Unsubstantiated allegations of cultural links to sexual abuse whip up Islamophobia

In the wake of recent convictions for sexual grooming and rape in Derby three myths have been fostered by sections of the media and some politicians.

Firstly, that young Muslim men have a tendency to be paedophiles, sexual groomers and rapists due to their cultural background; secondly, that citing ethnicity as a causal factor for sex crimes stops racism, and finally, that there has been a ‘conspiracy of silence ‘on the issue of grooming by Pakistani heritage men, which some politicians and newspapers are now bravely trying to break.

These myths must be exposed and challenged. They do nothing to protect the victims of sexual violence; they only serve to give legitimacy to racist views and organisations.

Sexual predators and paedophiles exist in all communities, as do their victims. And sexual abuse and violence is a crime irrespective of who is the perpetrator. Everyone has a responsibility and a duty to challenge such crimes and support the victims.

Convictions of individuals do not show any link between background or religion and these crimes. Moreover, those responsible for research – that has been widely cited as demonstrating such a link – have themselves refuted this claim, saying there is nothing in their research to prove this.

Sabby Dhalu at One Society Many Cultures