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Rotherham Grooming: Inconvenient Facts EXPOSED

Rotherham grooming. We really should have read the Jay Report.

This week three brothers were given a 19 to 35 year imprisonment sentence for their abhorrent abuse of vulnerable young girls in Rotherham. A sensitive topic, and one that in no way detracts from the stories of the victims, is concern over the huge damage the press coverage of this case has caused the Muslim community as a whole and the Pakistani heritage community in particular. There is also a feeling of intimidation to acquiesce to demands to apologise and a fear that questioning the narrative will be portrayed as trying to reduce the significance of the crimes. Muslims stand united in condemnation of the criminals and in sympathy for the innocent victims. The only issue we have is the unbalanced furore over the Pakistani criminals and the virtual silence over the non-Muslims who have committed the same crimes.

The case began with a story in The Times in 2013 which forced authorities to take action to protect the victims of abuse who they had been aware of for some years but had failed to protect. The initial case involved a gang of Asian men who had been abusing young white girls they had picked up from the streets of Rotherham, many of them in social care and made vulnerable by a lack of adult supervision. The exposure of the initial gang led to other gangs being exposed and further victims of “on-street grooming” coming forward.

News coverage of gangs of Pakistani men abusing white girls exploded and the media constrained the story to the particular type of grooming the Pakistani men were involved in. To anyone following the story, it looked as though Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) was something unique to the Pakistani community. Just as we have seen with terrorism; repeated calls were made for the community as a whole to apologise and take responsibility. Muslim organisations such as the MCB and the Ramadan Foundation dutifully accepted collective responsibility on our behalf with press releases such as: “Child Abuse in Rotherham: We Cannot Let This Happen Again”[1] and by saying things like “Until British Pakistanis accept that this is a problem for our community we will not be able to eradicate this evil. Burying our head in the sand as the usual response is not good enough.”[2]

Rotherham Council commissioned an independent report into CSE in Rotherham which was led by Professor Alexis Jay and in August 2014 she published her “Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013”.[3]

In an epic failure for the Muslim community it seems we did not actually read the report and instead have relied on the way it has been presented by the media. To this day most people accept as fact that CSE is carried out by “gangs of predominantly Pakistani men.” Unchallenged for 2 years an article on the Telegraph website says all “1400 girls have been sexually abused by Asian men”.[4]

What the Jay Report actually said was:

“As has been stated many times before, there is no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation, and across the UK the greatest numbers of perpetrators of CSE are white men. The second largest category, according to the Children’s Commissioner’s report, are those from a minority ethnic background, particularly those recorded as ‘Asian’. In Rotherham, the majority of known perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage including the five men convicted in 2010. The file reading carried out by the Inquiry also confirmed that the ethnic origin of many perpetrators was ‘Asian’. In one major case in the mid-2000s, the convicted perpetrator was Afghan.”

It is no surprise at all that the second largest group nationally after whites is a minority, who else could it be? And ‘Asian’ is the largest minority group, twice as numerous as blacks. The key point regarding Rotherham is “In Rotherham, the majority of known perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage including the five men convicted in 2010.” She is clearly referring to the tiny number of previous convictions before the story blew up and victims started coming forward in larger numbers. This is confirmed by mentioning next that the current enquiry’s reading of the case files (rather than convictions) showed that many perpetrators were Asian. Previous convictions: “majority Asian” while other cases, presumably the new unresolved cases: “many Asians”, a very unspecific term and presumably the majority were therefore not Asian or she would have said it. It is hardly surprising when the first gang to be exposed was Asian that many of the suspects she would see first were Asians.

Then in August 2015 local Sheffield paper The Star published a story titled “Majority of Rotherham child exploitation suspects are white, claims new report”.[5] In fact the data was not that new but related to the time the Jay Report was being compiled. The story quotes offender profile data that was obtained from the South Yorkshire Police and which was in a draft report presented to the Council by Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board.

“The number of offenders, including suspects, were mainly White (68%); 24% were Asian; 5% were from other BME communities; and 3% of offenders were female”.[6]

Not a single national newspaper reported this very illuminating data.

The data covered a key two year period between October 2012 – October 2014, that is, from before the story went public and victims started coming forward until the end of the period within which Professor Jay was collecting data for her report. She says in the Preface that “any evidence available to me up till June 2014 would be included in the report.” She claims to have had evidence pointing to there being 1,400 potential victims and alludes to having data on the ethnicity of the suspects which must surely be the same data the South Yorkshire Police had. No one can say it is an inaccuracy for her to claim that 24% of suspects being Asian is “many”, and it means the Asian community are over-represented in that sample, but it is not “the majority” or “mostly Asian” as reported by all sections of the media. This inaccuracy has been invariably understood by the public, and, in fact, has been ever since by politicians as well, to mean this is a uniquely Pakistani problem with just a few anomalous others.

The question must be: If the figures were known why were they not clearly presented in the Jay Report? And, why, when the media ran with it being a predominantly Asian phenomenon, Professor Jay made no apparent attempt to correct them?

The plot thickens

Rotherham council has been accused many times of cover-ups relating to this case.[7] In an interesting twist, the council demanded that the data showing that the majority of suspects were white be removed from the new report.[8] Not because they feared it was inaccurate, it was directly from South Yorkshire Police after all, but because “some of the data referenced could be misleading and was not telling services what they wanted to know”. Would it be misleading to have a clearer picture that the majority of perpetrators of the crime they are trying to tackle are not from the community everyone has come to expect? Surely facts are facts and the services could take them or leave them. And they said that “The data might not show enough distinction between CSE and other forms of sexual offence, for example, intra familial abuse.” Which was clearly not a very good excuse because the data specifically mentioned it was relating just to CSE.

It makes no sense whatsoever to remove from a central policy document titled “Child Sexual Exploitation – The Way Forward for Rotherham” the only reference available anywhere to the fact that 76% of perpetrators would not be as Asian as everyone would otherwise be expecting, and that 68% would in fact be white. Here’s the attendance register for the meeting http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/mgMeetingAttendance.aspx?ID=13344

The chair of the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board resigned at the meeting and his replacement said:

“Collecting accurate data about Child Sexual Exploitation is an evolving process. Partners and ourselves continue to build on our knowledge and are using available data taken at a snap shot in time, but it is anticipated the data will become over time more reflective of the needs of victims and survivors of CSE.”

Which, as the data has not resurfaced in any form whatsoever, we can take to be council speak for: “We buried it”

The South Yorkshire Police have confirmed they have 300 suspects but did not mention the racial profile data which they obviously have available and said “they would not rush into making arrests”.[9] It looks as though the world will continue to believe those 300 suspects are all Pakistani for some time to come. The police did however confirm that at least 2 suspects are serving or former Rotherham Councillors.[10]

Fear of being seen as racist?

Another key aspect of the case and one that plays into anti-Muslim propagandists’ hands is that nothing was done to protect white girls from predatory Muslim men because of a fear of being seen as racist.[11]

South Yorkshire Police have denied it had been reluctant to tackle CSE or that “ethnic origin had been a factor” in its decisions.[12] The Jay Report is used repeatedly by the media and government to back up the myth but in fact it says:

“Within the Council, we found no evidence of children’s social care staff being influenced by concerns about the ethnic origins of suspected perpetrators when dealing with individual child protection cases, including CSE.”

The only hint towards this is where the report mentions an undefined perception that some senior people wanted to “’downplay’ the ethnic dimensions of CSE”. This is nowhere near meaning people should avoid investigating or prosecuting minorities simply because they were minorities and indeed they found no evidence of that. The fact is, as mentioned above, the Jay Report emphasises that the majority of convictions in Rotherham until that date had been of Asian men and also that the council had dealt with 12 cases of forced marriage in the Asian community, an equally sensitive topic, in the first few months of 2005 alone. It seems that the idea that there was a completely hands off approach to dealing with the Asian community is not borne out by the evidence.

While it isn’t a very good excuse for not tackling a crime committed by 68% white perpetrators, it is a convenient way to shift the blame back onto the Asian community; to say fear of offending them prevented the authorities from doing their jobs. The narrative becomes: “perhaps if Asians weren’t so damn touchy these girls would have been protected”.

Are Asians over-represented nationally in child abuse?

The short answer seems to be no. The white population of the UK is 86%. The Crown Prosecution Service’s lead on child sexual abuse says that white perpetrators account for between 80 and 90% of child abuse crimes.[13] The new specific crime of “on-street grooming” is where Asians are over-represented relative to their population. This has been attributed to the night-time economy many Asians work in; takeaways and taxi driving. Asians are more often on the street so that is naturally where their crimes might occur.

No-one should try to say any child abuse crime is more or less than another because of where it takes place but that is what is being attempted. We must be more careful not to allow non-Muslims to draw a line around a specific way Muslims are committing a widely committed crime in order for them to portray us as the only ones committing that crime. If the police are tasked with tackling that form of the crime, as they have been with on-street grooming, then of course the statistics will show an over representation, Muslim organisations will start apologising again and it will all go to fuel the Islamophobic media feeding frenzy.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.mcb.org.uk/child-abuse-in-rotherham-we-cannot-let-this-happen-again/

[2] http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/crime/pakistanis-must-face-up-to-this-grooming-evil-says-community-leader-1-7746484

[3] http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham.pdf

[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11059138/Rotherham-In-the-face-of-such-evil-who-is-the-racist-now.html

[5] http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/majority-of-rotherham-child-exploitation-suspects-are-white-claims-new-report-1-7392637

[6] http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/documents/s100912/CSE_The_Way_Forward_2015_18%20Consultation%20Draft.pdf

[7] http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/how-rotherham-council-tried-to-cover-up-child-abuse-scandal-1-7088847

[8] http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/crime/misleading-claim-on-most-rotherham-cse-abusers-being-white-wrongly-included-in-report-1-7587779

[9] http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/586677/Rotherham-child-abuse-scandal-300-more-suspects-identified-by-police-so-why-no-arrests

[10] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11695826/Rotherham-child-sex-abuse-300-new-suspects.html

[11] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11059138/Rotherham-In-the-face-of-such-evil-who-is-the-racist-now.html

[12] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-28934963

[13] http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/03/nazir-afzal-there-is-no-religious-basis-for-the-abuse-in-rotherham

About Abdullah Thomson

Abdullah reverted to Islam from agnosticism 10 years ago. He works in allied health and as the secretary of his local mosque. He continues to try his best to understand the challenges of the dunya in the light of revelation and tries to bring his experience of previously being a British non-Muslim to his da'wah efforts.

18 comments

  1. Assalamu Alaykum,

    First of all, I think this is an extremley interesting article, which highlights a number of issues with the media’s coverage of the grooming gangs.

    However I still think it’s important to acknowledge some of the more worrying facts that remain in lights of what you’ve written. If 24% of recorded offenders between the period ’12-’15 were of Pakistani, then this should be read in tandem with the fact that only 4% of Rotherams population is Pakistani:

    If we look at your data
    {white sex offender: 68%. pakistani sex offender: 24%}
    in Tandem with :
    {white population Rotheram: 90%, Pakistani population Rotheram4%} [1][2]

    Then we see that the probaility of being a sex offender given that your Pakistani, P(sexOffender | Pakistani), is nearly 8.9 times larger than probability of being a sex offender given that your white, P(sexOffender | White). If you want to reproduce the math you can use Bayes rule with the data above.

    This is ratio is quite alarming and justifies the statement that the number of sex offenders were ‘disproportionately’ Pakistani. Whilst I agree that media coverage needs to be ‘more’ transparent, I don’t think the solution is throwing all our toys out the pram. We should acknowledge the problem, and deal with this ratio whilst requesting greater data transparency from our press.

    References:
    [1] http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/jsna/info/23/people/54/ethnicity_and_cultural_identity
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_districts_and_their_ethnic_composition

    • No attempt has been made to down play the crimes of the few this article is purely about the massive disparity between coverage of the minority Asian perpetrators and the 3x majority non-Asian perpetrators who are literally hidden in the media coverage of this.

      The dis-proportionality of Asian (some Sikh and Hindu probably included don’t forget) perpetrators compared to population was mentioned but i think adequately explained. You seem to have missed that point and talk about “sex offenders” but taking all forms of CSE together they are not over represented and that’s a very important point to note. That they are over represented in a very particular type of CSE is likely down to circumstances. The white man is sitting at home grooming on-line eating a take away delivered by an Asian man who spends his evenings out on the street. The white man commits his CSE where he is, as does the Asian man. Take it all together and the proportion of criminals of white or Asian is in line with the proportion of the population.

