Monday, 7 May 2012

Muslim campaigner criticizes Pak community elders over child grooming ring


The head of a leading British-Muslim organization has condemned Pakistani community leaders for “burying their heads in the sand” on the exploitation of young white girls by Pakistani men, after 9 men were convicted for being part of a child-grooming ring at Liverpool Crown Court.

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which aims to promote dialogue between communities, said: "There is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community, there is an over-representation amongst recent convictions in the crime of on-street grooming, there should be no silence in addressing the issue of race as this is central to the actions of these criminals.”

Of 68 recent convictions for on-street grooming, 59 were of British Pakistani men.
Mr Shafiq added, "They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought; it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community.
"I urge the police and the councils not to be frightened to address this issue, there is a strong lesson that you cannot ignore race or be over sensitive."

He added: "I have been overwhelmed by the support the Ramadhan Foundation has been given by young people for our campaign on child grooming but concerned that community elders are once again burying their heads in the sand, this concerns us all and we must speak out.
"The community elders need to learn from the reaction of young people and reject any attempt to silence the reaction from our community.

"We have over the past 12 months seen tremendous progress, more Imams have spoken out in Friday sermons; workshops and activities for young people have happened in the community and there is a strong commitment to see this work through.
"We encourage local authorities and schools to learn from Rochdale where over 9,000 teenagers have attended a workshop on child grooming.

The nine men – from Rochdale and Oldham – were found guilty of ‘grooming’ girls, one as young as 13, by playing them with alcohol and drugs so that they could be ‘passed around’ and used for sex.
“They have a respectable life in the community and then they have their night life”, Mr Shafiq continued.

“Asian girls are not available to them and so they look to Western girls. They think they’re easy. They see them as tarts who are there to be used.”

“This gang was the talk of the town among the taxi drivers. People were appalled because it’s nothing to do with faith, nothing to do with Islam.

Reports say that Mr Shafiq has received death threats for his views and his work with the Ramadhan Foundation.

The BBC also revealed today that the trial had been delayed by two weeks after two Asian barristers quit after being intimidated outside the Court.

- Terry Morton

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