The horror of leaders of the Rotherham sex gang who abused young vulnerable girls, revealed in a recent trial, has absolutely disgusted Muslims of Pakistani heritage, despite what the far right fascists may claim. The three brothers - Arshid Hussain, Basharat Hussain and Bannaras Hussain - targeted, brutalised and sexually abused vulnerable young girls over a long period of time without any guilt or remorse.
The three brothers have been sentenced respectively to 35 years, 25 years and 19 years in prison for causing "unimaginable harm". The sentencing of six criminals, including two white women who assisted the three brothers, has brought some comfort to the victims and their families that finally justice has been done; albeit the experiences that those young girls suffered can never be erased from their memories.
The race and religion of the twisted three brothers has been dragged into the debate. Katie Hopkins recently tweets to say agents "Muslim men raping white women is consistent with the teaching of Islam." This is absolutely absurd as Islam teaches women to be respected, irrespective of their colour, background or faith.
It is a fact that perpetrators of sexual abuse come from all backgrounds and all sections of society. The recent Janet's Smith review revealed that's BBC missed opportunities to stop "monstrous" abuse by DJ Jimmy Savile and broadcaster Stuart Hall because of a "culture of fear".Sexual abuse is an issue of power and opportunism verses vulnerability, as opposed to Muslim or Pakistani men verses white girls. The victims do not come from any one particular culture or community, and neither do the perpetrators.
The recent high profile cases of sexual exploitations have demonstrated that there seems to be a failure at all levels to protect vulnerable young girls and inspire young men to have a moral compass.The focus on race and religion of the perverse criminals detracts from the real issue. The far right is already exploiting such devastating abuse against young girls for their hate-filled aims.
We have already had an elderly Muslim man murdered as a result of rise in such anti-Muslim hatred. 81 years old Muhsin Ahmed was viciously attacked in August last year whilst he was on his way to the local mosque in Rotherham. During the trial the court heard that Dale Jones, aged 30, brutally attacked Mr Ahmed calling him a 'groomer' on multiple occasions. The attack was so vicious that the imprint of Mr Jones trainer was left on the victim's fractured skull.
Most people in Britain have no time for this kind of hatred and will not resort to attacking an innocent individual to take 'revenge' because of the abhorrent acts of sex gangs. Hatred towards British Muslims remains, thankfully, confined to the nasty margins of our society. But it still exists and attacks have become more prevalent.
Since the Paris attacks on 13 November, there has been a considerable increase in bigotry and hostility on the streets in terms of verbal abuse and physical attacks against Muslims. Tell-Mama, an organisation which records incidents of verbal and physical attacks on Muslims and mosques in the UK, reports a 300% rise in reports of attacks against Muslims since the devastating events of the Paris attacks.
The current rise in Islamophobic rhetoric and abuse is alarming.
From murders to planting bombs in mosques should be a concern for everyone in Britain. We should neither tolerate abuse against young girls nor any kind of bigotry against a particular community in Britain. Anti-Muslim prejudice is a matter for everyone who cares about this country and our fair society.
The terrible incidents of child sexual exploitation continue to bring shame to our society, and raise some pertinent questions about safeguarding vulnerable in our society. The society needs to learn many lessons from it including: how can we better protect young vulnerable girls (online and off-line)? how can we dismantle the 'systematic models' that the perpetrators have developed to exploit or abuse young vulnerable individuals? British Muslims of Pakistani heritage also need to play their part in exposing any criminals that they may know involved in such abhorrent acts because those young vulnerable girls suffered because of the culture of indifference at all levels of our society.
Nevertheless, anti-Muslim rhetoric or attacks on Muslims and their places of worship, as a result of these grooming events, is not the answer. As I am absolutely disgusted by the acts of sexual groomers, I am also deeply concerned about the rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and its impact on the future of community cohesion in Britain. In multi-belief and multi-cultural Britain, no one should be abused, feel intimidated or threatened because of their belief or lifestyle.