Friday, 13 December 2013

Does Grooming have an Ethnic Bias?

THIS week, a row has broken out between Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale and Imam Chishti, a spokesman for the Rochdale Community Forum (RCF).  Mr. Danczuk told BBC Radio 4 that 'ethnicity is a factor' in the recent street grooming of young lassies in the town, and that there are some who are 'in denial' about this.  What he seems to be saying is that some ethnic groups have an attitude towards women that leaves something to be desired, and that the recognition of this would be helpful in combating the abuse that has been taking place.

Last May, nine men, all of Asian heritage, were sentenced to 77 years in prison after they were convicted for grooming and abusing five vulnerable young girls in Rochdale.  Five other men from Rochdale, three of Asian ethnicity, and two Congolese, are due to be sentenced for sexual exploitation of a teenage girl next week.

Mr. Imam Chishti (RCF) argues:  'To say we, the Asian community, are in denial ... is really unhelpful', and that 'when people like Cyril Smith or Jimmy Savile were exposed as paedophiles people didn't start pointing fingers at that community...'  The two cases are different in so far as the Smith and Savile cases were individual examples of the abuse of power by celebrities, while the sexual grooming cases are collectively organised by gangs of mostly Asians.  In the Smith and Savile cases there were people in positions of influence who appeared to know that something was amiss, and even tried to cover-up for these two men.  How far this cover up went we have yet to discover.

I am not saying that Mr. Chishti is covering up for the gangs who appear to have systematically abused young and vulnerable girls, indeed he suggests that he himself is aware that it applies to a particular community, when he says:
'why would the Council of Mosques have supported the launch of the RCF, openly condemned child sex exploitation and gone to the council... to say if we can help tackle this in anyway then come and talk to us?'

This week the father of one of the Rochdale victims told Radio Four's World at One program that his daughter was only 14 when she was plied with gifts, booze and systematically raped by a gang.  Meanwhile, Social Services he said were part of the problem, and he was told by them that his daughter was 'a child prostitute'. 

In the light of all this I believe we should at least be prepared to listen to Mr. Danczuk.

No comments: