Last week two men were sentenced for being ringleaders of a gang that ‘groomed’, then abused teenage girls in Derby. Politicians and commentators were quick to exploit the issue. Prime Minister David Cameron said such investigations should not be hindered by ‘cultural sensitivities’ (even though the trial judge said there was no racial link) – and soon after, the media were reporting that the gang were mainly ‘Pakistani’, ‘Muslim’ or ‘Asian’.
Then former minister Jack Straw MP, using language usually from the BNP said “there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men…who target vulnerable young white girls”.
After this, the anti-Muslim western media had a field day in attacking and accusing Muslims and Pakistanis. Some anti-Muslim commentators argued that this meant there needs to be more effort to ‘integrate’ Muslims because their values seem to encourage such crimes.
We would like to make the following points:
1. Such crimes against women are sadly common in the UK, and are perpetrated by men from all backgrounds.
According to government figures, over 900 women are raped each week across Britain. Only this week a man from Rochdale and four women were sentenced as part of a paedophile ring. Yet we did not hear Mr Straw or any politician say that this is a problem affecting men of British heritage!
The fact that it was decided to smear Muslims and people from Pakistan implies a deliberate attack, in part to score political points in an area where the racist BNP are looking for support.
2. The cause of such crimes against women is western culture, which treats them like commodities for profit and the pleasure of men.
Despite what Straw and others have said, this has NOTHING to do with the values of Muslims or people from Pakistan.
The fact that criminals run an illegal ‘trade’ in women is because they are supplying something that is in demand in this society. This demand is created by a culture that glamorises the exploitation of women for their looks and their bodies.
From television advertising to lap dancing clubs and top-shelf magazines; from fashion models to ‘gangster rap’ that refers to women in the most insulting terms; western culture encourages the debasement, abuse and exploitation of women. Yet, no one addresses this in the media and no politician would act to stop it.
3. This attack is part of the drive to force Muslims to become ‘westernised’ – to leave their values and adopt secular liberal values.
Time and again we have seen Islam and Muslims smeared in the media, and each time the pressure is on them to adopt western values. In this case, their argument is that Muslims isolate themselves and look down on non-Muslims and if Muslims adopted the free mixing values of the west, like others in this country, they would not abuse ‘white women’ like this.
This analysis is perverse and twisted because the values that they want Muslims to adopt are the very ones that encourage such crimes against women. The gang ringleaders who were convicted were fully integrated with Britain’s sex, drugs and alcohol culture. What they did was not from Islam but as a result of the freedom culture in this society.
With such values prevalent in society, no woman feels safe – white, black or brown; Muslim or non-Muslim. Similarly, no one who adopts such values – Muslim or non-Muslim – is immune from becoming a criminal like those sentenced last week, for they are a product of this society. As Jack Straw himself put it “These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that…”.
4. Politicians like Jack Straw make a complete mockery and humiliate those Muslims who have supported them in the past.
Jack Straw has a track record when it comes to Muslims. He was the Foreign Secretary who argued for a war on Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the one who launched an attack on Muslim women for wearing niqab.
Yet despite his attacks on Muslims over the years, this man has been promoted by some Muslim leaders as a ‘friend’!
It is sad that some Muslim leaders encourage others to vote for politicians who may well flatter them to their faces, and who may support and promote them, whilst at the same time ‘slap’ the ordinary Muslims with their words and propaganda.
Dear Muslims – The best way men of any background can be immunised from sexually exploiting women – of any colour or background – is through adopting Islamic values, NOT by adopting the dominant permissive values in society, indoctrinated in the media, in the playground, through movies, music and TV.
Islam promotes values that oblige men to treat all women – Muslim or non-Muslim – with respect, always viewing her dignity as sacrosanct.
On the other hand, Britain’s capitalist liberal values have sanctioned the sexualisation of women in advertising, entertainment and the sex industry for profit; treating them like objects; cheapening their status in society and hence grooming a mindset amongst many men, regardless of race and background that they can use and abuse women as they like.
Our duty is to understand and educate our communities with Islam. The Muslim community has a duty to demonstrate the higher values of Islam in her actions and deeds so that the wider non-Muslim society can see the beauty of Islam.
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones!” [TMQ At-Tahrim 66:6]
8th Safar 1432
12th January 2011