The BBC gives too much weight to pro-immigration voices and ‘almost totally ignores’ the negative social impact of multiculturalism, a new study has claimed.
The corporation suffers from left wing ‘groupthink’ that prevents its journalists from challenging institutional bias and results in pro-immigration ‘propaganda’, according to the research published yesterday.
It was also accused of ‘downplaying’ violence by Islamists while being happy to criticise Christianity and report on the activities of other violent extremists.
We are not only a Christian country, we are a tolerant one – but it seems the new secularism has no room for toleration. When these cases first arose, a number of church leaders warned of “apparent discrimination’’ against churchgoers where the “religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect’’. That claim seems less alarmist than ever.
In praise of … Schleswig-Holstein
The isthmus linking Germany with Denmark had a history of disputed ownership, but in 1945 the Germans agreed to recognise the rights of the Danish minority
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 June 2012 18.09 EDT
Most famously remembered as the question that only Lord Palmerston understood (and he had forgotten the answer), Schleswig-Holstein has developed a model of how two competing national identities can coexist. Once two separate duchies, the isthmus linking Germany with Denmark had a history of disputed ownership, with all the consequential tensions between majority and minority cultures. But in 1945 Germany agreed to recognise the rights of the Danish minority. The famous question has given rise to an answer more sophisticated and yet more simple than Palmerston might ever have imagined. Its essence is that to feel Danish (relaxed, in favour of the welfare state and a reader of the Danish-language newspaper Flensborg-Avis) is to be Danish – entitled, for example, to be taught in Danish and to go to university in Denmark. This formula might just be a recipe for world peace.
5 June 2012 11:32PM
I don’t have an opinion on this article, but following my 2 days in Germany….
Germany is awesome!
They have public bins everywhere that come in 3 seperate recycling parts.
They let you smoke anywhere and everywhere: on train platforms you have to stand in a little yellow square painted on the floor, and in the airport you stand in these cool massive phone box looking things. This is brilliant – giving us the freedom to do what we want, whilst respecting the health of non-smokers.
They have amazing crisp flavours.
They have really tall and hot soldiers (at least the ones in my S-Bahn carriage were).
They have jobs!
I’m moving there.
6 June 2012 1:56AM
Luxembourg does have 4 languages but have had centuries to evolve. Countries like ours plus spain, italy and greece have had mass immigration forced upon them in less than 50 years by a few high browed political groups that have really done us proud haven’t they. High unemployment, no housing for our children schools that teach in multi languages all foistered upon an unsuspecting people without any consideration for the ethic people.
Multiculturalism is a word used to push an out of control government led policy down our throats, if you want to see how it really works go to Saudi or Pakistan or even Afghanistan they will show how a nation doesn’t want ‘western’ policies rammed down thie throats.
6 June 2012 7:30AM
The Germans shouldn’t be exporting cars. They should be exporting good sense. They seem to have so much more of it that anybody else.
6 June 2012 7:39AM
Response to Offred, 5 June 2012 11:32PM
Live in Germany, a consistently less disappointing place to live than Britain.
6 June 2012 7:54AM
‘I don’t have an opinion on this article, but following my 2 days in Germany….
Germany is awesome!
They have public bins everywhere that come in 3 seperate recycling parts.
They let you smoke anywhere and everywhere: on train platforms you have to stand in a little yellow square painted on the floor, and in the airport you stand in these cool massive phone box looking things. This is brilliant – giving us the freedom to do what we want, whilst respecting the health of non-smokers.’
Funny, I was working in Germany recently and was also struck by the freedom their people enjoy. To the above, I can add the fact that in Dusseldorf people were parking on the pavement! In the UK that would get you a heavy fine and a jail sentence. On the other hand NOBODY crosses the red when the little man is red, even if there are no cars for miles around.
This country’s minorities love Olde English traditions
Baroness Warsi is right: British minorities love the Olde English traditions of Christmas, so ignore the PC naysayers, writes Cristina Odone.
Baroness Warsi has struck a blow against PC nonsense Photo: Ian Jones
By Cristina Odone
7:59AM GMT 12 Nov 2012
’Ive always liked Baroness Warsi, the former Torychairman who is now minister of faith and community. She’s a plain-speaking, feisty northerner; a team-player, not a maverick. As a Muslim and a woman, she ticks all the boxes for the liberal establishment but slays all their sacred cows with the practised hands of a Halal butcher. She’s done it again now, by saying that – “before the politically correct brigade got going” – she was raised on harvest festivals, maypoles, Christmas carols and the Lord’s Prayer.
She has timed her intervention perfectly. Advent is almost upon us, opening the Christmas season. This is when Britain is at its most Olde England-ish: carols, pantos and nativity plays.
For a limited but influential section of the intelligentsia, this is an affront. They hear a slight in every child’s voice raised in Silent Night and see an offence in every Christmas tree angel. They believe Muslims and Jews, Afro-Caribbeans and Hindus feel excluded by these white Anglo-Saxon Christian rituals. They’ve persuaded so many teachers, museums and office bosses of this that my daughter is preparing a traditional American Indian song for her school’s forthcoming carol service, while the cards from work colleagues are bound to wish us “happy holidays”.
Enough! says Baroness Warsi. Minorities don’t want to be pushed into a mindset of “otherness” that resents mainstream traditions. They are here because they love what Britain has to offer – and that’s not just jobs and more freedoms. Immigrant minorities enjoy the maypole and the Nativity as much as Beatrix Potter and Blue Peter. In fact, as Baroness Warsi remembers, growing up a Muslim girl in Dewsbury, she found these rituals reassuring: Britons were so secure in their identity, the addition of an Asian Muslim to their choir or their play did not unsettle them.
The liberal ideologues who expect us to promote Eid, Passover and Diwali at the expense of Christmas, Easter and the Harvest Festival are not speaking for any minority but their own. This Christmas, let’s celebrate in traditional style. Time to make the mince pies.
Muslim preacher who tried to strangle his daughter, 16, for refusing an arranged marriage to her cousin spared jail
Free to go: Abid Hussain leaving Manchester Crown Court where the Muslim preacher who tried to strangle his 16-year old daughter avoided jail
Political correctness gone crazy. Its the common brit i feel sorry for
- Proud Brit, Great Britain, 28/7/2012 14:38
This may well be Islamic tradition for daughter to marry the fathers sisters son however Hussain if you live in this country you need to abide by the law no matter what your beliefs and culture are and assault is assault and threatening to kill both of which are completely unacceptabe shame on you It’s not an Islamic tradition it’s a Pakistani tradition. I wish daily mail would see the difference between culture and religion.
- sarah, uk, 28/7/2012 14:35
Those who espouse these ugly ‘customs’ are always so ugly in person too.
- Ana, Sydney, Australia, 28/7/2012 14:25
Unbelievable…..this country is joke…
- Crumbelow, Exeter Uk, 28/7/2012 14:25
That what is known by politicians as ‘managing crime’. Sadly, we voted them in to ‘fight crime’.
- PC, Liverpool, 28/7/2012 14:24
The daughter deserved justice – the preacher and his sons need a decent jail sentence. If saying the wrong thing can land you in prison how come assault doesn’t – such a poor sentence means that other daughters will be forced to suffer such assaults. Remove this judge now!
- Ruth, Cambridge, 28/7/2012 14:20
It’s not Islamic tradition! It’s cultural !
ArabIrishGirl, Landan, 28/7/2012 14:17
that will teach them ,I’m sure the poor girl will feel protected now ,Grrrrrr
- jtr, manchester, 28/7/2012 14:17
More young girls will suffer at the hands of their misguided kin unless severe examples are made…in this case, it wasn’t!
Nurses told to stop saying ‘darling’ to elderly patients because it shows ‘a lack of respect’
Don’t call me darling: Staff at Dilke hospital were told they were failing to respect patients with over-familiar terms
Doctors have the right to use the word ‘obese’
Medical professionals have a duty to speak frankly to their patients.
Weighty issue: draft guidelines advise doctors to avoid using the term ‘obese’ for fear of giving offence Photo: PA
What’s in a name? If, as Juliet would have us believe, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, then surely an obese person will be just as fat regardless of what we call them.
But in these times of delicate sensibilities, doctors are now being advised to think of alternative ways of telling people they are overweight. According to draft (or should that be daft?) guidelines announced last week by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the term obese is now prohibited for fear that larger patients might be offended by it.
Instead, Nice recommends advising corpulent patients that they should get down to a “healthier weight”. They claim that the term “obese” might be unhelpful and demeaning. I’m lost to see how the term is unhelpful. To me, it seems very helpful when describing someone who is fat. Everyone understands what a doctor means when they use the term and the fact that it might offend some people suggests that it communicates something about the person so effectively that they might not want to hear it.
While I’d never want to upset a patient unnecessarily, sometimes a doctor is the only person who is objective and detached enough to tell someone plainly what others can see. As a doctor, I can’t stop using a medical word because some people might not like it. Using woolly words instead simply means they don’t have to confront reality.
No one likes to hear the word “cancer”, but I’m not going to stop diagnosing it just because it upsets people. Why is it different from informing them that they are obese? There is no value judgment inherent in the word. It is a medical definition that describes someone whose weight has entered a range clinically associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality.
Often doctors hide behind medical terms to avoid saying what they mean, usually to save embarrassment. Using a bit of Latin preserves everyone’s dignity. Puritis ani sounds far more pleasant and respectable than itchy bottom. What’s happening here is that a medical term, obesity, has entered the common parlance and become laden with negative cultural associations. The public now associate it with loss of control, with greed and gluttony. This is grossly unfair. I think people should have the choice to be overweight, but that doesn’t stop it being the responsibility of the doctor to make them aware of the risk. To fail to do so would be negligent. Watering down the phrases will mean people fail to grasp the situation.
The fact that “obese” is such a culturally potent word is precisely why doctors should use it – people understand its seriousness. What Nice is skirting round is what many doctors, nurses and dieticians will confirm; people don’t like being told they are overweight.
Doctors who pander to this head-in-the-sand attitude are also deceitful. A few months ago, I attended a panel discussion at Barts Medical School in the East End of London. We were discussing the changing portrayal of doctors and health in film as part of a programme organised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. One of the films was A Cruel Kindness, made in 1967. It was targeted at mothers, to educate them about childhood obesity, and advised them not to overfeed their children. “Unless your boy stops over-eating and takes more exercise, he’ll grow into a fat man… that puts a strain on his heart and lungs,” said one doctor to a child’s horrified mother.
Afterwards, many of the doctors in the audience said they wished we could speak in such unconstrained terms to our patients. It might not be what people want to hear, but it is honest. My concern is that any meaningful message about obesity is lost altogether.
Zero tolerance is needed to safeguard care homes
Simon Burns, the Health Minister, should be congratulated for the tough stance he took last week against poor care – and even outright abuse – of older and vulnerable people in care homes. He agreed to trial a scheme in hospitals in which every patient admitted will be assessed for early-warning signs of neglect.
I know things aren’t that simple. While a medical student, I worked in a home where residents, many of whom had dementia, were tied into chairs and locked in bathrooms to stop them being disruptive. It was inhumane cruelty. When I approached social services, the beleaguered social worker looked up from behind a pile of paperwork and shrugged.
She explained it was likely that the home would receive little more than a rap on the knuckles. “They’ll probably fire the matron in charge and then just redecorate, change its name and reopen,” she said. That’s precisely what happened. So Mr Burns’s statement will only be of real value if the authorities respond to signs of neglect or abuse in a robust manner. There must be a zero-tolerance policy for any home failing to deliver the best possible care.
Hoffman, the hero of Hyde Park
Last week, the movie legend Dustin Hoffman helped save a jogger’s life after the man collapsed from a heart attack. Apparently Hoffman, who was taking a stroll in Hyde Park, rushed to the man’s aid when he saw him fall to the floor and waited with him until the ambulance arrived and took him to hospital. The man is now recovering and has thanked Hoffman from his hospital bed. Well done to Hoffman for doing the right thing when so many people would have walked by. I only hope the London Ambulance Service is prepared for a rash of women throwing themselves to the floor in London parks in the hope that a Hollywood star comes to their rescue.
Calling someone ‘fatty’ could become a hate crime
Riciduling someone as ‘fat’ or ‘obese’ could become a hate crime under an idea being floated by a group of MPs and a leading charity.
Race fear cops ban the word ‘blacklist’
By TOM WELLS Published: 07th May 2012
POLICE chiefs have banned IT staff from using the word blacklist over fears it is RACIST.
The computer term whitelist — used to denote a list of acceptable contacts — has also been outlawed.
In an email, Scotland Yard warned staff the words were no longer “appropriate”.
Security services chief Brian Douglas wrote: “IB (Information Board) are uncomfortable with the use of the term Whitelist (and I presume Blacklist).
“I am sure we can appreciate the sensitivity around the use of such terminology today so please ensure it is no longer used.” He suggested using green and red list instead.
Sources at the Met — where 20 officers are under investigation over alleged racism — branded the decision “bizarre”.
One said: “Do we really think these words are discriminatory? The truth is they’re nothing to do with race whatsoever and are very common IT terms. Banning them won’t solve any genuine problems the Met has with racism.”
Scotland Yard said: “This is not a change in policy.
“It is a change in internal Information Communications Technology terminology which reflects a more appropriate use of language.”
Don’t let PC brigade bury ethnic links to sex gangs, warns children’s minister
By JACK DOYLE
PUBLISHED: 14:25 EST, 3 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:02 EST, 4 July 2012
Warning: Tim Loughton said that social workers and police must not let political correctness get in the way of investigating child sex abuse
Social workers and the police must not let political correctness get in the way of investigating the grooming of vulnerable children, a minister said yesterday.
Tim Loughton said ‘ethnicity’ had been a factor in the scandal of recent cases involving gangs of mostly Asian men grooming and abusing young girls.
And he warned that many more cases are yet to be heard – with thousands of alleged sex abuse victims across the country.
The Children’s Minister said members of some ‘closed communities’ had been reluctant to come forward and report organised sex attacks.
As a result, these were allowed to take place ‘under the radar’ for many years, he said.
He told MPs: ‘If there is some form of political correctness around ethnicity which is getting in the way of police and other agencies investigating, tracking down and nailing these perpetrators, then that needs to be removed and we need to do something about it.’
Earlier this year a gang from Rochdale were jailed for plying teenage girls with alcohol before raping them. All but one of the gang were Pakistani.
The court heard that up to 47 vulnerable girls were passed around the group and forced to have sex several times a week.
But two years before action was finally taken, police missed an opportunity to stop the gang when a 15-year-old girl told them she had been raped.
MPs said appalling failings in the care system that allowed a group of Pakistani-born men (pictured) to rape girls in a recent case in Rochdale were common across the country
A report published yesterday by the Children’s Commissioner said councils were dumping children in care homes in parts of the country that were also centres for paedophiles, rapists and criminal gangs.
As a result, many experienced ‘truly horrific’ levels of violence, sadism and exploitation. Mr Loughton told the Home Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the child sex abuse scandal, that some communities – while not condoning abuse – had been slow to report offences to the police.
Asked whether the cases to date represented the ‘tip of the iceberg’, he said: ‘We are talking about a considerable number of children. I think we are probably talking about thousands of children – be it in care or from their own families – who are in some shape or form the subject of sexual abuse.
‘We have not seen the half of it yet.’ Asked if there was evidence of ethnicity being a factor in child exploitation, he replied: ‘Yes, and it is no good pretending otherwise.’
Mr Loughton said the majority of child sex offenders in jail are ‘white middle-aged men whose method of choice might be grooming over the internet’.
But he added: ‘What we have seen in high-profile cases in Derby and Rochdale, and other cases still to come fully to court, is that there is a problem around, in most cases, British Pakistani men – there are a few cases of Afghan and Bangladeshi men involved – who, operating in gangs, are preying on mostly teenage white girls.
‘Not exclusively, but that has been a pattern we have seen in high-profile cases.’ He added: ‘I know that in certain more closed communities, people who know about this form of abuse are less inclined or feel threatened about coming forward and reporting it to the authorities.
‘The point the Government is making absolutely clear is that we have got to make sure that the police and social services and other enforcement agencies are using the right tools to nail these perpetrators, regardless of their culture or ethnicity.
‘This has been going on for years under the radar. People didn’t come forward and report it, the police – for whatever reason – didn’t investigate it, or certainly didn’t investigate it sufficiently for cases to be brought to court that then stuck.’.
Sir David Jason: Political correctness is killing the British sense of humour
Sir David Jason, who played Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, says growing political correctness is no laughing matter.
David Jason as Del Boy Photo: BBC
By Richard Eden
7:30AM BST 13 May 2012
As the star of Only Fools and Horses and Open All Hours, Sir David Jason is responsible for some of the most amusing moments on television. The comic actor says many of them would, however, never make it to the screen these days because of a growing “political correctness” that is killing comedy.
“We seem to have lost our British sense of humour,” he tells Mandrake. “It’s a great shame. We have to be so careful nowadays, we’ve lost a lot of humour by people being frightened of getting to near touchy subjects. It’s a great loss to comedy.”
Sir David, who was knighted by the Queen in 2005, points to the speech impediment suffered by Ronnie Barker’s shopkeeper, Arkwright, in Open All Hours, which created much gentle comedy.
“Barker’s character had a stutter and he got nothing but good mail from people who stuttered because, basically, they were saying they bring people to the front,” he says at the first anniversary performance of Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. “The other thing was that they didn’t think it was disrespectful. He only ever got positive responses.”
Earlier this month, a tabloid newspaper was widely criticised after it published a headline poking fun at the speech impediment suffered by Roy Hodgson, the newly appointed England football manager. The Press Complaints Commission said it had received more than 100 complaints.
Sir David points out that one of the most popular episodes of Only Fools and Horses, called “Stage Fright”, involves a nightclub singer who can’t pronounce his Rs.
In the programme, which was broadcast in 1991, the singer is signed by Sir David’s character, Derek “Del Boy” Trotter, to perform at a cabaret night. He undertakes a rendition of the Roy Orbison song Crying that is so tortuous Del Boy decides to flee. “We’re getting too politically correct,” Sir David says. “We had an episode all about it.”
The actor, 72, who has an 11-year-old daughter, Sophie, by his wife, Gill Hinchcliffe, 51, previously called for a return to “old–fashioned” comedies that would cater for families who settle down in the evening to watch television together.
“There is enough out there that is what they call edgy and quite hard–hitting and modern and fashionable,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fine. But you can’t have a diet of just potatoes. You’ve got to have meat and two veg.”
A ban on bangers: Hundreds of school pupils denied pork because of ‘religious reasons’
Originally published Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:03 PM
Sex grooming cases spark racial tensions
She was lonely in the way only an adolescent girl can be: No friends, no boyfriend, not much of a relationship with her parents. So she felt special when a man decades older paid attention to her, bought her trinkets, gave her free booze.
ROCHDALE, England —
She was lonely in the way only an adolescent girl can be: No friends, no boyfriend, not much of a relationship with her parents. So she felt special when a man decades older paid attention to her, bought her trinkets, gave her free booze.
Then he took her to a dingy room above a kebab shop and said she had to give something back in return. His demands grew: Not just sex with him, but with his friends. It went on for years, until police charged nine men with running a sex ring with underage girls.
The story of Girl A, as she became known in court, is tragic by any measure, but it has also become explosive. Because there is no getting around it: The girls are white, and the men who used them as sex toys are Asian Muslims, mostly Pakistanis raised in Britain. And it’s not just Rochdale — roughly a dozen other cases of Asian Muslim men accused of grooming young white girls for sex are slowly moving to trial across northern England, involving up to several hundred girls in all.
In today’s Britain, which prides itself on being a tolerant and integrated society, the case has stripped away the skin to expose the racial sores festering beneath. It is also feeding an already raw anger against the country’s Asian Muslim minority, in a movement led by far right groups at a time when the economy is stalled.
