Birmingham is not on the verge of a race war and groups that warn of a descent into anarchy and violence are guilty of irresponsible rumour-mongering, the leader of the City Council said last night.
Mike Whitby said the events of the weekend in Lozells and Newtown, culminating in rioting, two deaths, extensive damage to property and dozens of arrests, did not signify that Birmingham was becoming more racially intolerant.
The trouble had been caused by small groups of people whose views were not representative of the community as a whole.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said a meeting between the council, community leaders and police on Sunday night produced positive ideas about preventing a repeat of the violence in future.
The council is to work on ways of bringing youth groups together on a multi-racial basis.
Coun Whitby added: "What came through was a desire to bring some healing into an area where tensions progressed in to pitiful physical violence.
"We don't want the message going out that there is a race war going on.
"We want the message to go out that the communities are striving to find their similarities and move forward."
His remarks were echoed by Sir Albert Bore, leader of the Labour opposition on the council. Sir Albert (Ladywood) said: "This has been a tinder box that could have gone up a lot more than it has done.
"A lot of people in the community across all of the ethnic groups have tried to dampen down what is, I believe, activity caused by a number of individuals or small groups."