CAIRO - A Muslim councilor's accusations of British immigration authorities of targeting ethnic minorities and their businesses are sparking a heated controversy in the European country.
We target immigration offenders - not specific nationalities, immigration minister Damian Green said, reported the Wales Online on Monday, April 23.
When we receive clear intelligence that offences are being committed we take action.
Muslim councilor Mohammed Islam has earlier accused immigration officers of targeting Asians and other ethnic minorities in their search.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) is basically going to every single Asian and ethnic minority business in the area to check whether staff are legally entitled to work, he said.
Personally I strongly feel it's indirect racism, I would say.
The Muslim councilor, who has represented Riverside since June 2004, said he noticed a notable increase in visits by immigration officers to Asians over the past few months.
This increase, he said, was noticed after fellow Riverside councilor Iona Gordon passed on to UKBA a tip-off last year that a businessman in their ward was employing illegal staff.
Protesting the UKBA policies, a leaflet was produced by people from the city stating there will be a protest outside UKBA's offices in Newport Road, Cardiff, on Saturday.
The leaflet alleges black and minority ethnic-run businesses have been targeted by immigration authorities in recent weeks.
This is unacceptable and must end now, the leaflet adds.
British officials insist that they only target immigration offenders.
So far this month, we have carried out around 30 operations at businesses and residential addresses across South Wales targeting suspected offenders from a range of nationalities, Green said.
Councilor Gordon also hit out at the accusations.
It is the moral duty of an elected councilor presented with allegations of lawbreaking to pass them on to the appropriate public authority for investigation, he said.
Is Councilor Islam saying that is wrong and that he is willing to turn a blind eye to allegations of lawbreaking?
But the Muslim councilor opines that picking Asian and black businesses raises questions about the impartiality of the UKBA operations.
If they have got to go and do a random check fair enough, they have got a right, he said.
But if they pick and choose Asian businesses it gives the question of why this kind of business.
Britain is home to an estimated Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
Ethnic minorities, particularly Muslims, are taking the full brunt of racism in Britain.
Estimates show that 87,000 members of ethnic minorities have been a victim of racially-motivated crimes.
Figures also show that ethnic minorities have the worst unemployment and housing crises in the European country.Some 70 percent of all ethnic minorities live in the 88 most deprived areas, compared to 40 percent of the general population.