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"No go" areas in Tower Hamlets? "No way" say Libdems

January 14, 2008 8:58 PM
Brick Lane

Brick Lane

Cllr Stephanie Eaton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group in multi-ethnic Tower Hamlets today called for all community leaders to ensure that there are no 'no-go areas' for non-Muslim people. She called for a reasoned and calm debate on issues of multi-culturalism in the Borough.

Recently the Bishop of Rochester The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali suggested in The Sunday Telegraph that non-Muslims were unable to enter certain areas in England. In the discussion that followed the Bishop's comments, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn specified Mile End Road and Whitechapel Road in Tower Hamlets as being non-Muslim 'no-go areas'. Cllr Eaton pointed out that these areas contain many pubs and restaurants serving alcohol which suggests that they are being frequented by non-Muslims.

Cllr Eaton said: "I am constantly speaking with local residents and people who come to the Borough to work. I shop, relax, go dancing, hold meetings and work in the Borough. I don't recognise the description of the Borough as having 'no-go' areas. However, I am aware of a perception and a fear that some areas are becoming less welcoming to some members of the community.

The East End has always had a high level of immigration and this has contributed to the vibrant, interesting, constantly changing social mix that makes our one community. However, in any community there are always going to be tensions and we condemn the horrific violent and racist attacks that have occurred in the borough. It is important for local leaders to stress the need for understanding between groups that have a different perspective or way of living. Liberal Democrats are leading the way in demanding fairness and tolerance in Tower Hamlets "

Libdem Councillor Tim O'Flaherty who represents the ward in which Brick Lane (pictured) is situated added: "In the past I was contacted about incidents where some of our openly gay residents felt intimidated and were threatened by groups of young Asian men. However, I am pleased to say I have had no reports of this recently and I would expect the police to act quickly to ensure that all hate crimes are investigated and taken seriously."

Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets are committed to ensuring that the Borough is welcoming to new immigrants and just as importantly recognises the heritage and the needs of the white population that has lived in the area for generations. We do not deny that there are tensions in our community. But there cannot be 'no go areas' in Tower Hamlets and we are working hard to ensure the Borough is a safe and comfortable place for all our community.