I am watching racial and religious divide splitting East End

Dear Ed, I HAVE watched the racial and religious division in Tower Hamlets and am appalled after being active for 35 years witnessing what we have come to. I hope this is a wake up’ call

Dear Ed,

I HAVE watched the debate on the racial and religious division in Tower Hamlets. I am appalled after being politically active in the East End for 35 years now witnessing what we have come to. I hope this is a 'wake up' call.

I was involved in setting up the first housing co-ops in the East End back in the 1970s after a joint campaign of squatters and the homeless from all ethnic backgrounds, which morphed into resistance to the National Front.

The demonstrations against the NF presence at the top of Brick Lane every Sunday was a joint effort of all ethnic groups.

That's something which would be impossible today, so great is the racial and religious divide.

My years working with the Bangladeshi community as a founder of the Bengali Housing Action Group have given me an insight into how it all went wrong.

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It started with political opportunists in the community who demanded and got 'mother tongue' teaching. English, for example, was now taught in Bengali to youngsters born here!

The liberals at the Town Hall who ran the system and handed out the money were too frightened of being called 'racist' to resist the self-appointed community leaders who, with the arrival of Ken Livingstone and the Loony Left, became political power brokers who could decide policy because of their ability to turn out their supporters to shout 'racist' at anyone who stood in their way.

The mess we are in today started for these beginnings.

Without the rise of 'political' Islam and the opportunists of Respect, it would never have got as bad as it is now.

We have a council which is effectively run by Islamic Forum Europe. The photo of the Council Leader and Mayor leaving a meeting with the Immam of Mecca says it all (East London Advertiser, October 30, 2008). This is like me inviting the Pope over for tea!

The sense of 'victimhood' and oppression is reinforced at every turn with young Bangladeshis being told that their unemployment, overcrowding and lack of opportunities are the fault of white society, which is one reason for the rise in racists attacks on white people.

Finally, enter Respect, a political coalition of a Scots carpet bagger, a bunch of ultra-Left admirers of the mass murderer Leon Trotsky and the real powers behind the throne, the village power brokers from Syhlet.

We had the situation of a supposedly ultra-Left group ditching its defence of gay and women's right to ally themselves with some of the most reactionary political forces in the world today, to achieve a 'revolution' of the kind that Eastern Europe decided it didn't want.

Terry Fitzpatrick

Victoria Park Road, South Hackney