Spate of racist attacks alleged at UEA

JON WELCH A foreign government is being urged to stop sending students to the University of East Anglia after a spate of alleged racist attacks, it was claimed last night.

JON WELCH

A foreign government is being urged to stop sending students to the University of East Anglia after a spate of alleged racist attacks, it was claimed last night.

The university's Saudi society is writing to the country's education minister, claiming its members no longer feel safe and have lost faith in Norfolk police. Representatives of other foreign students are considering a similar move.

The claim was made by Kaleem Ullah, president of the UEA's Islamic Society, who witnessed a racially-aggravated assault near the Norwich campus last week involving up to 12 youths.


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Mr Ullah said he knew of 15 to 20 racial incidents, including assaults and harassment, involving UEA students of different nationalities in the past 10 months.

"The police are incompetent and don't seem to be interested in protecting the public."

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But police and university officials said that while they took such incidents seriously, only a fraction of that number had been reported to them.

Mr Ullah witnessed an assault on two of his Muslim friends at about 10.20pm on Friday as they walked home along a path from the Sportspark to Bluebell Road.

"They were quite badly attacked - it was an ambush. They were on the floor being kicked and hit. One escaped and ran towards my house and banged on the door," he said.

"He informed me he had been attacked and another person was still being attacked. I came out and saw him still being punched and kicked by six or seven teenagers."

Sgt Ian Fox, head of Norfolk police's central area domestic violence and hate-crime unit, said: "We're concerned there are reports of an increase in racist attacks at the UEA which are not reflected in reports made to police.

"Since the beginning of November we have had one racially aggravated assault at the UEA reported to us - the assault on Friday - which is under investigation by CID officers.

"Hate crime of any kind will not be tolerated and to this end our three specialist hate-crime units, along with minority ethnic liaison officers and safer neighbourhood teams, work closely with local communities to identify and engage with all minority groups and to encourage victims to report crimes."

A UEA spokesman said security was being stepped up following Friday's attack.

"We have every sympathy for the students involved and are working closely with the police who hope to identify and arrest the culprits," she said.

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