Leaders of Bradford's Asian community have agreed to set up a fighting fund to combat "institutional racism" at every level in the city.

The move came after the city's top Muslim, Hindu and Sikh representatives held a public meeting to discuss the Bradford Racial Equality Council and its director Ishtiaq Ahmed.

The council's accounts are being investigated by auditors over allegations of fraud.

And last week Mr Ahmed was arrested on a charge of indecent assault, a charge police later dropped, after an allegation which arose from a role-playing exercise during a training programme.

A resolution was passed at the meeting, called by Action for Racial Justice Group, condemning Bradford Council and its leader Councillor Ian Greenwood for allowing the BREC investigation to go public before it was completed. Another condemned the police over Mr Ahmed's arrest and claimed he and the racial equality council were targeted as "An act of victimisation" over his evidence at the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Sher Azam, the former president of Bradford's Council for Mosques, who chaired the meeting said the fund would offer support and legal advice to people who believed they were victims of institutional racism. The chairman of the Federation for Sikhs Nirmal Singh and the president of the Federation of Hindu Temples Ashwani Gautan also backed the resolutions.

Councillor Shaukat Ahmed (Lab, University Ward) told the 250 gathered at the Carlisle Business Centre last Saturday he had watched his community being "kicked, kicked, and kicked again."

Councillor Greenwood, said the Racial Equality Council had called in the auditors itself after allegations of fraud. He added: "I would obviously condemn whoever leaked the matter to the press but it certainly wasn't anybody I know from the Council because we recognise that these are allegations and people can be innocent of allegations."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.