As riots in the U.K. become increasingly volatile, bands of vigilantes, in this case Muslim ones, are roaming the streets looking to take on any and all comers -- mainly because three of young men in their community were run down and killed while trying to defend their family's business. Now since many of the rioters are reportedly black, racial tensions between the two groups have flared, with one Muslim man vowing to "hunt down these black men, cut off their heads and feed them to our dogs."
Perhaps not the best way to assuage the ever-growing hostility that is rife across the country, but that certainly is one way to get his point across.
And with the police nowhere to be seen, the town's Muslims are allegedly gearing up with bricks, stones, clubs and cricket bats to ward off the marauding gangs.
But while their unified stance in Birmingham's west end reportedly saved a row of family-run shops and a mosque from destruction, it came at a steep price.
CBS and AP brings us the details of how three brothers were killed by a carload of rioters:
A carload of rioters sped into a fleeing crowd of shop defenders, witnesses said, hurling three young men into the air and killing amateur boxer Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31.
"We all had stones in our hands. But we had no defense to stop a car. They revved their engines and drove right at us as fast as they could," Mohammed Ibrahim, 23, told The Associated Press. "These black men deliberately tried to kill us all."
Wednesday's 1 a.m. slaughter has laid bare racial tensions underlying this week's riots in Birmingham, Britain's second-largest city and its most ethnically diverse. A fifth of the city's 1 million "Brummies" are Muslims, most commonly of Pakistani origin. About 7 percent are black, mostly Caribbean, in background.
But Tariq Jahan, Haroon Jahan's father, is now asking the vigilantes, "why are we doing this?"
"I lost my son. Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home."
Some of the local Muslims, however, were not so passive, with one Amir Hawid aged 20 stating: "We'll hunt down these black men, cut off their heads and feed them to our dogs." Hawid allegedly lives near the murder scene and heard crowds screaming as the three brothers were run down.
As forensics specialists combed the bloodied, rock-strewn pavement for clues, hundreds of local Muslims and Sikhs — some wearing ceremonial daggers at their waists — packed into a community hall Wednesday to confront three white police commanders who had come seeking to calm tensions. Twice as many Muslims, many in robes and kufi caps, stood outside.
Speaker after speaker complained that they had pleaded by phone for police protection the previous night, when black gangs raided local markets and chased bar staff onto the roof of one pub, yet police failed to respond. Some argued that the police had warned them not to attempt to defend their own streets, yet had offered no alternative.
The three dead men "did nothing wrong! They died because they were doing the job of protecting our community. The job that you lot should have been doing!" one speaker shouted, jabbing an accusatory finger at the police panel.
But questions still abound as to why the riots are occurring in the first place. Some of the looters, with T-shirts pulled up over their faces to conceal their identities, declared on camera that their reason for carrying out such atrocities is "anger because the police nick you for stupid things." One looter reportedly told CBS News, "now this is our payback because they can't do nothing to us today. The police can't do nothing."
Birmingham, with a reported past history of enduring its fair share of racial tensions, is now showing additional signs of racially charged flare ups, such as the ones occurring between the mostly Pakistani Muslims and blacks. According to AP, countless residents of Dudley Road and the nearby Winson Green district have stated that the attackers are "blacks" who target Muslim businesses specifically.
Meanwhile, the local police superintendent Richard Baker claims his team has already arrested the suspected driver in the attack along with 11 others potentially linked to the violence on Dudley Road. And he apparently even pleaded for locals to quash their ire with police and cooperate with authorities' investigation:
"I will deploy whatever it takes to get justice for this community," Baker said above a din of muttered heckles and shouted accusations, dozens of men trying to speak at once.
Baker and the local commander, Superintendent Sean Russell, defended their force's response to the killings — which Russell admitted he could see from the police control center on a closed-circuit surveillance camera — because gangs were attacking shops in the city center. That triggered angry cries that police cared more for protecting downtown shopping centers than Muslim communities.
Russell said it took officers 10 minutes to arrive; locals insisted it was a half-hour and the officers arrived in riot gear thinking the Muslim crowd might pose a threat. The officers said they had to be cautious.
The report below, anchored by CBS' Mark Phillips, shows the father of the three young men who were killed along with other non-Muslim vigilantes across Britain: