Lords’ debate right to highlight Islamic grooming connection

16 May 2019

Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern, comments on the recent debate in the House of Lords on the subject of grooming gangs.

Baroness Cox secured a short debate in the House of Lords on the subject of grooming gangs this week.

The question for debate was:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in the prevention of grooming gangs in Rotherham and elsewhere; and what assistance they have offered to victims and their families.”

Horrific ordeal

Opening the debate, Baroness Cox described the horrific ordeal of hundreds of young girls who have been brutally raped and abused by these gangs. She highlighted that as of October last year, Rotherham Abuse Counselling Service still had 260 people on its waiting list with an average waiting time of seven months. She then quoted Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham:

“If there had been an earthquake affecting the lives of 1,400 children in Rotherham, we would have got emergency funding from the Government to help with their recovery. However, with no such money forthcoming for child abuse, we are largely leaving victims and survivors to get on with the recovery themselves.”

Baroness Cox then proceeded to quote some devastating statistics. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the police recorded over 16,000 cases of rape of children under the age of 16 in England and Wales. This is an average of 44 rapes per day, yet only 544 rapists were convicted in 2017. Furthermore, the median time from offence to completion for child rape cases in 2017 was 2,115 days – or nearly 6 years. These are not necessarily all grooming gang offences, but there is no dataset that distinguishes between ‘grooming gang offenses’ and other forms of child sexual abuse.

Individual examples

Baroness Cox then went on to highlight the awful case of ‘Sarah’ who we have previously written about:

“She describes how she was kidnapped aged 15, imprisoned in a house, forced to learn the Koran and beaten when she made mistakes. She was held as a sex slave for 12 years and was repeatedly raped by different members of the grooming gang. She had three forced Sharia marriages, eight forced abortions and two live births. Her abusers referred to her as ‘white trash’. They forced her to wear Islamic dress and permitted her to speak only Urdu and Punjabi. She has not received the help she needs from social services and is frequently suicidal.”

Baroness Cox went on to discuss the case of Caitlin Spencer who has detailed her horrific experiences in her harrowing book Please, Let Me Go. Neither of these victims has received the help and support they so desperately need.

The Islamic connection

Baroness Cox explained that evidence indicates many of these grooming gang crimes were perpetuated primarily by those of Pakistani or Muslim heritage. As she said, this does not mean that all abusers fit the same profile. Baroness Cox nevertheless called for an honest debate that does not betray the victims and their families by shying away from the facts. As she explained:

“In the tragic cases of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholics or Anglicans, there is no inhibition about identifying these faith traditions, yet there appears to be a degree of censorship when it comes to identifying abusers who call themselves Muslim, or who use warped interpretations of Islam to justify their abhorrent acts. This kind of political correctness is a source of profound frustration and hurt for those, such as Sarah, who have been abducted, raped and trafficked by grooming gangs. Presumably, it is fear of accusations of racism or Islamophobia that has resulted in the religious identity of these abusers being hidden. However, it is important to recognise reality, because this characteristic often affects the nature of the abuse and suffering inflicted. It is also to be hoped that Muslim leaders will take ownership of policies to prevent these atrocities perpetrated by some Muslims bringing such suffering to vulnerable girls and shame on their faith. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that agencies are not inhibited in the protection of vulnerable women and children by cultural sensitivities or fear of being labelled Islamophobic?”

Lord Pearson backed up these comments, saying:

“I fear we must start by accepting the perpetrators are indeed radical Muslims.They should not be confused with other, decent men of Pakistani and Asian origin. Noble and Islamophiliac Lords may not like me saying that, but the excellent Quilliam Foundation found that it is true of 83% of the criminals concerned. If anyone is in any doubt, they should read Peter McLoughlin’s 2016 masterpiece Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, which should be compulsory reading for the Government.”

McLoughlin’s book is indeed essential reading on the subject.

The teachings of Islam

Lord Pearson went on to suggest that we also need to be able to talk about the tenets of radical Islam:

“I have mentioned before in your Lordships’ House the tenets of abrogation, Taqiyya, Al Hijra, the lesser jihad and the pursuit of a world caliphate. However, there is another, which may lie at the root of the grooming gang scandal: namely, the radical Muslim tenet known as, ‘what your right hand possesses’.

“I am advised that this allows Muhammad’s followers to have sex slaves among their captives and among non-Muslim, or kuffar, girls.​

“The trouble is that as soon as you start talking about radical Islam, you are immediately accused of Islamophobia, even if you can say what you like about any other religion. … If we turn a blind eye to the fact that the vast majority of grooming gang criminals are radical Muslims, we fuel the voices of extremism. That is exactly what is happening.”

I explained how radical Muslims justify their actions by reference to the Qur’an, including the phrase “those your right hand possesses” in my article, ‘Sacrificing girls to political correctness,’ last year. Islamic texts are very clear that Muhammad and his followers raped female slaves.

Open and honest debate needed

Baroness Cox is to be congratulated for obtaining this debate and raising these important issues in the House of Lords. Lord Pearson has done a valuable service in highlighting how Islamic teaching contributes to the problem. The government’s response focused on the question of funding which sadly appears to be woefully inadequate.

Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox are both right to say that we shouldn’t shy away from recognising the Islamic connection with these grooming gangs. There are too many victims to allow political correctness to hinder open and honest debate about what is happening. We and the authorities involved cannot allow fear of being labelled Islamophobic to prevent vulnerable girls from being protected.

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