Posted on October 9, 2006

The Windsor Disturbances, October 8, 2006

Compared to the furore over Jack Straw’s remarks about the niqab, or blackout veil, relatively little has been written about the disturbances that have been going on in Windsor for several nights. They should not have been downplayed. They are important and highly alarming.

They have been referred to in passing as attacks by white youths on a Muslim-run dairy which provoked reprisal attacks by Muslim youths. Reading various stories about these incidents, including here, here, here and others that are not available on line, a rather different account takes shape. Clearly, these stories still leave a lot of things unknown, but as far as I can piece things together what happened was this.

Three years ago, Sardar Hussein opened the Medina Dairy on the site of an old Express dairy. This became a source of tension. Locals claimed that the business expanded so much that the noise made by the lorries serving the dairy was unbearable. The locals also claimed that dairy staff had intimidated people walking past the firm and barred entry to the road which runs between its two premises, a shortcut to the local primary school, a claim that the owner denied.

Tensions rose much further, however, when he applied for planning permission to build a mosque and Islamic complex on the site. Those opposing the conversion claim the 500 Muslims who live in Windsor, out of a population of more than 30,000, are not enough to warrant a mosque. The planning application was rejected by Windsor and Maidenhead council this year because the area was meant for industrial use. The owner appealed and a decision is expected shortly.

However, despite the refusal of planning permission it seems the dairy was being used for prayers, and locals say it has already attracted a hard-core element of fundamentalists. Staff at the dairy, on the other hand, say that before last week’s disturbances they have faced verbal abuse, their cars have been damaged and stones, bricks and bottles have been thrown at the buildings.

The incident that started the chain of events last week appears to have been when 15 year-old Sean Hayes and a friend were beaten up by worshippers outside the mosque. His mother, Karen Hayes and her 18 year-old daughter Emily went to confront the mob but were themselves set upon by a gang of 20 shaven-headed worshippers dressed in white robes and armed with baseball bats, iron bars and pitchforks.

That night, some 30 white youths smashed windows at the dairy, and during disturbances over the next few days a petrol bomb was thrown at it by a youth on a scooter. Meanwhile, according to local residents, gangs of youths took to the streets chanting: ‘We are getting our mosque.’ Some men have been arrested, but the police were reported as saying that it was unlikely that the mob would be brought to justice, even though knives and iron bars had been found and were connected to staff at the dairy. According to a senior police officer, communal distrust was being exploited by extreme elements within the Muslim community and by neo-fascists.

Meanwhile the Sun reported on Saturday that Muslims wrecked a house in a village near Windsor to stop four soldiers moving in after returning from duty in Afghanistan. The house had bricks thrown through its windows and was daubed with abusive messages. The four young Household Cavalry officers who had planned to rent it were also the target of phone threats from Muslims and were forced to look elsewhere to live.

Windsor offers a foretaste of an extremely alarming scenario. Muslims behave aggressively, either physically or by refusing to accept decisions that go against them. No-one does anything. Tensions rise, Islamic extremist reinforcements arrive and then the neo-fascists start mixing it to foment much greater violence and disorder. Muslims and non-Muslims come under attack. The media then decide that white racists are to blame and look nowhere else. The real cause of the problem is concealed, and the problem replicates itself elsewhere with exactly the same response.

The wider silence is the worst of it.

Muslim yobs who wrecked a house to stop four brave soldiers moving in after returning from Afghanistan sparked outrage last night.

The house in a village near riot-torn Windsor had BRICKS thrown through windows and was DAUBED with messages of hate.

Four young Household Cavalry officers who had planned to rent it were also the target of phone THREATS.

They were yesterday forced to look elsewhere to live — after top brass warned them against inflaming racial violence near the Queen’s Windsor Castle home.

Last night furious Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: “This is a shocking development.”

Colleagues of the officers branded the vandalism a “disgrace”. A source at the regiment said: “These guys have done nothing but bravely serve their country — yet they can’t even live where they want in their own country.” The £3,000-a-month detached home in picturesque Datchet, Berks, is less than a mile from Windsor Castle. It was attacked as extra police were drafted into Windsor — where battles have raged for days between Asian and white gangs.

On Wednesday a Muslim-run dairy was firebombed.

The young officers — from the same regiment as Prince Harry — had planned to use the four-bed house for rest and recuperation after months risking their lives on the frontline.

Louts struck two days after the four arrived in uniform in an Army Land Rover to view it.

The source said: “A gang of local Muslims set about keeping them away. They hurled bricks through the windows and then wrote offensive graffiti across the front of the house.” The vile messages included one in 4ft letters on the drive — warning: “F*** off”.

Sources inside Windsor’s Combermere Barracks — where the officers are based — confirmed Muslims had made calls threatening the men.

The scandal comes as Tony Blair today pledges the Army in Afghanistan can have ANYTHING it needs to hammer the Taliban. Writing exclusively in The Sun he declares that Our Boys are “the best in the world”.

A Household Cavalry insider said of the Muslims’ insult to Britain’s heroes: “Everyone in the regiment is really upset. It’s one thing coming under attack in Helmand in Afghanistan but quite another getting this abuse in England. The officers were determined to face down the yobs and still move in — but didn’t want a race riot on their hands.”

Police hunting the vandals confirmed: “One line of inquiry is that it is racially aggravated.”

The house’s owner Johanna Ledwidge refused to comment beyond saying she was very upset. A shocked neighbour in the quiet street said: “We pride ourselves in this neighbourhood that we welcome all cultures.”

Tory MP Philip Davies said of the attack: “This is outrageous.

“If there’s anybody who should f*** off it’s the Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs.”

Sir Andrew Green, director of the think-tank Migrationwatch UK, said: “Incidents like this are absolutely inexcusable and seriously undermine efforts by all sides to achieve integration. Those who choose to live in this country owe a loyalty to Britain.”

A spokesman for letting agency Kings, who are marketing the property, said: “It was an isolated case of vandalism. We do not know the reasons behind it.”