It’s become a familiar trope of the far right over the last decade to claim that all Muslims are rapists – child rapists at that. Paedophiles. This is because of the grooming gang scandals in places like Rotherham, Derby, Greater Manchester and Oxford. Presented as they were with genuine, actual scandals that really did happen the country’s racists and neo-Nazis lost no time in distorting the facts even further to fit their vile, discriminatory agenda.
So what exactly are those facts? Well…
It’s true that in these and other towns across UK gangs of men conspired together to groom and abuse vulnerable girls, many of whom were below the age of consent and almost all of whom were plied with drugs or alcohol, raped whilst unable to consent, either through intoxication or youth and intimidated into silence before being trafficked around and repeatedly hired out for non-consensual, even forced sex with older men. Several were beaten and threatened with death or serious injury and many continue to suffer psychologically as a result of their traumatic experiences. This is a matter of public record.
It’s also true that the majority of men involved in these grooming gangs were Asian, Muslim and predominantly of Pakistani origin.
It’s also true that the authorities showed remarkable reluctance to confront the issue and there are many sworn affidavits testifying to the fact that girls were either not-believed or even blamed for having ‘asked for it’, as though an under-age girl can ever ‘ask for it’ in any meaningful way. Sex with a minor is, after all, statutory rape whatever her particular, immature judgement might be. Children are children and they need to be protected, often especially from themselves and always from adult sexual predators.
So there we are, those are the facts and they’re particularly sordid facts, to boot.
As a result, far right flag-shagging rabble-rousers from Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson to Paul Golding and Nigel Farage jumped on their discriminatory band-waggons and descended on the towns, especially Rotherham where the scandal first broke, denouncing all Muslims which they tended to define as brown people and non-white taxi drivers and generally using the scandals to whip up religious hatred.
They characterised Muslim citizens as vermin much as the Nazis had characterised the Jews. They denounced anyone who objected as paedophile sympathisers or even as paedophiles themselves.
Lots of people were taken in by this scam, not least because of the abhorrent nature of the crimes concerned and the characterisation of the victims as white, Christian girls which boosted their fantasy agenda of racial and religious warfare. But let’s take a closer look, shall we?
I’m not about to defend the actions of these predominantly but not exclusively Asian men. The crimes were and will always be repugnant and it is right that they are serving long prison sentences as a consequence. And this is equally true regardless of religion or of skin colour. There were a number of white Christians among the gangs and they’re no less guilty for that. All of those who participated in the grooming and abuse of these young women and girls are equally culpable. And there’s the rub.
All the perpetrators are deserving of punishment. But their families and neighbours are not. Just as not all white Christians are paedophiles, neither are all brown Muslims. There is an issue with some sections of the Pakistani community, a problem which the British Pakistani community is well aware of and is actively seeking to eradicate. This isn’t unlike the problem that exists with some sections of the white Christian community in North America where girls as young as 8 or 9 are still formally and informally ‘married’ to older men.
In both cases the practice is cultural, rather than religious. Yet we wouldn’t accuse every resident of Kentucky’s Appalachian mountains of paedophilia any more than we should blame every Muslim of Pakistani origin. Pakistan is a huge country and cultural practices vary enormously across the regions.
Crime is committed by criminals and every demographic has them. I’m not going to get into extensive whataboutery here but it’s worth thinking just a little about the hard work going on in the mosques to eradicate child sexual exploitation and contrasting that with the letter sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to every Roman Catholic diocese worldwide ordering clergy to cover up child abuse within its ranks, to move offending priests to other parishes where they would be free to abuse more children and to refuse to cooperate with local police. A few short years later cardinal Ratzinger became Pope benedict XVI.
The Church of England and the Methodist churches have each had their own paedophilia scandals but nobody complains that all Anglicans, all Roman Catholics or all Methodists are paedophiles. Why is that then?
I think it’s because it’s obvious. I also think it’s because British people have no cultural reason to discriminate against members of our own, traditional religions. Actually we have no reason to discriminate against other religions either except that certain flag-shagging fuckwits see it as a useful peg to hang their racism on. And there’s the rub.
There’s nothing especially unique about Islam when it comes to child sexual abuse. All the major religions have issues with that. In fact, you might argue that Islam is doing more than most to eradicate it. It’s only of interest to these ‘crusaders’ of child protection when it’s brown people doing the abusing though so Islam gets it.
If the likes of Robinson, Farage, Hopkins and Golding really wanted to eradicate child sexual exploitation they’d begin with the Roman Catholics but that’s hardly their aim. It’s brown people they dislike. Abused children can go hang, for all they care.