BIRMINGHAM, England—With police nowhere to be seen, the Muslims of a poor neighborhood armed themselves with bricks and stones, clubs and cricket bats to fend off marauding gangs.
Their midnight stand in Birmingham saved a humble row of shops and red-brick mosque from the looters’ grasp, but at a terrible cost: three lives lost when a carload of rioters rammed into shop defenders.
Wednesday’s deaths have laid bare racial tensions underlying this week’s riots in England. Birmingham Muslims pack a community hall to tell the white commanders of the murder investigation that the police don’t care about protecting them. In the streets outside, hard-faced young men warn they’ll hunt down the black men responsible for the hit-and-run attack.