Here we go again..

Nine men have been charged and sentenced for sexually grooming and exploiting young girls (aged 13-19) over a period of two years. These men are mainly middle aged, of Pakistani origin, from Rochdale.

All morning I have been reading the papers, and listening to the radio and hearing many arguments about how and why this happens, and how these gangs of men groom vulnerable girls, mostly who are in care, (ie.not cared by anyone) and entice girls by offering them drugs, alcohol and a place to go. Ignoring the ethnicity of these perverted criminals would be irresponsible and a typically Pakistani thing to do – ie. brushing it under the carpet. I don’t need to sit here and say that this behaviour and these terrible crimes are nothing to do with Islam, nor are they encouraged in any Pakistani community here or in Pakistan. What I do need to say is that there is a problem.

The problem exists within the mindset of some men all over the world, not only men infact but women. That mindset of women being the inferior sex and men thinking they have the right to do with women what they want. This isn’t only prevalent in the Pakistani or sub-continent communities. Women have been persecuted for centuries, since the beginning of time. We only got the right to vote in Britain in the 20th century. Despite this, the criminals are Pakistanis, and we can’t shy away from this. My blog from last year, deals with this same issue, but provided little explanation as I had no answer. Things however are a bit clearer now.

One point is about the ethnicity of the girls, they’re all white. I don’t think this is such an important factor as the ethnicity of the culprits. I believe these men would have taken advantage of Pakistani girls if they had the opportunity. They chose to target the most vulnerable girls in the community and those that could be seduced by the offer of alcohol or drugs. Also grooming a girl from their own community exposes the risk of being caught, as everybody knows who they are. On the other hand, I’ve heard people on the radio say that some Pakistani men see non-Pakistani girls as worthless and therefore justify their crime based on the fact that they’re not from their community. Personally I’ve never come across this disgusting viewpoint, but it doesn’t surprise me. The attitude of some people is that ‘white girls’ aka ‘goris’ is that they are scummy and inferior because they lack morals-they go out clubbing, they wear revealing clothes, drink and have no regard for their virginity or honour. Laughable really as these men are indulging in those exact acts that makes them belittle white people.

I have to admit when this story came to light I too thought ‘oh yeh this is just those men up north, it’s nothing to do with my community’. Firstly I was thinking these mens families are all economic migrants from Northern Pakistani villages or Kashmir and therefore it’s little to do with me. Even though this may be the case, the fact is I’m Pakistani from London, I can’t sit here and say no no it’s those Pakistanis from up north, not from where I’m from. Wrong. It has everything to do with everyone. They were British, they were Pakistani, they were from Manchester, they were men. I’ve heard Indians phone radio stations getting very upset as these men were labelled as ‘Asians’. Apparently they shouldn’t be, they should be called Pakistanis, so people realise it’s not an Indian problem and this small village mentality is specific to Pakistan and not India. What rubbish! I think some people need to be reminded that this small village mentality is prevalent world wide. For example female foetocide is rife in states all over India. Is this not the perfect example of misogyny? It’s easy to blame it on another group. The fact remains that these crimes were committed in England with the majority of these men being born and raised here.

The Pakistani community needs to face up to the problems that they pretend don’t exist. Paedophilia, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, the list is endless. As it is for all communities, these issues affect all societies everywhere in the world, it’s just kept quiet in the Pakistani community. The question is how to tackle this? I think it starts from education, and I don’t necessarily mean academic education, I mean education in a religious, cultural, social sense and it starts at home. It’s all well and good people blaming the imams from the mosque, but proper education should come from parents. Pakistani parents are to blame here. The word ‘sex’ is taboo, you cannot mention the word in front of parents. Treating sex like something dirty from such a young age is not helpful. Parents should educate and inform their children about sex education within Islamic boundaries. Islam does not say sex is something that shouldn’t be spoken about, on the contrary, it’s very open about sex, as it is acknowledged in Islam that sex is a natural act. But along with this, teaching children especially boys, respect towards women is even more important. Telling them about mutual respect for women from all backgrounds is key, not just the girls in your family. Misogyny needs to be eradicated and this can only be done when children are taught from a young age about gender equality and respect. Only then will less men commit crimes like this against women. And only then will the wives/daughters/mothers at home speak out and confront their male relatives about their wrong doings. Empowering women and educating boys correctly is the only way to limit these heinous crimes. Islam gives women a very high status, it’s a shame this has become distorted over time.