“Muslim Sex Grooming” – The Times’ opportunistic Islamophobia exposed
In June 2013, seven men that had perpetrated the brutal rape, torture and abuse of vulnerable girls in the care system were sentenced. Five of the men were sentenced to life imprisonment with two serving between 12 and 20 years. Five out of the seven perpetrators were of Pakistani origin and this case comes after the high profile Rochdale grooming gang hit the headlines. Yesterday the Oxford Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) released its Serious Case Review (SCR).  The SCR details the massive systemic errors that allowed these despicable individuals to act with impunity. This morning the Times front page carried the story with the incendiary headline, ‘Call for national debate on Muslim sex grooming.’ 
This cynical exploitation of what is essentially a human tragedy is a sign of the acceptability of Islamophobia in our society. It does nothing to deal with the real issues of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), sexualisation of young children, failures in the care system and the systemic problems that allow CSE to take place. All it does is add to the existing climate of hatred against Muslims.
The horrific case of Child Sexual Exploitation in Oxford is a tragedy of epic proportions. Seven men groomed up to 373 girls for sex. All of the victims were in the care system, they were already vulnerable and needed to be protected. They were plied with drugs and alcohol, raped, used as prostitutes, tortured and trafficked around the country. Police were approached by victims at least six times, aged between 11 and 15. Each time they were ignored.
A number of social workers spoke of being aware at the fact that they were being groomed but no one joined the dots together until much of the damage had been done and the lives of these young people were destroyed by these sadistic men. The seven men were eventually convicted in 2013. It is clear that had they not been prosecuted they would have continued to exploit these girls and many others.
Amongst the serious failings the Serious Case Review (SCR) found included:
- – A lack of awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and in particular the hold the perpetrators can have over their victims.
- – In instances where exploitation was acknowledged, the focus was on protecting the victims rather than dealing with the perpetrators.
- – They were already vulnerable as a result of being in the care system. Their subsequent behaviour, be it their promiscuity or them going missing for prolonged periods was considered a reflection of being ‘difficult girls’.
- – There was a confusion around consent. Whilst the age of consent in British law is 16, children are sexualised at an early age and “are deemed able to consent to, say, contraception long before they legally able to have sex. A professional tolerance to knowing young teenagers were having sex with adults seems to have developed.” 
- – The lack of cooperation of victims was seen as a factor in avoiding prosecution and not viewing the crimes as crimes.
- – There was no evidence that the ethnic background of the perpetrators played any part in decisions not to prosecute.
- – There was a lack of a multi-agency approach and when agencies came together they did so at a low-level, this was the breakthrough that led to the shared recognition of the nature of the ‘group-related exploitation of multiple girls’.
Five of the seven convicted perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage, whilst all the girls were white and in the care system.
The Times article suggested foolishly that there is a link between ‘Muslim’ identity and the sexual exploitation of young girls. There are obvious problems with this claim.
- – Islām categorically forbids any illicit sexual relationship outside of marriage.
- – The clear actions of the perpetrators in plying victims with drink and drugs run counter to the Qur’anic prohibition of alcohol and intoxicants.
- – The ‘Muslim’ aspect of these perpetrators’ identity is therefore obviously not a motivating or causative factor, which should prompt any intelligent person who cares about the problem of CSE to look to other more rational aspects of their identities.
It seems obvious to say this and frankly ridiculous to even entertain the suggestion but these men were not acting according the moral teachings of Islām.
In the OSCB report numbering 133 pages, there is merely one reference to Pakistani/Muslim heritage as a factor in group CSE. The reference is a call to the government to look at why a significant proportion of those found guilty in this particular case are believed to be from this background, or more importantly self-identify from this background.
With a significant proportion of those found guilty nationally of group CSE being from a Pakistani and/or Muslim heritage, relevant government departments should research why this is the case, in order to guide prevention strategies. 
Crime is crime, the criminal justice system should not look at the ethnic, religious or other identity of the perpetrator unless it has a clear connection to the crime. Why are the other aspects of their lives not pertinent to this case, such as the fact that they had dead end jobs or were unemployed, or they saw trafficking as a lucrative way of making money?
On 19th February 2014, Shaykh Riyad Haniff-Nadwi, PhD, a well known scholar in Oxford wrote an open letter to the Muslim community in Oxford. He reiterated the damage these crimes have wreaked upon the image of Muslims, the smearing of Islām by some, the obvious lack of Islām in the perpetrators and the need for parents to be even more forthright in communicating our Islamic values, especially in the highly sexualised society that our children live in:
I am sure you are painfully aware of the recent high profile “Bullfinch” case of the abuse and molestation of young girls in the city of Oxford by men from the Muslim community. You will also be aware of the intense damage this has done to the public perception of the wider community of Muslims living in Oxford.