“You can’t get away from the race element,” says prosecutor Nazir Afzal, a British Muslim with family roots in Pakistan who ended several years of official indifference to the girls’ plight and finally brought the perpetrators to trial. “It’s the elephant in the room.”
From a distance, Rochdale looks like a picture-perfect English city, with the 800-year-old Parish Church of St. Chad perched high above the streets, and the Victorian Gothic Town Hall just below, its clock tower resembling the one that houses London’s Big Ben.
Up close the flaws become clear. Like missing teeth in an otherwise sparkling smile, a fair number of downtown shops are boarded up, or have been turned into pawn shops or dueling “pound shops” where almost all items cost 1 pound ($1.60) or less.
The Pakistani community started to grow half a century ago, when the town’s cottons mills were flourishing. The newcomers, most of them from poor rural villages, were drawn by the promise of steady jobs and a chance to educate their children in English schools.
A number of mosques became part of the skyline, particularly the showcase Golden Mosque, winner of several design awards. Today, Muslim men wearing beards and decorated caps and women in black robes and veils are a constant presence on the downtown streets.
Nearly 1 million Pakistanis live in England – far more than in any other European country – with about 25,000 settled in the greater Manchester area that includes Rochdale. The government’s equality commission reports that more than half of the Pakistanis in Britain live in poverty, far more than the general population, with just under 75 percent having no formal savings.
They face hard times now. The closed shops are signs of a double-dip recession that has hit northern England harder than the more affluent south, which includes London, with its financial district and well-to-do suburbs.
The mills have long since closed; the local newspaper trumpets gloom and doom: A tripling in the number of homeless, a sharp rise in youth unemployment, more people seeking housing benefits.
Even the local McDonald’s, long a fixture in the town center, has moved out.
It was in this environment that Girl A lost control one summer night in 2008.
After drinking heavily, the 15-year-old went to the kebab shop in nearby Heywood where she had first met her “boyfriend.” She started screaming and busting the place up. When police were called, she told them she had been raped — repeatedly — and offered up her semen-stained underwear as proof.
Greater Manchester Police detectives concluded the girl, who was below the age of consent, was telling the truth, but Crown Prosecution Service lawyers recommended against pressing criminal charges, reasoning that the jury might not believe a troubled, hard-drinking, sexually active young girl. The case was quietly dropped after an 11-month inquiry.
The abuse intensified. The ring of predators grew; the circle of victims widened. Eventually there would be at least 47 victims or witnesses.
The girl was driven around at night, forced to have sex with more and more men, sometimes up to five a day, in cars or restaurant backrooms or grubby apartments. The men threatened her if she complained. There seemed to be no escape.
She was trapped in a secret world of sex acts that took place late at night when most people in Rochdale were safely tucked away in their homes.
The Rochdale men do not fit the classic profile for sex offenders in Britain — the majority of pedophilia crimes are committed by white men who target boys and girls via the Internet. However, there is a consensus among prosecutors, police, social workers and leading national politicians that “street grooming,” which happened in Rochdale, is largely dominated by Asian men.
Ella Cockbain, a University College of London crime science specialist, says research shows that mostly Asian men make up the big groups of offenders who work together. She chooses her words carefully because the sample size is small and the topic sensitive.
“There are definite patterns emerging that would be foolish to ignore,” she says.
Mohammed Shafiq, a British Pakistani who directs the Ramadhan Foundation in Rochdale, has angered some in his own community by suggesting that police at first did not pursue the case aggressively for fear of appearing racist because of an obsession “with the doctrine of political correctness.”
Shafiq says that a “tiny minority” of Pakistani men feel white girls are worthless and immoral – and can be abused with impunity.
“They know if they took someone from the Asian community, it pretty quickly is going to be found out,” he says. “But those white girls are available, so they think they can get away with it.”
The men in the Rochdale sex ring were remarkable only in their ordinariness. They were part of British life, but on the fringes – the sort of people most Britons don’t really notice when they pass them on the street.
Many were taxi drivers, accustomed to working all-night shifts with long down time between fares, and they frequented the late-night kebab takeout shops offering familiar lamb, chicken and falafel dishes. Their cab stands and the kebab shops were often the only businesses that remained open after the bars closed.
Most of the men were first or second generation Pakistanis raised mainly in Britain. Only one had faced previous sex charges: Ringleader Shabir Ahmed, at 59 the oldest in the group, who was accused of repeatedly raping a young girl in a separate case. Ahmed, known to the girls as “Daddy,” was convicted of 30 counts of rape in that case last week.
Some of the men had families and small businesses. The ring included Abdul Rauf, 43, who would later claim to have experience as a Muslim preacher, which local Islamic leaders dismiss as a total fabrication. A few had ongoing contacts with local politicians.
The men were neither affluent nor dirt poor. They lived outwardly stable lives but had few obvious prospects for advancement.
They were finally brought to justice after health workers reported a large increase in the number of underage girls in the Rochdale area claiming to have suffered sexual abuse. The next year, Afzal, the new regional chief of the Crown Prosecution Service, reversed the earlier decision by prosecutors and decided to press the case in court, with Girl A at its core.
“It was a no-brainer,” Afzal told the Associated Press. “She was immensely credible. And the police now had evidence of a wide network.”
Eleven men were charged with offenses ranging from rape to conspiracy, and police suspect more were involved. The men had such psychological power over the girls that even during the trial, one girl talked of a defendant as her boyfriend.
Parliament has launched an inquiry based in part on reports that the abuse is far more widespread than originally thought. Afzal said his office is handling roughly a dozen other similar cases, including one that involves 13 men accused of operating a sex ring with 24 girls.
Afzal says that as a Muslim he is sickened by the crimes.
“Rape and alcohol and abuse are not part of Islam,” he says. “Just because they have a beard and go to the mosque doesn’t make them good Muslims.”
As the Rochdale trial reached court, the issue of race and religion burst into the open.
One far-right protester carried a sign making reference to the meat favored by many observant Muslims because it meets strict religious guidelines. “Our girls are not Halal meat,” the sign read.
Inside the court, Ahmed, a key defendant, fought back hard. He accused the all-white jury of racism. He accused one girl of thinking whites were superior, and denigrated them all as greedy money seekers. And he accused white society of neglecting its girls and tolerating, even encouraging, bad behavior.
“You white people train them in sex and drinking, so when they come to us they are fully trained,” he said.
The jury found nine men guilty and set two free. Judge Gerald Clifton articulated what many felt but were reluctant to say out loud when he accused the men of treating white girls as worthless because “they were not of your community or religion.” Then he sentenced them to a total of 77 years in prison.
The May verdict further polarized Rochdale. Pakistanis were horrified at the stigma on their community and enraged that the men claimed to be Muslim.
“They are playing the Muslim card, pretending they are good Muslims, but they are not,” says Irfan Chishti, who runs an educational program at one of the town’s mosques. “This was a great sin under Islam. If Sharia law was in place, the punishment would be very severe.”
Even while he and other leaders of the Rochdale Council of Mosques were discussing the case, about 40 protesters from the far-right British National Party held an unauthorized rally on the nearby Town Hall steps. The far right has seized on the case, claiming that some British Pakistanis follow a code they believe is practiced in parts of the Islamic world that allows men to have sex with girls under 16.
Louis Kushnick, founder of the race relations resource center at the University of Manchester, said it has become convenient for white residents – including those beyond the far-right movement – to blame Muslims for the sex crimes.
“You hear people talking about this, and it becomes tied to Islam,” he says. “People say they are Muslim men, they see women as inferior, they have contempt for white women, so it has nothing to do with the rest of us.”
That view overlooks all the problems that left the girls vulnerable in the first place, he says, citing a deficient school system and a government-backed child care regime riddled with neglect and abuse. And he says the prolonged economic downturn has intensified resentments, with whites and Asians competing for the same “crap” jobs.
