Pakistani ‘sex gangs’ who don’t prey on British girls

Published: January 11, 2011
Email

There should be no shame or fear in condemning the racialised discourse that is framing the very grave issue of sexual exploitation.

Allegations that Pakistani men acquire sexual perversions as a result of their sexually oppressive cultures, by many commentators, including David Aaronovitch, former Labour MP Ann Cryer, and now Jack Straw—and coverage of these views by more-than-delighted right wing publications like the Telegraph, the Daily Mail and The Sun—is fast becoming an accepted universal truth.

The increasingly frenzy follows a half-baked investigation by British newspaper The Times, which ostensibly concludes that Asian British men are specifically targeting white girls between the ages of 12 to 16 for “street grooming” and sexual exploitation.

Following this, prominent Labour politician Jack Straw warned that British Pakistani men regard white girls as “easy meat” for sexual abuse.

As media coverage of the investigation becomes broader, these statistics are being used to erroneously construct a profile of the psycho-sexual disposition of Pakistani men in Britain.

Not only are a very small sample of the thousands of cases relating to sexual abuse of underage girls examined, but the statistics are deliberately tailored to indict men of Pakistani origin, and set up a dialectic between them and “young, innocent, vulnerable white girls.”

Pakistani men out to get British girls?

The profiling is flawed on many levels; it manipulates statistics, picks and chooses which to report or investigate, clumsily homogenises Muslim culture, and generalises the experiences of British men with a Pakistani background. Ultimately, it is a calculated effort by The Times to indict men of Pakistani and Muslim origin by manipulating statistics, thereby setting up yet another racial dialectic where whites are targeted and victimised by Muslims in Britain.

The proponents of this investigation are presenting their argument with a vital disclaimer which serves to hinder attempts at rebuttal. There is the suggestion that there has been a deliberate cover-up of these issues, because organisations and institutions are too afraid to broach the race element, for fear of being branded racist. The effect this has is to preemptively dismiss or deflate any criticism that arises on the grounds of being racist.

But let us not be deceived. The investigation is intrinsically racist in its very methods and presentation of statistics, let along the shockingly racist and patronising conclusions that commentators are drawing from it.

Muslim response

Pakistani and Muslim communities are floundering for an adequate response. Chairman of the Ramadhan Foundation in the UK, Mohammed Shafiq, has been brought on by many media outlets to comment. He wrote in The Times:

“The simple answer is that these people think that white girls have fewer morals and are less valuable than our girls […] a form of racism that is abhorrent and totally unacceptable in a society that prides itself on equality and justice.”

This is, however, a gross and unfounded extrapolation, which only serves to echo cultural stereotypes.

Rather than responding to the incriminating evidence with apologies and offers of appeasement, Pakistani and Muslim communities and organisations should challenge the authenticity of these allegations. Labour Party’s Ms Cryer’s claimed:

“many of these men are already married or have been promised in marriage to someone they’ve never met, some cousin from their village in Mirpur who is almost certainly illiterate…”

This is shockingly patronising, founded in false stereotypes, and should be exposed as such.

Times journalist David Aaronovitch self-assuredly concludes:

By and large the seducers come from formerly rural communities that tend to both idealise and oppress women. The notion of what the “good” woman is as a mother, wife, daughter, may be enforced without significant regard to the woman’s own wishes. And one of these notions concerns the importance of virginity before marriage.

There is no evidence or research to support these assumptions – they are pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style guesses, and entirely fallacious.

There should be no shame or fear in condemning the racialised discourse that is framing the very grave issue of sexual exploitation. It would be far more accurate for Mr Shafiq to turn his haughty accusations of racism away from the “Asian men” who single out white girls — a “fact” that is absolutely impossible to prove from these statistics — to the manner in which this is being discussed by politicians and the media: in itself, “a form of racism that is abhorrent and totally acceptable in a society that prides itself on equality and justice.”

Iman Qureshi

Iman Qureshi

A freelance journalist currently based in London. Qureshi recently completed an MSc in postcolonial literature at the University of Edinburgh and tweets @ImanQureshi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.