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.


Today I am feeling distressed, disturbed and frankly tired. I’ve read two different news stories today to do with Muslims and even though the first is a positive one, the analysis that I’ve heard of it was negative. Let me elaborate.

The first story was about the ‘Islamification of Britain-Record numbers embrace Muslim faith’. Judging by the title it seems derogatory, I really dislike the word ‘Islamification’, to begin with it’s not even a proper word. When I think of ‘Islamification’ I think of BNP and EDL members holding up posters demonstrating STOP THE ISLAMIFICATION OF BRITAIN. Anyway it resonates negatively in my mind. Having said that the article is a positive one for me as a Muslim to read, even though the terrorist connotations are antagonistic, but how can a newspaper write about the Muslim faith without dropping in the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’? The article says that many thousands of Britons have converted to Islam and the majority are women.
Some of the inflammatory things I’ve heard are that young Muslim boys prowl and seek out non-muslim girls so they can convert them, as conversion is highly regarded in Islam. Or that the women who convert are vulnerable or people are rebelling against the system and becoming Muslim, as Islam is the new nemesis for the West.
Has it occurred to the critics that the reason that there are now thousands of converts in Britain, could be because these individuals have seen the beauty of Islam? The justice, the humanity and the peace in Islam? Not the Islam that is portrayed in the media or the Islam represented by a small minority of misguided ignorant extremists. Could it be because these individuals have chosen to reject some of the negative aspects of British society which encompasses drinking and promiscuity? And embrace Islam which shares many of the core British values such as tolerance, charity, equality and humanity.

The second story actually made my stomach churn. The Times exposed a culture of silence that has facilitated the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young British girls by pimp gangs. 57 men were convicted for crimes like rape, child abduction and indecent assault of which 53 were Asian, mostly British Pakistanis. And to add salt to the wound, 50 were Muslim. As you can imagine I was shocked and horrified at this, for many reasons. The first thing is why emphasise these men were Muslim? Why is it when there is a white criminal, they are called a white male but when it’s Pakistani man, they’re are referred to as a Muslim man. I cannot stand this double standard and what makes me so cross is that there is nothing ‘Muslim’ about any of this. Crimes like these are certainly not permissible in Islam. Whether the crime is against a Muslim girl or a non-Muslim girl, it is definitely not acceptable within the realms of Islam. So why associate Islam to these hideous crimes?
Secondly the question in my mind was WHY WHY WHY? Why is the incidence of Pakistanis so high in this area of crime? And British Pakistanis at that. Those who have been born and brought up in the British education system and have more than likely been exposed to the opposite sex white and non-white. It really doesn’t make much sense to me. It could be because there are generally more white girls in England than Asian girls. Secondly Pakistani men probably perceive white girls as an easy target as they are more likely to drink, and be out more in the public arena than Pakistani girls. What other reasons could there be that these men are Pakistani and the girls are white? I can probably say with confidence that majority of Pakistani men find the idea of being with a Caucasian woman very attractive but that doesn’t mean that they will all go out and rape them. What is it intrinsically about Pakistani men that have led them to commit such atrocities? I don’t have much of an answer except that I am slightly embarrassed that I am of the same community and hope these men are punished severely for the crimes. If this is really a problem like some child protection agencies and police forces say then it needs to be investigated and the root cause needs to be uncovered.

All in all I’m feeling depressed and without hope. The reputation of Islam as a religion of peace has diminished. The only stories in the media are negative ones but unfortunately the media isn’t wholly to blame. The actions of certain so-called ‘Muslims’ are so terrifying, so horrendous that the rest of us really have little chance of being heard. We are to blame for not being politicised enough, for not behaving like ambassadors to Islam as we should. Despite how wonderful our scriptures may be, we can only be judged by our actions. And I hope that the future for Muslims in Britain and all over the world is not as bleak and grey, as I feel right now.