“Blaming the Muslims lets us avoid addressing these questions,” he says. “Once we blame `The Other,’ we think we have an explanation that makes sense.”
Many in Rochdale are wary about discussing the case. Graduate student Heather Eyre, 25, says the trial has badly divided the city.
“It shouldn’t have mattered that they are Pakistani,” she says of the abusers. “But it’s stirred up hatred. Some say they should be deported, and some parts of the Asian community say the jury was racist. Then the far-right groups came in…this case has been good for the English Defense League.”
The girl who first told police about the abuse, now a young woman of 19, has moved out of the area. In a brief pooled interview before she withdrew from the public eye, she refused to call the crimes against her racial in nature, but said she was shocked Muslims would commit such acts.
She said that in 2008, when the grooming began, there was no awareness of this type of crime involving Asian men and white girls.
“Now it’s going on everywhere,” she said. “You think of Muslim men as religious and family-minded and just nice people. You don’t think…I don’t know…You just don’t think they’d do things like that.”
When the abuse started, she said, she felt anger and shame, then became resigned and, finally, numb.
“After a while it had been going for so long and so many different men that it became like I didn’t feel anything towards it anymore,” she said. “It just weren’t me anymore. It just became something I had to do….Once you’re in it, you’re trapped. I just think what they did to me was evil.”
Claiming Rochdale grooming not about race is ‘fatuous’ – Trevor Phillips
Attempts to claim that race was not a factor in the Rochdale sexual grooming case are “fatuous”, the head of the equalities watchdog has insisted.
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor
6:30AM BST 14 May 2012
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the fact that the gang of nine men convicted of abusing girls as young as 13 were Asian and their victims white must not be ignored.
He said it would be a “national scandal” if the authorities had failed to intervene to protect the children because of fears that it would lead to the “demonisation” of the Muslim community.
And he voiced fears that the “closed community” the men came from may have turned a blind eye to their activities, either out of fear or because the girls concerned were from a different background.
A gang of nine Muslim men from Pakistan and Afghanistan was last week found guilty of plying girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could “pass them around” and use them for sex.
Judge Gerald Clifton, who heard the case, said in his sentencing remarks that they had treated their victims as “worthless and beyond all respect” at least in part because “they were not of your community or religion”.
But amid attempts by the British National Party to capitalise on the case a string of politicians sought to distance themselves from the idea that race was a factor.
Keith Vaz the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “There is no excuse for this kind of criminality, whoever is involved in it, but I don’t think it is a particular group of people.”
And following the trial at Liverpool Crown Court, Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, said: “It just happens that in this particular area and time, the demographics were that these were Asian men.
“However, in large parts of the country we are seeing on-street grooming, child sexual exploitation happening in each of our towns and it isn’t about a race issue.”
But, speaking on BBC1′s The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Phillips said: “Anybody who says that the fact that most of the men are Asian and most of the children are white is not relevant – that’s just fatuous.
“These are closed communities essentially and I worry that in these communities there are people who knew what was going on and didn’t say anything, either because they’re frightened or because they’re so separated from the rest of the communities they think ‘Oh, that’s just how white people let their children carry on, we don’t need to do anything’.”
He said it was important also that the role played by the authorities in the area was properly investigated.
“If anybody in any of the agencies that are supposed to be caring for these children – schools, social services and so on – took the view that being aggressively interventionalist to save these children would lead to the demonisation of some group because of the ethnicity … then it is a national scandal and something that would need to be dealt with urgently,” he said.
Rochdale grooming trial: police knew about sex abuse in 2002 but failed to act
Police and social workers failed to tackle the issue of Asian men grooming under-age white girls for up to a decade, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.
Heterosexual marriage? I’m sorry, you can’t discuss that
What a way to treat mourning heroes: Soldier pallbearers rehearsing for funeral of comrade killed in Afghanistan banned from drinking tea in bar because they were wearing uniform
Anger: The pallbearers at the funeral of corporal Michael Thacker, pictured carrying the coffin of their comrade, were all refused tea because of their uniforms
Boycott: Katie Jonas, 25, pictured, has founded the Facebook group protesting at the treatment of pallbearers