      To continually highlight the CSE where Asians are over represented while giving less media attention to the other types would be bad enough. To also report that 100% of the perpetrators of this selected crime are Pakistani when in fact it’s less than 24% is in my mind a clear sign of a deliberate attempt to smear an entire community for the crimes of a few. Which is pretty unforgivable.

      • Assalamu Alaykum,

        I hope you are well. I absolutely agree that the blatant fudging of numbers is unacceptable and that this type of journalism needs confronting. I also see your point now about the variants of CSE. Having said that please don’t get offended if I just make a few more points:
        I read the Nafiz-Guardian interview which states that he said that 80-90% of CSE crimes nationwide are done by whites. Which means that white crime in all CSE crimes is fairly distributed, it does not offer any insight as to whether for the remaining 20-10% of CSE the Asians asunder/fairly/over represented. So saying that they are overrepresented is wrong (as a few papers have done), fairly or under is also wrong. (Maybe you tried to allude to this, and I’m just being redundant)
        In fact Nafz even said “I don’t want to play it down. The ethnicity of these perpetrators is what it is. It is a matter of fact. It is an issue that has to be addressed by the state…” . So it appears he sees it as a variable that needs investigation, not dismissal.
        In short brother I strongly agree with this principle of fair journalism that does not single out communities for bullying. Whites, browns, blues all need to be treated equal across the board.
        However, given this is a Muslim community(Islami21c) or so I believe, I just though a more balanced article would have been to say that the ethnicity remains an unknown variable that might be correlated to CSE crime.. I also feel that maybe an article against CSE crimes when these crimes happen is also due, without the need for these stats analysis.

        • The ethnicity is not entirely unknown, it is the stats i quoted as recorded by the police. There does not seem to be any credible source saying that Pakistanis or Asians generally are inherently prone to this, only a desperate braying media claiming falsely that Muslims are prone which goes along very nicely with their slandering of our Prophet (SAW) over his marriage to Aisha (RA).

          There have been articles on Islam21c condemning child abuse, though i think that to see an omission of condemnation as tantamount to approval or negligence is very reminiscent of the continual calls to condemn terrorism that was also no more to do with us specifically than anyone else in the country. The MCB headline quoted in the article “We Cannot Let This Happen Again” was an utter travesty. Did WE let it happen? Did you?? If white crime happens its a failure of the authorities so why is it always a failure of our community when a Muslim commits a crime?

          http://www.islam21c.com/politics/paedophiles-beware-of-inescapable-justice/

          http://www.islam21c.com/politics/3598-the-effects-of-abuse-on-child-development-a-summary-of-the-research/

  2. What a despicable and deliberately misleading article. You are conflating two things here. Child sex offenders in society as a whole and grooming of young vulnerable girls. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this second group is disproportionately represented by Muslim/Pakistani heritage men. For example: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-grooming-gangs/18739

    To pretend otherwise risks ignoring the problem in the communities where it is most prevalent. This in turns risking perpetuating the problem.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      The data quoted in the article related to grooming in Rotherham which was not only taking place on the street. Girls were picked up there then passed around in houses for months and years, the abuse that followed was the crime and the facts are only 24% of suspects were Asian. Talk to South Yorkshire Police if you have proof to the contrary. The article said Asian men are over represented because of the hours and places they work, on the street. While more white men are grooming our daughters while they are “safely” in their bedrooms via the internet the girls who are on the street late at night are falling prey to some of the men that are there. Which one is harder to control and more insidious? But you want us to focus just on street grooming? What are you doing about internet grooming in your community Carl?

      The data on the channel 4 site sounds very incomplete clearly ethnicity is not always recorded but when it is, there is a majority asian background, suggesting perhaps that it is more likely in cases where the suspects are from an ethnic background that that information was then recorded, but still interestingly it shows for example “the seven “Type 2 groups” – paedophile rings rather than grooming gangs – “were reported as exclusively of white ethnicity”.

      However when it comes to conviction we find that “The 27 court cases that we found led to the convictions of 92 men. Some 79 (87 per cent) were reported as being of South Asian Muslim origin.”

      Now why would that be do you think? It is FAR from being 87% of the suspects are Asian, why then do you think Asian Muslims are being disproportionately prosecuted?