Some saw these tragic events as an opportunity to smear the religion of Islām and Muslims in general with the vile deeds of the perpetrators. There were national debates in which respectable academics, journalists and commentators appeared to abandon their faculties of reason and sanity to argue that these events – characterised by drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, prostitution, abuse, rape, and pimping – were somehow inspired by Islām.
I do not need to remind anyone about the well-known prohibitions of all of the above in Islām: these are forbidden actions in the consciousness of every sane Muslim. The behaviour of any Muslim indulging in such activities can be seen from only a single perspective: as a catastrophic drift away from the moral teachings of Islām. These vices are categorically prohibited by our faith. There are no ambiguities as to the verses of the Quran and the rulings of the major schools of jurisprudence in regard to these vices.
Now, the reason I have decided to write this letter is because I met an officer from the Thames Valley Police recently. He informed me that it seemed as if the Muslim community had not learnt any lessons from the consequences of the recent Bullfinch tragedy. Upon seeking clarification of his sombre statement, he informed me that these activities are continuing. Young men in our community are continuing to indulge in activities similar to those discovered in the Bullfinch operation and that it is only a matter of time before this whole calamity is repeated in Oxford.
Therefore, I humbly beg you to please speak to your children, and to your sons in particular, especially if they are of an age where they may be susceptible to drifting away from the moral teachings of Islām. Please make them aware of the dire consequences that have befallen the “Bullfinch” perpetrators, and more importantly the potential punishment for such actions in the Ākhirah (hereafter) on the Day of Judgement. Also, please remind them that in our technologically advanced world, crimes of this nature are hard to conceal, however much we may believe them to be secret. And even if we managed to conceal our bad deeds in this world, they will never be concealed from Allāh, Most High, who has the power to expose and punish us for our actions. Teach them that it is never too late to repent. Allāh forgives those who repent and who have a firm conviction to never return to sinning:
‘O you who have believed, repent to Allāh sincerely. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow on the Day when Allāh will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You have power over everything.”’ (Al-Quran 66:8)
And our Noble Prophet Muhammad (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. An Imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in respect of his family and is responsible for those in his care. A woman is a shepherd in respect of her husband’s house and is responsible for those in her care. A servant is a shepherd in respect of his master’s property and is responsible for what is in his care. All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Bukhari)
If as fathers and mothers you find it difficult to communicate these matters to your sons then for the sake of Allāh please seek help from the Imams of the mosques or the Ulama (scholars) in Oxford. 
This brings home a few very important lessons.
Firstly we have to be very clear that these perpetrators are not in any sense motivated by the markers of identity that they are ascribed with, especially Islām. In doing so we must not play into the hands of those that harbour hatred towards the Muslims and want to believe this is how Muslims really are.
Secondly, we have to call out this Islamophobia for what it is, this has clearly motivated the Times headline. We need to be vocal in challenging this by complaining to the Times and the press regulator, IPSO, despite its lack of independence and toothlessness.
Mend (www.mend.org.uk) have produced a useful template to make complaining easy and in reference to the Editors Code of Practice:
I wish to voice my strongest concern at a headline on the front page of The Times Newspaper today (4/3/15) ‘Call for national debate on Muslim Sex grooming’.
This is an offensive and misleading headline.
It quite obviously breeches the Editors Code of Practice under clause 12: Discrimination where ‘the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to race or religion and details of the individuals race or religion mus be avoided unless relevant to the story’ which it quite obviously is not.
I look forward to your urgent attention to this matter and an apology to the readers.
Finally, we have to realise that in Islām we have the best tool to safeguard the values of our children. There is an incident that took place in the Messenger of Allāh’s lifetime (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that provides useful advice to parents and their relationship and interaction with their children.
A young man came to the Messenger of Allāh and asked him for permission to commit zina. The people around the Messenger were aghast, how could he ask such a despicable thing. The reaction of Allāh’s Messenger was different, he beckoned the boy to him and asked him what he wanted, the boy repeated his request. The Messenger of Allāh did not show anger, he rather asked him a question which astonished the boy and brought home to him what he was asking.
“Would you like that someone did this with your mother?”
His response was unequivocally no, he loved his mother and he could not imagine anyone taking advantage of her in that way, he would die before he would let that happen.
The Messenger of Allāh proceeded to ask him, “What about your sister, or your daughter, or your aunt?”
Each time he was asked he answered no. He could never imagine it, let alone permit it.
As a result of this brief interaction the boy walked away with a resolute mind, he would not do to another’s mother, daughter, sister or aunt, what he would not want done to his own. Because every woman has a value that ought to be respected, Muslim or non-Muslim, it does not matter who.
This is often a scenario I mention when I run workshops for parents, how we can translate our values with our children in a way that will resonate with them, because in Islām lies the solutions for 21st century problems.
 http://www.oscb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SCR-into-CSE-in-Oxfordshire-FINAL-FOR-WEBSITE.pdf (1.3)
 http://www.oscb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SCR-into-CSE-in-Oxfordshire-FINAL-FOR-WEBSITE.pdf (9.14 iii)
Go be Muslims in a Muslim country. You don’t mix. Sharia & your culkture for want of a better word & your delusional beliefs are so different to anything a civilised society
The Quran is riddeld with verses of hatred
Quran (Sahih International 9:73) “O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination.”
The religion of peace?
You follow a stone age tribal load of garbage.
We don’t want your medieval divisive tribalism here.
Muslims are trouble wherever they are.
Go live in one of your stone age Muslim countries & live out your religious fantasies
Not in England thanks
You are alien colonisers
People are finally waking up to the evils of Islam & the Quran
We Brits don’t want you here
Will you all please emmigrate to Muslim countries. We don’t want you here
Ha Ha Ha…what an ungrateful little descendant of savages and animals you are. If the Muslims hadn’t brought your ancestors out of their mud huts and given them language, literature, medicine, philosophy and science then you would still be flinging s**t at each other…oh wait, not much has changed I suppose.
Anyway I’m sure those Muslims are regretting civilising your barbarian ancestors, since they went on to f*** up the entire world, spreading their ignorant apocalyptic, nihilistic worldviews, raping and pillaging half of the known world, colonising and exterminating the indigenous populations of nearly 3 entire continents…
And their ignorant, illiterate descendants (you) go around calling their civilisers savages. You couldn’t make up such an unfortunately ironic joke…
Crime should not be linked with rrligion. Evety criminal shall be punished as per the law.
The misguided politicians are characterised by their politics of fear. The right wing extremists are characteristised by the politics of hate. The immoral tabloid editors are characterised by the politics of drawing thier wages off the backs of infringing on the personal space of others.
Muslims knew of the immorality of the tabloid press long before Levison enquiry exposed it to the wider world. Congratulations O muslims for being the people in the know.
The right wing extremists/ satans dupes are just full of so much nonsense; One minute they want mosques to be shut down so British people can’t practice islam, thne the next they complain that British people are not practicing islam enough. LOL.
The sub-standard handling of this issue by the establishment along with other such issues (plot in Birmingham schools that never was, etc), shows that the system is not fit for purpose… O British people who have chosen to be informed by the wisdom of islam, congratulations on rising above the nonsense that is banded about in some quarters.
Have perseverance on what they say (there is a lot of nonsense being banded about). Glorify your lord, and praise him before the rising of the sun & before its setting. Also, during periods of the night, and at the two ends of the day so that you might find solace’ Quran(20:130)
I haven’t heard any claims from the taxi drivers that they were practicing muslims. Peter Sutcliffe/ Yorkshire Ripper was a Christian, so all Christian men are going round murdering women with screw drivers? There’s lies, damned lies, then there’s immoral tabloid editors.
‘Leave them to their make believe/ innuendo/ gossip/ tittle tattle.’ Quran(6:91)
People of other faith have the luxury that if they commit a crime, the Media choose not to link their crime to their religious beliefs unless, probably, they are a religious figure e.g. Imam, Priest, Guru, etc. Anyone who does an unbiased research on Islam will find out that the horrible crime that those men committed is also punishable in Islam, just like any other decent criminal justice system. Clearly, the Media has an agenda to keep on smearing a specific faith group.
I know there are a lot of people who have lodged a complaint against the Newspaper that they should apologise, I’d say the apology must be published at the same place on the Newspaper where the original News was published!
The author alleges “- Islām categorically forbids any illicit sexual relationship outside of marriage.”
The Muslim man is permitted to commit adultery with his SEX SLAVE.
70:29 And those who guard their chastity
70:30 Save with their wives AND THOSE THEIR RIGHT HANDS POSSESS, for thus they are not blameworthy;
The author should explore the nature of the harem in Islamic society over the centuries
70:29 And those who guard their private parts
70:30 Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed –
Answer from a qualified scholar:
As slavery is now abolished, the above no longer exists. It was a law that was set for that time. Not just in Arabia, but all over the world when slavery existed, men were using slave women in this way. Islam encouraged the freedom of slaves and many were set free or married with respect to the men who looked after them. Don’t look at the wrong doings of bad Muslims to justify a slur on our religion. Oh and yes, there were harems in Pagan Arabia, before the advent of Islam, but Islam put a stop to all activities that would dishonour women. Women were to be married and looked after in a respectful way, not just used, abused, and discarded, as was going on elsewhere in history…Rome?
You are quite right. Muslims should be identified by good deeds and belief. A name will not make someone muslim
Please correct the spelling of ‘breaches’ in the template letter.
The right wing media should ask for a debate on MPS involvement in child abuse , priests involvement in children rapes, historical rapes and abusers including the involvement of the BBC Management
In 2012, the 27 court cases that led to the convictions of 92 men. Some 79 (87 per cent) were reported as being of South Asian Muslim origin.
We could keep ethnic distribution out of the stats. But 87% is not an insignificant figure.
I’m with Shaykh Riyad Haniff-Nadwi, these irresponsible Muslim gangs are giving Islam a bad name. The Sikhs and Hindus object to the term “Asian Sex Grooming” and it seems rightly so. The media is lapping this up and having a field-day, because of the association with events in the Middle East – the common theme being Islam.
It’s for us to fix this asap. There should be a coordinated effort for fathers to tell sons to go halal. And more shamefully, for sons to tell their fathers to go halal. These crimes spread across a wide age range.
Good article. However it’s sad to say there are Pakistani men I know who have Muslim names and are going out with white non Muslim girls and sleeping with them before marriage. I see it all the time in universities and workplaces.The sad thing is they are not Islamic and do not portray good Muslims. These type of Muslim named men are giving a bad name for our religion. You see them using white women as girlfriends and then go on to marry subdued girls from abroad. You can say all the Hadith to them, but it doesn’t affect them. So yes, of course the paper is biased, but there are plenty of examples of so called Muslims exploiting English girls. These people should not be called Muslim, they are not following our beautiful religion. They are purely criminals, with Muslim names or born in Muslim families being the only connection to the rest of us, and should be punished as criminals.
These Pakistani youths are British born and educated in state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. They are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They have been mis-educated and de-educated and they do not know where they belong. They suffer from identity crises. They speak English in local accents. They are unable to speak, read and write Urdu language. They find themselves cut off from their cultural roots and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Such individuals are fully assimilated into British culture. What do you expect from such individuals? Instead of sending them to prison, they should be included in New Year Honour List. In the past a Muslim girl was awarded MBE for running way from her parents. Now there are round about 6000 runaway Muslim girls in the custody of LAs. They should also be included in the Honour List. Thanks to the British education system. Sex before marriage, sexual grooming, homosexuality. binge drinking, drug addiction and incivility are part and parcel of British values
Most teenage girls, but especially the girls who hang around the streets have no roots, low self esteem etc and so is easy prey for any group – any group – who cares to seduce them. Lots of “Kid’s” around 12 to 14 start partying! (Drinking, doing drugs & having sex). This was happening in the 60s & 70s, so I am sure it’s worse now. The big issue is where the PARENTS are. British parents already lost the battle to have any control over their children.
Britain’s so brilliant Education Ministry had embarked on teaching sex to 5 year olds from last year. Britain already has health and social services, including counselling for children who are sexually active. One initiative has distributed contraceptives to girls as young as 11. Tony Blair said it is the right thing to do– handing free contraceptives to British girls. The Institute for Public Policy Research found that a major reason for Britain’s thug generation was the collapse of British family life. Evidence also showed that British adults are afraid to control their drunk, high, fornicating and violent teens. The adults also lagged behind their European peers in confronting their teenagers about “antisocial” behavior.
The native Brits have double standards and are hypocrites; they don’t mention the fact that the majority of men who go to countries in East Asia looking for under aged sex are natives European men.
This is sickening. It’s no wonder Great Britain is in such a bad shape. Ten years old British girls are having babies out of wedlock. They are not allowed to get married but are allowed to have babies. Teenage pregnancy rate in Great Britain is the highest in Western Europe. It is a civilised country and Yemen is a backward country because it allows young girls to get married.
Indiscipline, incivility, binge drinking, drug addiction, gun and knife crimes, teenage pregnancies and abortion are part and parcel of British schooling. These are the reasons why majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Only less than 5% attend Muslim schools and more than 95% keep on attending state and church schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by non-Muslim monolingual teachers.
There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
The Times must apologise to the reader as they publish such an hate spreading and baseless headline