Posted on | November 27, 2010 | 35 Comments
A report on the sexual exploitation of British girls as young as 12 by a gang led by two 28-year-old Muslim men found that cultural issues were “a critical factor in making [the victims] easy targets for abusers.”
Official agencies “missed opportunities” to protect two victims of the gang, according to the newly released report by the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board (PDF).
England was shocked this week by the news — made public after the conclusion of three trials in which nine men were convicted — that at least 27 girls in Derbyshire had fallen prey to the gang led by Abid Saddique and Mohammed Liaqat, “each British-born and of Pakistani origin with an arranged marriage,” according to the U.K. Daily Mail. Authorities say the gang may have had dozens more victims.
Saddique and Liaqat cruised the streets in a BMW looking for young girls, sometimes approaching them near schools or shops. The men would use cell-phone calls and text messages to “groom” the girls, then ply them with alcohol and drugs and invite them to parties where they would be sexually assaulted. One girl said she was gang-raped by eight men.
In addition to the two gang leaders, four other Asian men — Akshay Kumar, 38, Faisal Mehmood, 24, Mohamed Imran Rehman, 26, and Ziafat Yasin, 31 — were convicted of sex and drug charges in the case. According to the Mail, Graham Blackham, 26, a convicted sex offender “was the only non-Asian member of the gang” tried in the case. Two other men — Naweed Liaqt, 33, brother of one of the gang leaders, and Farooq Amed, 28 — pleaded guilty to “perverting the course of justice,” the British newspaper reported.
‘Worthy of Wider Discussion’
In a “serious case report,” the Derbyshire board examined issues involved in the cases of two girls (identified as YP1 and YP2) who had been under care of local authorities and were victimized by the Liaqat-Saddique gang. The board also incorporated findings of a multi-agency review in the cases of 25 other victims of the gang.
“Issues of culture, ethnicity and identity were a feature both in relation to the victims and the alleged perpetrators,” the Derbyshire board reported. The two girls “were confused about their identity and sense of belonging. They both had a poor self image and had difficulty making friends and fitting in.”
These issues were “a critical factor in making [the girls] easy targets for abusers,” according to the board report. “Questions have been raised for this review as to whether the ethnic background and culture of the perpetrators had any bearing on their decision to take part in this activity, and also whether the ethnic origin of the victims was significant in making them targets for abuse.”
The board suggested these issues are “worthy of wider consideration, possibly on a national basis.”
According to a 2001 census report, about 4% of the British population is of Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi ancestry — about 2.3 million immigrants and children of immigrants, generically referred to as “Asians” in the United Kingdom. (Chinese and other Asians account for less than 1% of the total British population of 60 million.)
Despite the relatively small size of the Asian minority — the U.K. population is still more than 90% white — British race relations have often been fractious. Asian enclaves have been called “no-go areas” for whites. Since 9/11, British officials have struggled to address the issue of terrorism while also placating the Asian community, which is largely Muslim. Immigration was a topic of concern in the most recent parliamentary election, although major parties sought to avoid addressing it directly. Only the right-wing British National Party (BNP) has continued to agitate the issue.
The racial aspect of the Derbyshire case “is a subject that in politically correct modern Britain is almost taboo — rarely spoken about by the police, the courts or even the agencies that counsel the girls afterwards,” Sue Reid of the Daily Mail wrote in a special report. “The simple fact is that the perpetrators are almost all Asian and from the north of England — and their victims white.”
‘Girls I Did Not Respect’
Reid noted: “This week, the BBC reported the Derby case repeatedly on radio with barely a mention of the fact all but one of the gang members were Asian, or the fact the vast majority of the victims — 22 of the 27 mentioned in court — were white girls.”
Reid compared the Derbyshire gang-rapes to a case in South Yorkshire where five men were convicted earlier this month of similar crimes:
Five British-born Pakistanis have been jailed for abusing white girls as young as 12.
The ‘sexual predators’ preyed on their victims over several months and threatened them with violence if they refused their advances.
One of the men branded his victim a “white bitch” when she resisted, while a second smirked, “I’ve used you and abused you.”
The men attacked the four girls in play areas, parks and in the back of their cars, Sheffield Crown Court heard. . . .
The five, Umar Razaq, 24, Razwan Razaq, 30, Zafran Ramzan, 21, Adil Hussain, 20, and Mohsin Khan, 21, were found guilty of a string of sexually related offences against the girls, one aged 12, two aged 13 and one aged 16.
Reid also cited another case in the Manchester area, where a 14-year-old runaway was a “sex slave” for an Asian gang. Nine men ages 25 to 33 — Asad Hassan, Mohammed Basharat, Mohammed Khan, Ahmed Noorzai, Mohammed Anwar Safi, Aftab Khan, Abid Khaliq, Mohammed Atif and Najibullah Safi — were convicted in that case.
According to Reid, “there is a controversial, but relevant, cultural issue. Asian men of Pakistani heritage often believe white girls have low morals compared with Muslim girls.” She quoted testimony in the Derbyshire case, when Saddique told the court: “These are girls I did not respect and these are girls who are just partying and taking drugs and we had consensual sex.”
‘The Only Outlet Left to Them’
In 2003, Ann Cryer, a Labour Party member of Parliament, provoked controversy when she blamed Asian culture — specifically, arranged marriage — for the phenomenon of Asian men preying on underage girls:
“I believe there is a very strong cultural reason, it’s nothing to do with the religion let’s make it quite clear, it’s to do with the Asian culture, which wants these young men to marry these very young girls from their village, usually in Mayapore, and as with any other young men, they are seeking relationships elsewhere, and the sophisticated white woman wouldn’t have anything to do with them because they understand that at the end of the day, they are just seeking sex not genuine relationships and therefore the only outlet left to them is to look for very young girls through this organised sex ring that we are seeing in Keighley.”
Britain’s Channel 4 was forced to pull a 2004 program about the problem, “because of fears it could incite racial violence,” after complaints from Muslim leaders. Last year, three men from the Keighley area — Mohammed Zackriya, 21, Mohammed Taj, 37, Mohammed Shabir, 36 — were convicted of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old.
One British Muslim leader, Mohammed Shafiq, has spoken bluntly about the problem:
Shafiq’s comments were included in a May 2008 special episode of the BBC’s Panorama program:
Daily Mail: Asian gangs, schoolgirls and a sinister taboo
Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board: Serious Case Review
UPDATE II: The BlogProf reports on the rape epidemic in South Africa, while Bob Belvedere sees this as “what the future holds” for us.