      As the national stats for CSE show there are men from all sides of the community involved, the answer is to take better care of our girls and young women to protect them from the predatory men who i expect will exist forever in all our communities, just a sad fact of life. Trying to make out this is just an Asian thing is what is despicable and misleading, the article above just redressed the balance.

  3. I think that CEO of Ramadhan foundation should consider resigning as he is just peddling the establishment line that muslims are the ‘baddies’ instead of using his intellect to question the information he is fed. Either stand up against Islamophobia or stop claiming to represent Muslims.

  4. Mind the gap between reality and fantasy/ gossip (tabloids). Excellent speech the other year by the Pope as he castigated the vile nature of gossip & innuendo. Indeed scripture/ Quran is the benchmark of standards and values/ universal civilisation. I commend it to my fellow ctizens/ countryman/ countrywomen/ world citizens. According to democracy one needs to get both sides of the argument before they make up their mind. Since muslims never nominated immoral tabloid editors or extremist politicians as their spokes people then those wanting to practice democracy need to get the other side of the story from the official source. Free copies of Quran available at an internet cafe near you. “If some immoral individual (fasiq) comes to you with some ‘news’ then verify its veracity, lest you victimise a people (unjustly) and then afterwards regret what you have done.” Quran(49:6)

  5. There’s lies, damned lies, then there’s immoral gutter tabloid editors.

  6. So just to recap then. The police, council and government inspector all knew for years this was a majority white problem. The police aren’t bothering to prosecute the whites, the council deliberately buried the ethnicity breakdown which only appeared in a draft report by mistake and the government inspector failed to mention that only 24% were Asian (probably some Sikhs and Hindus as well then) and allowed the whole world to go on a hating spree against Pakistanis immigrants!

    And the government say they are serious about tackling Islamophobia?!!!

    • Much of UK govt. policy is driven by gossip & innuendo. The more the circulation of newspapers goes down with the advent of internet, the more nonsense the gutter tabloids print.

  7. A very well written piece of investigative journalism free from the bias of the tabloids but laden with knife sharp perspective, which leaves the claims into evenly cut pieces…

    MashaAllah La quwwata Illah billah.
    I will meet you brother Abdullah before you know it, so be prepared to receive a brotherly greeting

  8. One of the perennial problems we Muslims have in the UK, nay all over the west, is that our so called representative organisations and self-styled leaders are too eager to accept collective responsibility on our behalf and on occasions prematurely to the detriment of the Ummah; almost ingratiating and servile in their statements. They are doing no one any favours. Abdullah Thomson’s article highlights these issues too.

  9. Not Finding Excuses

    Anyway, it is a depressing fact that Pakistani men are hugely over-represented when it comes to cases of street-gang sexual grooming.

    From 2009 to 2011, out of 77 convictions for grooming, rape and other predatory sex crimes in the UK, no fewer than 67 involved Pakistani men.

    Chief Executive of the Ramadan Foundation.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      Of course it’s depressing that any Muslims are committing any crimes but you are still not understanding the full picture here.

      Ask yourself how it can be that 76% of suspects are not Asian but 87% of convictions are Asian.

      That’s 76% in Rotherham admittedly but we are finding higher percentages in other areas which will be revealed soon inshaAllah

    • Abdullah Thomson

      You also didn’t understand the last point in the article. They have defined a new crime of “on-street grooming” which filters out all the other types of grooming that are more typical for white people such as via the internet and church leaders etc then make a big media campaign about grooming being mainly an Asian thing.

      No way in a 2 year period were there only 10 non-Asian grooming cases if you include all types. Why does the Ramadan Foundation chairman not understand such a simple concept. He is clearly not fit to be claiming to represent us if he will not defend us against obvious propaganda.

      • Readers don’t understand the points Abdullah is making and start making inappropriate comments.
        Pleas read and understand the article first.
        They made a category just to make it sound like grooming is a Muslim only issue to inflate the figures in the media!

    • “From 2009 to 2011, out of 77 convictions for grooming, rape and other predatory sex crimes in the UK, no fewer than 67 involved Pakistani men.

      Chief Executive of the Ramadan Foundation.”

      Where did you get these figures from? You don’t quote the source.

      Why are you blindly accepting the media’s lies when you have a duty to verify the truth of their unsubstantiated claims?

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