spoil an applecart.

The EDL say that the Tablighi Jammat is spreading an extremist message, this is not true as far as I my experiences go – the message has been one of positivity. Mosques are constantly looking to play a pro active part in the community to ensure extremism is stamped out. Nobody wants to rid extremism than local mosques, but while it is refutable that Savile Town is an area solely preserved for Muslims. The people of Savile Town need to wake up and smell the coffee.

This isn’t an Asian, Black or White problem. Sure some of the attacks are racially aggravated but Savile Town as a whole is falling prey to a few hooligans who happen to be of the Asian ethnicity.

At times I fear for my welfare when I am walking through the area and I am from the area and you guessed it I’m a Muslim of South Asian heritage. I can understand why people of a different ethnicity not from the area fear for their safety when walking through it.

Recently a new park was built at the old Cricket Ground. It’s great when you see it being used properly by families with young children, both white and of ethnic minority playing together in harmony. But then there are times when the park is occupied by undesirables.

Walking home in the evening after university especially in the winter, well it scares me frankly. I have had abuse hurled at me and I have had Asian yobs shove me as I’ve walked past. You can’t even look up at them as there is a threat of taking a beating for looking at them wrong.

The local community doesn’t seem to grasp the severity of the issue of these yobs. To a lot of people it’s just a case of lads being lads as they don’t tend to see all that these yobs get up to.

But enough is enough. Their behaviour not only deters people from coming to the area, but also drives people away from the area and more importantly gives ammunition to extremists such as the EDL. It’s only a minority but given the circumstances it’s important that this kind of behaviour is stamped out.

The town needs to start challenging these hooligans. Parents need to start looking more closely at the affairs of their offspring. Local businesses need to start moving on undesirable louts from their premises.

Now is the time for the people of Savile Town to show good faith and rid this once thriving area of these hooligans. The EDL visit has seen Unite Against Fascism mobilise with a counter-rally in the town. The people of Savile Town must now provide their own counter-rally to these hoodlums, so as not to provide far-right extremists with the ammunition to further degrade the name of the town.

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