TIMES OF LONDON--Yesterday morning I woke up to the smell of smoke. It was coming from my radio. The Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz was being interviewed about the Rochdale grooming case. “It’s not a problem confined to one community,” she told listeners. “It is absolutely happening across all ethnic and religious groups.”
The problem was, she suggested, that people were now looking for this one pattern — street grooming by groups of men from the Pakistani community — and wrongly finding it. Ms Berelowitz then blew a little more fog over the subject by invoking 14-year-old boys who abuse 11-year-old girls, and then disappeared into her own mist.
I understand her desire for obfuscation. The crime is horrible — our reporter Andrew Norfolk described yesterday how underage girls were multiply raped on a bare mattress above a kebab shop. And there are people in this country whose prejudices and politics are well served by suggesting that this is what Muslim migrants are like. Put the two together and you can easily come up with something that smells like Nick Griffin.
But what does Ms Berelowitz know that Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, whom I met in Rochdale seven years ago, doesn’t? Pointing out that of 68 recent convictions involving street grooming 59 were of British Pakistani men, Mr Shafiq concluded with characteristic straightforwardness that the community clearly had a problem. In his view, a minority of Pakistani men had got it into their heads that white girls were fair game.
What information did she have that Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for northwest England and the man leading the prosecution in this case, didn’t? He blamed “imported cultural baggage”. “[The men] think that women are some lesser being. The availability of vulnerable young white girls is what has drawn the men to them.”
What does she understand that Martin Narey, former head of Barnardo’s, who has been achingly careful on this subject, doesn’t quite get? “For this particular type of crime ... there is very troubling evidence that Asians are overwhelmingly represented in the prosecutions for such offences,” he said on Tuesday.
What is her experience of life in these northern towns that leads her to contradict Ann Cryer, the former Labour MP for Keighley, whose warnings on this subject went unheeded for years? The police and social services, Ms Cryer charges, “were petrified of being called racist ... They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them.”
And so on. If you cannot call the thing what it is, then not only will you fail with policies aimed at stopping it, but you will also encourage the very forces that you most fear. It is precisely into the gap between the elite’s description of the world and the reality that people face that the extremist steps. (Read more.)
Thursday, May 10, 2012
David Aaronovitch: British Gang Rapes Linked to Islam
I'm literally shocked to see an article like this in a mainstream newspaper. Columnist David Aaronovitch is sure to be met with charges of "racism" and "Islamophobia" for stating the obvious.