Britain is struggling with decades of scandals that have seen young women abused.
The latest case, where a gang systematically grooming and sexually exploiting young women (some of whom were in care) has followed news about Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall, a host of TV personalities and numerous other cases.
Some in the media seem fixated by the racial aspect of the most recent case. Their fixation is despite information from Greater Manchester Police, in whose area the earlier Rochdale grooming offences took place, which said only 5% of the men on its sex offenders register are of an Asian background. Similarly Wendy Shepherd, child sexual exploitation project manager with Barnardo’s in the north of England, countered the racial myth, saying that most abusers are white.
People have heard of Stuart Hazell, convicted of sexually assaulting and then killing his partner’s 12-year old granddaughter, Tia Sharp.
This is a UK-wide problem – not confined to B-list celebrities and Asian gangs.
There have been cases of young women exploited by professional footballers and young boys abused by Catholic priests.
The case of Ariel Castro in the USA who kept three women as sexual slaves for ten years sadly illustrates that the problem is one deeply engrained in Western secular society – not confined to the UK.
But why would anyone be surprised?
One only has to hear workplace banter amongst a group of men, or locker room chat, or look at the legal phenomena that are lad’s mags or lap-dancing clubs to realise there is something profoundly rotten at the heart of society.
This is a society where women are forced to campaign to end the institution of ‘Page-3’; or where female students at Cambridge University have to campaign to end so-called entertainment that encourages women to demean themselves for the sport of male students. One student old the student newspaper “This particular event is not ‘just a bit of fun’. To use that tired excuse is to ignore the huge number of women who have contacted me to tell me how personally degraded, devalued and marginalised even the idea of this has made them feel.”
It is no good simply saying the police and social services have failed.
It is society that has collectively failed to protect its young from sexual exploitation.
Anyone who thinks this is an exaggeration, should ask why it is in Oxfordshire, Rochdale or the grimy corridors of the BBC, that vulnerable young women were so easily bought off with drink, drugs and flattery.
What has society done to the self-esteem of generations of young women that means they can be abused like this?
It is a society that allows women to be exploited sexually in the media, in advertising and in all walks of life – in the name of freedom but with a profit aim.
Some strands of Western society have become so extreme and deranged that when young Muslim men and women want to separate sexes in collective gatherings and social functions, they are labelled as ‘extreme’ and ‘backwards’.
When they follow the teachings of Islam – to lower the gaze, protect their modesty and chastity, cover their bodies, and stay away from free mixing of the sexes – some see them as a problem community rather than a model of decency.
When they explain the place of Islamic punishments for proven adultery and fornication in an Islamic state, they are seen as worthy as banning from speaking on public platforms.
Ask any ordinary man or woman whether the Oxford sex gang, Jimmy Savile or Stuart Hazell deserve a flogging (at the very least) and many will find a new found respect for the ability of Shari’ah law to prevent harms to young women more effectively than any weak sanction currently practiced in Britain today!
Human beings have sexual instincts.
You can, on a societal level, either fuel them through imagery on TV, magazines and the Web – or else minimise their agitation and channel them through the decent loving institution of marriage.
Human beings can either be encouraged to see themselves as individual agents, whose purpose in life is to please themselves – or as part of society, with duties towards others, and whose purpose in life is to please their Creator, and so live their lives as such.
Allah SWT says:
“Indeed, We created man in finest mould
Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low
Except for those who believe do right actions”
[Surah 95: 4-6]
The lesson for Muslims in Britain is that no one is safe from being integrated into the values of this secular liberal society unless they have taqwa of Allah and adhere to His rules of conduct and decency.
It is little wonder that when people hear about the noble Islamic values, the largest group that embrace them and accept Islam are young women.
More than ever Muslims in the UK need to see their role in Britain, to understand their Islam, secure Islamic values in our community, and to carry them to others.
“Indeed, Allah commands justice, and doing good, and giving to relatives.
And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny.
He warns you so that hopefully you will pay heed”.