A silhouette of one of the victims. Photo: Telegraph
This week, 9 Asian men were sentenced to a total of 77 years for their parts in the sexual abuse of girls between 13 and 15 in the Rochdale area. One of the convicted men, Abdul Rauf, taught religious studies at a mosque. It is believed that more than 50 adolescent girls were abused by the gang, in 631 documented cases. Out of 68 recent convictions involving street grooming, 59 were British Pakistani men. The Independent ran a special report asking what we actually know about the cultural aspect of these crimes.
The Independent’s report says that statistically, 95 per cent of sex offenders are white – and five per cent are Asian. However, it’s different when it comes to men grooming girls on the street – in 18 of such cases, most convicted were of Pakistani origin. So are these crimes racially motivated, or not? And will it allow room for the far right to make its way into the public’s opinion? Commentators are split – some say that it’s obvious race is the problem; others that this is a much more complex issue.
“The mass street grooming of young girls from the English community is only being carried out by Muslims. All the paedophile groomers in this particular sort of crime – on the street, in gangs – are Muslims. That’s the common denominator,” said Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, quoted on The Independent.
Don’t forget the victims
Let’s focus on the white girls, said Julie Bindel on The Guardian. She mentioned the case of Charlene Downes, who disappeared when she was 14. “Endemic child sexual abuse” was discovered in her town of Blackpool. Race is relevant – because people are “more interested and appalled” when it’s Asian men doing the raping. The point is, that we ignore the victims of child abuse. We “blame the victims,” not believing their stories. The victims’ compliance is secured by a “deadly combination of threats and bribes” – and we don’t know how to protect them. These poor girls are seen as “troublemaking slags” – above all, we must not sideline them over the race issue.
“All of you treated [the victims] as though they were worthless and beyond respect,” he told the men. “One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion,” said Judge Gerald Clifton, who sentenced the men, quoted on The Independent.
We musn’t let other offenders escape because of the race issue
Right wing extremists are trying to make capital from this case, said The Independent’s leader. They’ve been helped by right wing newspapers. Police and social workers are insisting that the crimes are “not racially motivated” – the reality is that the cases are much more complex. But the British Pakistani community must address this problem – and we must make the collection of data on offences like this much better. Let’s not just focus on British Pakistanis, though – if we do, then “other offenders will go unwatched and unchecked.” Rochdale must be a “turning point.”
Of course it’s to do with race
Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph asked what would have happened if it had been white men bribing Asian girls with fish and chips. Would the Crown Prosecution Service have delayed for so long? Of course it’s to do with race. There’s a lot of “embarrassed evasiveness about this disgusting case.” It’s because we turn a blind eye to “appalling” practices on a cultural basis. We’re not allowed to say, or even think, that women’s rights are not equal in all cultures. The ring-leader believes that his convictions come from the fact that he was tried by an all-white jury. Not because he organised the “gang-rape of under-age females.” It’s simple: white girls are over-sexualised; on the other hand, there is the “warped creed” of these men. Even liberals must now notice that our attitudes are wrong.
And, more troublingly, it shows how our whole society is sick
She’s right, said David Aaronovitch in The Times. People are trying to obfuscate the issue. The fact is, some Pakistani men think that white girls are “fair game.” We have to face up to things, and call them what they are – otherwise extremists will step into the gap. These men have certain attitudes towards “women and sex.” Imagine suggesting that Catholic priests abusing boys weren’t Catholic. Misogyny is a “huge problem” amongst Muslim cultures – “backward and rural” ones which wish to control their women. A corollary of this is “forced marriage, child marriage, honor crimes and female genital mutilation.” And let’s not forget the neglect of these white girls, which points to defects in our society as a whole.