Home Secretary latest comments about grooming crimes deeply disappointing.

The Greater Manchester Muslim Communities finds itself at odds with the statement of the Home Secretary, whose latest comments include “there could be some cultural reasons from the communities (i.e. Pakistani heritage) that these men came from that could lead to this kind of behaviour” is deeply disturbing and ignorant to the core.

The recent sex abuse that have come to light from churches, footballer coaches, police forces and even politicians demonstrates that sexual groomers including those who act with others come from all backgrounds and cultures. Yet our Home Secretary seems to be transfixed on Pakistanis and Asians and their culture whilst ignoring the bigger picture. At no stage have we seen any concerted comment by him to examine factors that may have facilitated such abuse in the other areas mentioned.

The ex-CPS lead of the North West, Nasir Afzal was recently forced to challenge the media by stating that the vast majority, some 80 – 90% of sex offenders or paedophiles are British white male.

Clearly, we need to understand the whole problem of sex abuse in all its forms including online, celebrity and street groomers. We need to understand why those who commit these awful crimes and how we can help victims better as well as also implementing strategies to prevent these offences occurring in the first place. This has been done by many organisations such as Child Exploitation Online Protection and NSPCC and many more. These reports have shown that the vast majority of sex abuses or paedophiles are not Asian or Pakistani.

It is wise for the Home Secretary to either read these reports or once he has completed his research to then make evidence-based comments.

What we do know is that his comments are popular with the far-right factions in our society, politics and media. They will fuel further hate and give more oxygen to racism, Islamophobia and hate that already exists.

We hope the Home Secretary can reflect on this point and tackle sex grooming crimes in their entirety. We do not find it helpful to victimise one cultural group by focusing on a supposed link between a particular type of crime in this case grooming crimes when we know that sadly such crimes are committed by many others regardless of culture or background. What we also find surprising is the Home Secretary seems to ignore that Pakistani culture frowns on drugs use and sale and also alcohol consumption and its sale something which we note which is part of the process of grooming the vulnerable. In addition, he should also know that Pakistani culture detests any form of sexual exploitation of any kind.

What the Home Secretary should be aware of is what is common to all sex abusers is the ability of those in positions of power to exploit others using drugs, alcohol and material things. Maybe we need to look closer to home to find the “cultural factors” and ideas which allows grooming in all its forms to fester in order to defeat it together.

The Greater Manchester Muslim Communities     28th December 2018