A part of Yorkshire in England that has almost no white residents

Published on 2nd January 2020 by BrickTop

Filed under Councils, News

Last modified 19th October 2020

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Figures in burkas peered out of their lace-curtained windows in surprise at seeing an uncovered woman’s face.

Lorraine Matthews lives in Savile Town and is outspoken in her comments about the community in which she now lives: ‘I wouldn’t go out at night on my own as it is dangerous if you’re not from the Muslim community. It isn’t sensible for a woman to walk there after dark. The Asian lads gather on the corners, they make you feel intimidated because they don’t respect white women.’

When I myself walked down South Street towards the mosque, figures in burkas peered out of their lace-curtained windows in surprise at seeing an uncovered woman’s face.

I asked one tall teenager, wearing an Islamic cap and white robes over his jeans, for directions to the mosque entrance. His response was to spit at me and shout: ‘Go away, you shouldn’t be here. Don’t come back.’

It is depressing to be confronted with such aggression. And I’ve no doubt many Muslims, too, will feel distressed at such behaviour. Not all British followers of Islam wish to live in areas where people of other faiths or cultures might fear to tread.

Yet in places such as Savile Town, the omens are not good.

For however unpalatable it may be to British liberals, the fact is that many Muslims here only want to live with those from their own culture.

Indeed, some of the few remaining non-Muslim residents say they are regularly targeted by members of the local Islamic community who want to buy their houses.

Some have even received a knock on the door from complete strangers in religious robes offering wads of cash in plastic bags to purchase their homes.

Yorkshire-born Jean Wood, 76, a church-goer, is one long-time resident who feels that she is being edged out. Her children beg her to move to an area where she can share her retirement with the kind of people she grew up with.

At her neat home on the edge of Savile Town, she told me the tale of what happened a day after her husband died suddenly while sitting at the kitchen table.

‘He had not gone 24 hours when a Muslim neighbour pushed a note through the door saying she wanted to buy this house,’ she remembers. ‘We had lived here all our married life. I was grieving, although the note did not mention my loss.

‘But I gathered my strength. I phoned the number on the piece of paper and said my home was not for sale and never would be in my lifetime.’

Savile Town, one of the most racially homogeneous parts of Britain: not because everyone is an indigenous Yorkshire man or woman, but exactly the opposite.

Local mosques run by the Deobandis, a powerful sect of Islam whose most outspoken preachers have urged followers not to mix with Christians, Jews or Hindus.

There are almost no white residents to be found in Savile Town. Astonishingly, a detailed breakdown of the last census back in 2011 recorded that only 48 of the 4,033 people living here were white British.

Eight of the nine pubs in the area have shut because there are hardly any local customers who drink alcohol. The hair salon, once giving stern perms to Yorkshire ladies, closed down long ago, the Western grocery and clothes shops, too.

Savile Town was left to become an ethnic enclave. And it seems that this detachment from mainstream society had disturbing repercussions. For this small area has produced several young jihadists who disappeared to fight — and die as suicide bombers — for Islamic State in the Middle East.

(Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the bombers who attacked London on July 7, 2005, was brought up nearby. He bade farewell to his pregnant wife at their terrace house before leading his fellow attackers to the capital to claim 52 innocent lives in explosions on Tube trains and buses.)