By Daniel Margrain
“For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up. No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.”
These are not the words of Nigel Farage, Nick Griffin or Tommy Robinson, but allegedly those of former Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Sarah Champion, writing in the Sun (August 12, 2017) in response to the recent Operation Shelter grooming case in Newcastle.
If Champion was quoted correctly in the article, it would appear that the Labour MP implied that there is something specific among Muslims or Pakistanis that makes them more likely to commit the crime of grooming and raping of girls and young women. Over recent years, this has become a common theme that is not restricted to those on the right of the political spectrum.
The previous high profile case to make the headlines that involved the systematic abuse of white girls by a gang of Muslim men occurred in Rochdale from 2008. When then Tory Children’s minister Tim Loughton was asked about the subsequent trial, he said, “Political correctness and racial sensitivities have in the past been an issue.” Echoing Champion, Loughton added that the authorities still “have to be aware of certain characteristics of various ethnic communities”.
What is being impugned with the “certain characteristics” charge is the stereotypical notion that Pakistani, and by extension Muslim, men have a cultural predilection to child abuse, grooming and rape. It’s also difficult to square the notion that a police force that was sympathetic to the National Front during the 1980s could also be operating in “politically correct” or “racially sensitive” ways.
The unproven notion that questions relating to the cultural background of perpetrators inhibit the ability of the process of law to follow its proper course resulting from “political correctness”, adds to the stereotyping. Following the Rochdale case, for example, Baroness Warsi said:… “Cultural sensitivity should never be a bar to applying the law.”
“There is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game. And we have to be prepared to say that. You can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first… This small minority who see women as second-class citizens, and white women probably as third-class citizens, are to be spoken out against… Communities have a responsibility to stand up and say: “This is wrong; this will not be tolerated.”
Among the mainstream media liberal commentariat who have responded to the reported spate of grooming cases, is right-wing TV historian David Starkey who proclaimed:
“If you want to look at what happens when you have no sense of common identity, look at Rochdale and events in Rochdale… Those men were acting within their own cultural norms.”
It is credit to Starkey that by specifically alluding to those men he potentially raised an important issue. The same can be said of Warsi’s careful use of language. In this context, it is worth recalling that Badrul Hussain, 37, who on August 16, 2017, was found guilty as part of ‘Operation Sanctuary’, said, “White women are good for only one thing – for people like me to f*** and use as trash.”
Is there a religious and/or cultural aspect that underpins this kind of mentality and is the literal translation of specific texts within the Koran used to justify the raping of white women by Hussain and other Muslim gang rapists?
LBC broadcaster, Maajid Nawaz, himself a Muslim, argues:
“There is a disproportionate problem with rape gangs in this country coming from people like me and my cultural background. That is something we simply have to talk about.”
“Sarah Champion’s constituency, where she’s representing people in South Yorkshire, was the home to more than 1,400 hundred child victims of sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013. A report into this grooming scandal, this rape scandal, found quote almost all of the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin. We simply cannot pretend this problem doesn’t exist and try and bury our heads in the sand.”
Whether these kinds of Muslim gangs are inspired by a literal (fundamentalist) translation of the Koran, or there are other cultural issues at play, what cannot be denied is the anti-white racism of Hussain, and by extension the other perpetrators of the crime.
This view was echoed by the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Macdonald, who following the conviction of 17 men and one woman in Newcastle, described the case as “profoundly racist.”
Despite this, however, there has not been the same denouncing of the “cultural norms” of how women are treated when it comes to non-Muslim sex attackers. Look no further than the number of footballers in cases of alleged rape. The gross custom of footballers or their representatives cruising the shops of Manchester picking up women to have sex with even has its own term, “harvesting”. These women are brought to clubs and hotels where they are then assumed to be willing to have sex with numbers of footballers—coined “roasting”, often while being filmed.
Following the five year jail term for the crime of rape by Welsh international footballer, Ched Evans, his sister and a group of fans tried to organize a public tribute to him as a show of support at a match. We do not see front pages devoted to denouncing the misogynist culture of football, or calls for footballers as a collective to examine why a number of their colleagues have been accused of sex crimes. Yet all the time Muslim representatives are called upon to denounce the crimes as if in some way by nature of a shared religion they are collectively responsible.
This notion of assumed collective responsibility is shared by Mail columnist, Melanie Phillips who suggested that:
“The police maintain doggedly that this has nothing to do with race. What a red herring. Of course it doesn’t! This is about religion and culture – an unwesternised Islamic culture which holds that non-Muslims are trash and women are worthless. And so white girls are worthless trash”.
This kind of crass generalization was reiterated by Labour’s Jack Straw in January 2011, after a case in which two Asian men were convicted of rape and sexual abuse in Nottingham Crown Court. Straw declared that young Muslim men were “fizzing and popping with testosterone” and saw young white women as “easy meat”.
The perpetuation of the kind of racist stereotypes and generalizations outlined are not only wrong but they do nothing to solve the broader question of why some men within all communities and from all backgrounds abuse women and girls.
Sarah Champion bemoans what she perceives is the lack of research into this area. But research has been undertaken. One study in particular examines the nature of social networks of the culprits and victims in two cases that involved groups of Pakistani men. It explains that gangs and paedophile rings are rare.
It goes on to say, “Contrary to stereotypes of sinister paedophile rings, most child sex offenders act alone,” and quotes research on child sex offenders showing that “only 4 per cent were involved in an organised network and 92 per cent had no contact with other offenders prior to arrest”.
Crucially, of the cases studied, there was no evidence that white girls were targeted by offenders, adding, “though the majority were white, so too were the majority of local inhabitants.”
The same logic works in reverse. Where there are large concentrations of Muslim men, for example, it follows that this particular demographic are more likely to be the offending group. In other words, as Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police was careful to point out, in relation to the Rochdale case, that race was not the issue but “adults preying on vulnerable young children”.
There is no evidence that intrinsically links Pakistani men to child abuse and yet prominent figures from both the left and right like Straw, Phillips, Loughton and Champion have all used generalities in emphasizing the cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds of the perpetrators in a way they wouldn’t if the said perpetrators happened to have been white.
Champion allegedly opined that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.” The Labour MP is reported to have added, “There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?”
Yes, there is a problem. But the crime of sexual abuse of women and girls in Britain is not exclusively a problem within the Pakistani community. If the Sun had accurately interpreted that Champion singled out this community in the way they reported it, it’s difficult to conclude that her comments are not racist. If she was misquoted, then she should clarify matters.
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