Gateshead is a suburb just across the River Tyne from Newcastle in northeastern England. Our regular reader and commenter Heroyalwhyness compiled a report on recent enrichment active in Gateshead aimed at the Jewish community.
Below are three articles. The first triggered a search for background information about the UK community, Gateshead, in which this attack took place:
Gateshead is home to the Gateshead Yeshiva, one of the most important yeshivas in Europe, as well as other Jewish educational institutions with international enrolments. These include Sunderland Yeshiva (formerly of Sunderland), Be’er Hatorah, and Tiferes Yaacov (a feeder Yeshiva for Shiur Daled — the higher education of Tiferes Yaacov); in addition there are two large female-only seminaries.
And the report from The Sunday Sun:
Boy, 11, led gang in racist attack
A SCHOOLBOY aged just 11 beat-up a Jewish man because of his religion.
The school-aged attacker launched himself at the victim — in his late 20s — landing a punch on him outside the synagogue, on Bewick Road, Gateshead.
After spearheading the onslaught, the 11-year-old stepped to the side as a gang of older attackers “piled-on” the isolated man, leaving him bloodied.
The child-attacker is now at the start of a four month supervision order made by magistrates at Blaydon youth court, after pleading guilty to racially-aggravated assault by beating at an earlier hearing.
His young age means he cannot be named.
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The court heard that the youngster had been involved in drugs and alcohol.
After reading reports, chairman Doug Howell said: “It says here you haven’t used cannabis for a while.
“At your age, I can’t understand how you can get your hands on alcohol or drugs at all. Don’t do it.”
The court heard that the attacker, from the central area of Gateshead, was stood outside the Gateshead Hebrew Congregation, at the junction of Bewick Road and Rydal Street in Bensham, Gateshead, with a group of older males.
The youth squared up to a Jewish man after older lads urged him on in March this year.
Below is an earlier report (by an “anti-fascist” source) from January 16, 2009:
Arrests made after racist abuse in Gateshead
Several arrests have been made following allegations of racist abuse in a Tyneside community.
Police in Gateshead stepped up patrols in the Bensham and Saltwell area, home to around 5,000 Jews, amid fears Jews could be targeted because of events in Gaza in the Middle East.
Officers received reports of abuse towards members of the Jewish community on Bewick Road, and windows at a Jewish building were damaged last Friday. Two boys, aged 14 and 15, were arrested for affray and racially-aggravated criminal damage. Then on Sunday night, there were reports of a man driving on Coatsworth Road shouting abuse. An 18-year-old male youth was arrested for racially-aggravated harassment.
As violence escalates in Gaza, police have been keeping a watchful eye on the community but they say neither of the incidents appear to be related the conflict.
Gateshead Central Neighbourhood Inspector, Peter Storey said: “The first incident involved two local boys shouting racial abuse at Jewish students and breaking a window of a Jewish building. The second was someone shouting abuse as they went by in a car. These are infrequent offences which happen in the Gateshead area from time to time. But they are in no way, shape or form connected with the events in Gaza. It is disorder that got out of hand. We have got extra patrols in the area but no-one in the community has change their patterns or behaviour. It is business as usual.”
It is understood that the victims of the abuse were pupils at local Jewish schools. Mrs Bas, of the Gateshead Hebrew Congregation, said the abuse had been frightening.
She said: “I didn’t actually see anything but I’ve heard exactly what happened. In the first incident, a group of girls from the college were just passing by when they all of a sudden were chased and had abuse shouted at them. The people chasing them broke windows, including some car windows.
“It’s frightening, really, and it must have been particularly frightening for the girls involved. In the second incident, some people started fighting with a group of boys from the college. It really must be made clear that this sort of racial behaviour is not going to be tolerated.”
Here’s some background on the ethnic demographics of the region, via internet archive (pdf):
This section provides a snapshot of the demographic profile of the region extracted from the 2001 Census. That Census introduced changes in categories of a number of ethnic groups thereby rendering direct comparison with the 1991 impossible. Two of those categories, ie Irish and “Other White”, whilst significant, have been deemed in this section not to be BME groups.
Further information, including detailed Census data and maps to Ward level can be obtained from: www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/default.asp?nsid=false&CE=True&SE=True
- Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups make up 2.4% of the population of the North East, compared to 9.1% of England as a whole.
- Asians are the largest BME group in the North East (1.3% of the population). Pakistanis represent nearly half of this group (0.6% of the population).
- Over half of Asians in the North East (52.2%) live in the urban areas of Newcastle upon Tyne (33.9%) and Middlesbrough (18.3%).
There are lower concentrations of every BME group in the North East compared to England as a whole. In all 97.6% of residents in the North East are white, compared to the 90.9% average for England. The Local Authorities with the highest concentration of BME groups are Newcastle upon Tyne (6.9%) and Middlesbrough (6.3%).
The largest BME group in England is Indian, representing 2.1% of the population. In the North East this figure falls to just 0.4%. The region’s highest proportion of Indians is found in Newcastle upon Tyne (1.2%). Pakistanis represent 0.6% of the North East population, compared to 1.4% of England’s population, which is the largest BME group in the region. Middlesbrough has the highest concentration in the North East (3.6%) followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (1.9%).
Caribbean groups represent 0.04% of the population of the North East compared to 1.1% of England’s population.
80.1% of people in the North East claim to be Christian compared to the national average of 71.7%. This makes the North East the region with the highest proportion of Christians in England.
The highest proportion of Christians in the North East is in Easington (85.2%). Newcastle upon Tyne has the lowest proportion in the region (70.6%) and is the only local authority in the North East to be below the national average.
In the North East there is a lower percentage of people who claim to have no religion (11.0%) compared to the average for England (14.6%). There is also a slightly lower percentage of people who did not state a religion (7.1% compared to 7.7%).
Middlesbrough has the highest proportion of Muslims in the region (4.2%) followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (3.6%). These two Authorities are the only ones in the North East to have a higher proportion of Muslims than the England average. Excluding Middlesbrough and Newcastle upon Tyne, the level of Muslims in the North East falls from 1.1% to just 0.4%.
The North East’s Jewish residents make up 0.1% of the population compared to the national average of 0.5%. The greatest concentration of Jews in the North East is in Gateshead (0.8%).
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.