Javid slammed for ‘Asian paedophiles’ comment

30th Nov 2018
Javid slammed for ‘Asian paedophiles’ comment

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid (Photo: FCO/Creative Commons)

Harun Nasrullah

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has been slammed by civil rights campaigners and parliamentarians for tweeting about ‘Asian paedophiles’ on October 19.

Javid was reacting on the conviction of 20 men in Huddersfield for more than 120 offences against 15 girls.

Javid tweeted: ‘These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas.’

The tweet was quickly condemned for noting the perpetrators’ ethnicity. Labour MP David Lammy said Javid had brought the Home Office into “disrepute”

“By singling out ‘Asians’ he not only panders to the far right but increases the risk of violence and abuse against minorities across the country. Whatever the underlying motives of the offenders involved, paedophilia is an abhorrent crime that affects all communities. It does no service to the victims of this evil to pin the blame on any one group.”

Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Attempts by authorities, and now it seems the Government, to attribute these crimes to one ethnic group, does nothing to support these vulnerable women in the way of social services, mental health services or the resources needed by the police to bring all sexual predators to justice.

“The only universal facts are that the scale of sexual abuse in this country is staggering, the needs of these vulnerable women and girls are repeatedly ignored and this Government is simply not doing enough to combat it.”

In July, Javid ordered research to be carried out into the characteristics of child sexual abuse gangs. The research will look into how such gangs operate and how that compares to other forms of child sexual abuse.

Dr Zubaida Haque, the Deputy Director of the Runnymede Trust, said: “I agree with him [Javid] – we absolutely need to applaud the victims and survivors for coming forward. It’s a tremendous act of courage considering the multiple acts of abuse that they’ve had to experience.

“But racialising this crime and focusing on the ethnicity of the sexual predators has done little to address why and how these victims were vulnerable to the prey of these sexual predators.

“It’s extraordinary that Sajid Javid set up an inquiry to look at why Asian men were more likely to be in CSE [child sexual exploitation] grooming gangs when his priority all the time should have been why and how victims were vulnerable and where safeguards had failed.”

Shoaib Khan, a human rights lawyer, said: “This tweet is irresponsible, dangerous and divisive. It is unbelievable that it is a genuine tweet from a serving home secretary, who was previously communities secretary.

“Not only does it show just how tone-deaf the Home Secretary is to British society, but it is factually incorrect. In particular, the perpetuation of the myth that ‘no-go areas’ exist in this country is particularly irresponsible and misleading.

“Defining these criminals by their ethnicity is also playing right into the hands of the far right. