Dewsbury is 'fed up to the back teeth' of negative press

A raft of councillors and public figures have hit out at an online article describing Dewsbury as a "no-go area" for white people.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Councillors and public figures have defended Dewsbury against claims made in a Daily Mail article

Dewsbury was one of four towns in Northern England highlighted as bad areas for segregation in the MailOnline article about academic Ed Husain, who visited mosques across Britain for his new book, "Among the Mosques".

Mr Husain, a London-based academic who was previously senior advisor to former PM Tony Blair, wrote that visiting Dewsbury was like "visiting a different country and century".

But scores of people living and working in the town have hit out at the remarks and the publication of the story, with one businessman saying Dewsbury is "fed up to the back teeth" of negative press.

"The media needs to lay off towns like Dewsbury", said Paul Ellis, the president of the town's Chamber of Trade who previously served as a Labour councillor for Dewsbury West.

"While people like Ed Husain, who has never lived here, gets to publish his book and the Daily Mail gets a headline, people in other parts of the country read it and must think God knows what about the North, despite having never been here.

"Towns like Dewsbury have some of the friendliest people you'll meet.

"I have no problem promoting it and we'd love for Daily Mail reporters to come to Dewsbury and see the town properly."

He added: "In the first few days of lockdown, we had people from the local mosques contacting people at the nearby churches to see if there were any people in their parish who needed food parcels or shopping done for them."

The comments were echoed by Coun Jackie Ramsay, Labour councillor for Dewsbury South, and her colleague Coun Darren O'Donovan for Dewsbury West.

Both said they had lived in the town all their lives and that they had never felt there were "no go areas" for anyone.

Musharaf Asghar, a Dewsbury-based public speaker who is known for his appearance on Channel 4's "Educating Yorkshire", also criticised the Daily Mail article.

"Anyone who is afraid to enter Dewsbury is more than happy to drop me a message and I’ll take you to one of the best ice-cream parlours in [the town]," he wrote in a tweet.

Commenting on the article, author Mr Husain said "Among the Mosques", which comes out on Thursday, was "not about ‘no-go areas".

"The issues the book addresses are much more complicated and nuanced. Some of the mosques and towns I visited were best of British," he said.