Ukrainian refugees displaced from their war-torn homeland have said that they feel scared in England as there are “too many Muslims” in multicultural cities like Birmingham.
An exposé report released this week from the British state-owned Channel 4 broadcaster on the status of the integration of Ukrainian refugees in the UK revealed that some of those forced to flee their country as a result of the war with Russia were shocked and even frightened by the ethnic makeup of the parts of England they found themselves living in, namely the paucity of native English people.
“Just over a hundred thousand Ukrainians have sought refuge in the UK – the vast majority of them women and children. But not all of them have found it easy to settle into a country where the ethnic diversity and cultural values are very different from what they’ve been used to back home,” the broadcaster reported.
“Too many Muslims, too many people with different skin colours.”
Andrea, a host for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, tells @darshnasoni how “shocked” she was at how difficult a Ukrainian refugee found adjusting to ethnic diversity and cultural values in the UK. pic.twitter.com/SMRhMKmU9g
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 26, 2023
Speaking to Channel 4’s communities editor Darshna Soni, a Birmingham woman who opened her house to a refugee under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, said that the refugee mother told her that she wanted to leave the area as it was dangerous because there were “too many Muslims and too many people with different skin colours”.
The Ukrainian mother also was fearful of sending her son to the local school in which the “majority of children happened to be black and Asian” and because there were “not enough white kids”.
“We hadn’t necessarily taken into consideration the cultural differences,” the Birmingham homeowner said.
“The majority of my neighbours are Muslims. A lot of them are Kashmiris or Pakistanis, Indians and they’re wonderful people and you just felt, if you just would sort of give them the time perhaps we’d come to the same conclusion,” the woman added.
The public broadcaster then interviewed Oksana, a refugee who said that she had come from the “best part of Kyiv (Kiev) to the worst area of Birmingham,” and that she was concerned over potential Islamic terrorism.
Channel 4’s Darshna Soni told the refugee that “lots of people here would feel very offended” because she was implying that Birmingham was not safe because it was racially “mixed”.
Oksana bluntly replied that her view was not from a position of ignorance, and that she had in fact “read police statistics”, had read news reports in English, and had heard “so many dangerous stories” from locals about Islamic terrorism and violence.
“I saw statistics”
A Ukrainian refugee in Birmingham, England tells Channel 4 news why the country’s large Muslim population make her fearful. She is told her fear is offensive. pic.twitter.com/a809C4fuH5
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 26, 2023
Over the past half-century, but particularly in the past 25 years, England as a whole and specifically urban hubs such as Birmingham, the nation’s second-largest city, have seen radical changes to the demographic makeup of the population. Much of this followed former Labour Party Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to open up the country to mass migration,a policy which was said by a former Blair advisor to be intended to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”.
Despite that, the policy of basically totally open borders has been continued by successive Conservative governments, notwithstanding repeated promises — lies, as it transpired — to cut immigration.
According to the once-in-a-decade Census conducted in 2021, Birmingham joined the likes of London, Manchester, Leicester, and Luton in becoming a minority-majority city, with ethnic minorities making up 51.4 per cent of its population. The white population in the city, meanwhile, fell from 78.5 per cent in 1991 — the last census conducted before Blair — to just 48.6 per cent in 2021.
The city has also become steadily more Muslim, with the latest census finding that 29.9 per cent of Birmingham residents described themselves as Muslim, compared to 21.8 per cent in 2011. In September, the city saw an outbreak of sectarian violence on its streets between groups of Muslims and Hindus following similar clashes in the multicultural city of Leicester.
The Ukrainian refugees are not alone in feeling unsafe in Birmingham, with a poll in 2018 ranking the city as the most dangerous in the UK, with 42 per cent of residents expressing fear of walking its streets, even during the day time.
That same year, a local man told The Guardian newspaper: “Stabbings happen unfortunately all the time”, adding: “Nowadays Birmingham is dangerous, especially the city centre.”
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka