Dr Nazreen Challenges Sayeeda Warsi on Rochdale grooming issue
Dear Mrs. Warsi
Earlier this month we were sickened by the case of nine Rochdale men found guilty of systematically grooming vulnerable girls and young women, drawing them into a web of sexual abuse, and plying them with drink, drugs, and money.
However, when news of the convictions broke, everyone with an axe to grind against Asians, Pakistanis or Muslims came out of the woodwork to racialise and generalise this heinous crime to entire communities, attributing it to their beliefs and cultures, and citing the case as definitive proof to justify their grievances.
The fact that you, Mrs. Warsi, decided to wade into the debate joining the likes of Nick Griffin, Melanie Phillips, and the English Defence League, with your reckless statements against the Pakistani community and suggestion that race played a role in this disgusting crime speaks volumes about you. Despite the fact that sexual abuse of young girls and women is sadly rampant across the UK, perpetrated by men from all communities – the majority however being white, non-Pakistani, and non-Muslim – you felt the need to issue your detrimental comments. And in doing so, you aided the peddling of hate and false stereotypes of Asians by racists, and added fuel to the fire of the growing right-wing fascist rhetoric against Muslims and minorities in the UK.
One wonders how you would feel if your failure to declare your rental income on your property in North West London in the Lord’s register of interests, or the allegations that you claimed expenses for accommodation while staying in a friend’s house for free were generalised to a deficiency in integrity displayed by a “minority of Asian Tory Politicians.
Many have understandably concluded that the reports that you are unpopular in your own party played a major factor in your decision to jump onto the Pakistani Muslim community bashing bandwagon, unscrupulously exploiting this issue in the path of personal political expediency. No doubt, your cheap populist comments found favour amongst a number of your anti-migrant, anti-minority, and anti-Muslim Tory colleagues, winning yourself a few cheap political points within your party.
Certainly, your comments cannot have been due to any concern for the welfare of the unfortunate young women who were victims of the abuse. Over the last few weeks, you said nothing about their welfare; and following the verdicts you have offered no serious analysis as to why state and society failed these women.
Had you felt any real human compassion for girls such as these, you would have pointed out that the capitalist system over which you govern licenses the sexualisation of young girls at a dangerously young age, through advertising, marketing, popular media, and the sale of provocative clothing. As Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of the Mother’s Union stated, “Society has become increasingly full of sexualized imagery. This has created a wallpaper to children’s lives.” This is the ‘commercialisation of childhood’, which your leader David Cameron refuses to pursue state-enforcement of laws to eradicate, rather leaving it to voluntary action by business, due to fear of impinging on their revenues. Furthermore, this detrimental capitalist ideology with its insatiable thirst for profit has marketed the sexual exploitation of women’s bodies in the beauty, entertainment and sex industries, devaluing and dehumanizing them into objects for male gratification. This has generated an environm ent that is ripe for the sexual abuse of girls and women. No surprise then that in the UK there are thousands of brothels and reports of up 18,000 sex workers. And it is no surprise then that according to the Department of Health website, a woman is raped every 10 minutes in the UK.
Had you felt any real concern for the sexual exploitation of women, you would have been a champion for their cause against their treatment as mere commodities for the pleasure of men within this capitalist society for it is this that reduces women to second and third-class citizens in the eyes of men. Indeed, the systematic sexual grooming of young girls is simply one of the consequences of the general systematic degradation of women under capitalism. It is to this that media attention should be brought rather than enacting a great injustice to all victims of sexual crimes by erroneously diverting attention to race or the culture of Muslims as the cause of abuse.
Had you been looking for a longer term solution to these repulsive crimes, joining the dots as a politician in government is supposed to do, you would have made the obvious links with sex-trafficking, date rape, the cases of girls being exploited by football stars and the devastating National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) statistics that were issued earlier this year, which revealed that one in six (16.5%) 11-17 year olds have experienced sexual abuse and nearly a quarter of young adults experienced sexual abuse during childhood. Such crimes therefore have nothing to do with race and everything to do with society’s view of women. The Rochdale sexual grooming cases have nothing to do with Pakistani culture and everything to do with the opportunism of perpetrators and vulnerability of the victims.
If you want to make the abuse of these young girls a cultural issue, then you need to take a look at the liberal freedoms within British society that encourage men to pursue their desires and treat women as they wish, rather than scapegoating communities for the fall-out of liberal culture. If you wish to sincerely address these crimes, then you would raise a debate in society as to why such liberal values that are claimed to liberate women actually end up subjugating, humiliating and debasing so many.
Similarly, your comments cannot have arisen due to a sense of duty of confronting problems within the Pakistani Muslim community. For if you had any sincerity towards this community or a desire to confront these complex issues you would have confronted the deeply offensive slanderous assertions leveled at Islam following this case, about which you have been ‘understated’ to say the least. You would have argued that it is actually a lack of Islamic values and the adoption of the ‘pursuit of happiness’ and sexual gratification by any means that led to the problems in Rochdale. For Islam obliges men to view all women – Muslim and non-Muslim – with respect always, rather than according to their individualistic ‘liberal’ desires, prohibiting outright the objectification or exploitation of women that devalues their status in society.
You would have explained to the general public that Islam encourages separation of the genders outside of family life and orders fidelity in marriage – to the point that it punishes men who fornicate and commit adultery in the severest terms.
In summary, your statements regarding the Rochdale grooming case and the Pakistani community reflected all the hallmarks of a typical self-serving politician, attempting to secure your own political survival by trying to show your critics that you can be a useful ‘attack-dog’ on issues that your white Anglo-Saxon male colleagues would think twice in expressing. Hizb ut-Tahrir has often argued that when people enter the party political system in a democracy, they have to surrender whatever principles they started with to the interests of their party – and their own naked ambition.
You are living proof of this and I pity you that you feel comfortable in such a submissive role!
If you disagree with my analysis and have the courage of your convictions to argue your side on anything I have said then I challenge you to debate with me on a public platform.
I eagerly await your reply.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain