Campaigners have voiced fears of renewed violence between Birmingham's black and Asian communities after three men were jailed yesterday for the murder of an IT worker in last year's riots.
Race workers have urged people to learn lessons from the death of Isaiah Young-Sam (pictured) during last October's disturbances, and put an end to the inequality and segregation which ultimately led to his senseless murder.
Three Asian men killed 23-year-old Isaiah Young-Sam as he walked through Lozells with his brother and two friends during the riot - sparked by unsubstantiated rumours about a local West Indian girl being gang-raped by Asian men.
The trio - Waqar Ahmed (26), Azhil Khan (23) and Afzal Khan (22), all from the Handsworth area - were described as normally respectable men who were "drawn like moths to the flame" and fuelled by mob violence.
They were jailed for life after being found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of murder, with the Mr Justice Mackay recommending minimum terms of 25 years each.
Afterwards, Maxie Hayles, chairman of the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit, claimed little had been done to bridge the divide between the black and Asian communities.
"Immediately after the riots the council and other agencies said that more would be done to help community cohesion.
"But I have seen lots of talk, and no action. I would not rule out this happening again," he said. "People like me get blamed for what I say. But the problems in Birmingham have not been resolved.
"There is no respect-building between the Asian and Afro-Caribbean community. We talk about community cohesion, but how much do these two communities really know about each other?"
Asif Afridi, director of research at the Birmingham Race Action Partnership, a lobby group which also advises public bodies on multi-cultural issues, said the "ingredients" for more unrest were still present in Birmingham's inner city.
He said: "Unless we open up this debate and re-think the way that we approach inequality, the problems are still going to be there.
"I can see how a disturbance might happen again. I don't want to scaremonger, but all the elements are there in terms of inequality and segregation, which leads to fear within the communities.
"A lot of the ingredients are there. But it often takes a trigger."
Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for equalities and human resources, Alan Rudge (Con Sutton Vesey), said the Lozells riot was caused by a "criminal minority" within the community and the local authority was working to solve problems in the area.
He said the council's Youth Service had set up links between diverse communities in the inner city to help different groups understand each other better.
"We seized the opportunity to find how we can help and we are being supported by people in the community," he said.
"There are certain aspects of regeneration that you cannot do at the drop of a hat, such as sustainable job development. But we have started the process and it is important for us all to work together for a better city."
Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Perry Barr, said the conviction of the three men who killed Mr Young-Sam "sends out a signal to the community" that they could not take the law into their hands.
However, he said tension in the community was not on the same scale as it was before the 1985 Handsworth riots.
Mr Young-Sam was stabbed as he took a back route while his group was attempting to avoid the disorder in Lozells.
He was set upon by a group of up to six men, who appeared from two or three cars wearing hoodies and bandanas, armed with knives and bats and shouting racist abuse. Mr Young-Sam was stabbed in the heart.
The court was told the defendants, who denied murder, went to Huddersfield just hours after the attack, before returning to Birmingham the next day and booking one-way tickets to Pakistan.
They were stopped en-route in Dubai and returned to Britain where they were arrested.
Mr Justice Mackay said he was satisfied none of the defendants had struck the fatal blow but they had gone out looking for trouble and set upon a group of men for no reason other than the colour of their skin.
The judge said: "The defendants were three normally respectable, lawabiding men, from good backgrounds, but they were drawn like moths to the flame by the sheer excitement, the street drama of that night.
"They were fuelled by the mob violence which they could have resisted, could have turned away from, which they failed to do."
The defendants were also handed ten-year jail terms each after being found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Locksley Byfield, who suffered a non-life threatening stab wound to his backside during the attack. These jail terms will run concurrently.