The myth of Muslim grooming

The British National party’s website, its logo still sporting a seasonal sprig of holly, is understandably triumphalist as it proclaims that the “controlled media” has admitted this week that “Nick Griffin has been right all along about Muslim paedophile gangs”.

The particular branch of the controlled media the BNP refers to is the Times, which has been running the results of a lengthy investigation into the sexual exploitation and internal trafficking of girls in the north of England. Specifically, the Times has marshalled evidence suggesting that these organised crimes are carried out almost exclusively by gangs of Pakistani Muslim origin who target white youngsters; and it quotes both police and agency sources who refer to a “conspiracy of silence” around the open investigation of such cases, amid fears of being branded racist or inflaming ethnic tensions in already precarious local environments.

This is not the first time that anxieties about the ethnic dimension of child sexual exploitation have been aired by the media. In 2004 the Channel 4 documentary Edge of the City, which explored claims that Asian men in Bradford were grooming white girls as young as 11, sexually abusing them and passing them on to their friends, was initially withdrawn from the schedules after the BNP described it as “a party political broadcast”, and the chief constable of West Yorkshire police warned that it could spark disorder.

Anecdotally, as far back as the mid-90s, local agencies have been aware of the participation of ethnic minority men in some cases of serial abuse. But what has not emerged is any consistent evidence to suggest that Pakistani Muslim men are uniquely and disproportionately involved in these crimes, nor that they are preying on white girls because they believe them to be legitimate sexual quarry, as is now being suggested.

Libby Brooks in the Guardian, 7 January 2011

See also ENGAGE, 7 January 2011