The Christian Legal Centre is currently helping and supporting ‘Sarah’ (not her real name), a survivor of an Islamic sex-grooming gang, and raising awareness of the epidemic of Islamic sex-grooming gangs.
Earlier in September, we told you the heart-breaking story of how she was kidnapped, forced into three Sharia marriages, repeatedly raped and abused, and given eight abortions, asking you to cry out to God with us not only for her protection, but also for our nation’s heart to be restored.
Now, as the actions of more gangs come to light and many are convicted, the injustices that exist within our State are becoming ever clearer. The problem is even more widespread than first thought, and the need for the Church to step up and act is even more urgent.
More recently, it’s been revealed that Sarah’s two children – born to different members of the sex-grooming gang – have now been taken away from her, after social services declared Sarah an ‘unfit mother’.
After suffering through the ordeal of being treated as a sex slave for twelve years, Sarah now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
However, she has said: “When they are taking away my children, it feels exactly the same as what that group did: the same threat, the same anxiety, everything. I am desperate to see my daughter.”
Her son now lives with a member of her family under a special guardianship order, but Sarah is only allowed to see him for four hours a week. What’s more is that the father of her son could be given a role in the child’s future, despite his history of abuse and violence towards Sarah.
However, the case is even worse for her youngest child. Sarah fears that social services may now arrange for her daughter to be adopted against Sarah’s will by Muslims, after they consulted the father – another one of the sex-grooming gang. Although the father wants nothing to do with the child, the authorities could now treat the child as born of Muslim parents, and therefore of Muslim ‘background’. “I do not want that, because I do not want my daughter to go through what I went through,” Sarah has said.
Sarah’s story was raised in the House of Lords earlier in October by Baroness Cox, who told the Daily Mail, “I agonise over Sarah’s continuing ordeal. And it is appalling that she was forced to confront one of her alleged rapists at a court hearing where he was consulted about her son’s future. How can the courts and social services allow this cruel treatment?”
Neither Sarah nor Baroness Cox can understand how social services have repeatedly allowed her alleged rapists to have a say in her children’s lives.
But the growing influence of Islam, alongside the desire ‘not to offend’ or be ‘racist’, has allowed thousands of girls to be “sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism”, as Tim Dieppe, Head of Public Policy at Christian Concern, has previously written.
Questioning the government, Baroness Cox asked what policies the government had to support survivors like Sarah, and how many criminals had been allowed to get away with it, arguing that “countless girls” have suffered similar ordeals throughout the country.
It is certainly true that Sarah’s case is not unique.
At the end of September, the BBC released the story of ‘Nicole’, a survivor of the convicted sex-grooming gang from Newcastle. Nicole revealed how she felt that the authorities had failed her by missing “warning signs”.
And it appears that the problem is evermore widespread. So far, Asian sex-grooming gangs have been found in multiple different towns and cities across the UK, including Oxford, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Telford, Coventry, Drewsbury, Halifax, Keighley and Bristol. In fact, by the end of 2015, Muslim sex-groomers had been tried and convicted in 27 towns and cities across the UK. And it appears that the number is only growing.
The Islamic connection
In recent weeks, there has been outcry for identifying these sex-grooming gangs as ‘Asian’ for fear of “[rocking] the multicultural boat”. Despite his own Pakistani Muslim background, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, was called out by many for describing the 20 convicted men of the Rotherham gang as “sick Asian paedophiles”. One Times commentator said: “The suffering of the victims, it seems, mattered less to them [those who criticised Sajid Javid]”.
However, if identifying these men as Asian has been difficult, there has been even less willingness to identify the majority of them as Islamic.
On 22 October, Lord Pearson raised the issue before the House of Lords, calling into question how the government planned to respond to the authorities’ fears of being seen as ‘Islamophobic’. He asked:
“My Lords, do the Government accept that if we extrapolate nationally the Jay report on Rotherham and other reports from Telford and Oxford, there appear to have been upwards of 250,000 young white girls raped in this century, very largely by Muslim men, usually several times a day for years? … What are the Government doing to prosecute those in authority who turned a blind eye to all this because they were afraid of being called Islamophobic and so on?”
Yet, as Tim Dieppe suggests, the government seems determined to deny any Islamic connection to these gangs and the issues raised by them. He says:
“The latest statistics for convictions show that 283/325 rape gang convictions are of people with Islamic names, and therefore with Islamic heritage and most likely self-identifying as Muslim. This means 87% of the convictions are Muslims, compared with only 5% of the population being Muslim. Mathematically this means that a Muslim man is some 127 times more likely to be convicted as part of a grooming gang than a non-Muslim.”
Furthermore, the majority of places that these sex-grooming gangs come from are, according to the Muslim Council of Britain, the places where a Muslim population is most concentrated. Drawing on figures from the 2011 census, the Council says, “76% of the Muslim population live in four regions: London, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber”.
The Gatestone Institute has also recently argued that Islamic religion and culture “has a very different set of rules and legal codes for relations between the sexes” to what is generally accepted in the West and does not restrict men from keeping women as slaves and/or concubines. Thus, within the Muslim community, there almost seems to be an acceptance that some sort of sex-grooming could take place. This could go far in explaining “why child sexual grooming gangs and the collective sexual harassment of women have taken hold in some places”, and account for a shared silence, not least from within the Muslim community itself, but also from other who fear offending the community by highlighting ‘differences in culture’. It concludes: “Sadly, in the case of Britain’s grooming gangs, religious ideology does not play a role in forbidding child sexual grooming. It is important to examine just how crucial a factor this seems to have been in community silence about them.”
A problem and a solution
The problem appears to be much bigger and widespread than the government or authorities are willing to accept. And, as we see in both Sarah and Nicole’s cases – and the countless other girls that have been affected by these gangs – the holes in the system do not allow for these girls to be supported. In fact, the government seems far more likely to play into the hands of the Muslim minority for fear of being deemed ‘racist’, as seen in the reaction to Sajid Javid’s comment.
The Church must be ready to respond and act on behalf of these girls. If the State and the system will not support them, then we must be ready to step in.
The government must also answer for its failures. Following Baroness Cox’s questioning in the House of Lords, you can write to your MP, asking them to pressure the government to support the victims and survivors of Islamic sex-grooming, rather than allow them to continue to fall captive to the flaws in the system. We must speak up for justice where the State will not.