‘Go away, you shouldn’t be here. Don’t come back’: The corner of Yorkshire that has almost no white residents

We are in 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.

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

Soon the new arrivals had built the mosque which is designed to accommodate 4,000 worshippers. Today, a Sharia court nearby — criticised in a House of Lords report for discriminating against women in divorce and matrimonial disputes — does brisk business espousing the strict Islamic justice code.

Even the lady selling ice creams from a van during the summer wears a burka, and the mobile butcher going round the streets offers only halal goat, lamb and ostrich.

Stand in Savile Town, as I have, and you will see scores of boys in Islamic robes walking to and from lessons at the mosque’s madrasah school, where for hours at a time they rote-learn the Koran by heart.

And, distressingly, every girl I saw — even those of six and seven playing in the park — was wrapped up in a hijab and shoulder-to-toe-gown lest a man glimpse her flesh.

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.

Needless to say, with nowhere to socialise or shop for what they like, the local white folk departed, first in a trickle, then a torrent.

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.)

You might dismiss such desperately backward thinking as being the preserve of a small outlandish sect, but the Deobandis run nearly half the 1,600 registered UK mosques, and train 80 per cent of all domestic Islamic clerics who, in turn, play a huge part in influencing the growing population of British Muslims.

Perhaps it’s little surprise that the few indigenous Yorkshire people remaining in Savile Town feel somewhat beleaguered.

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.

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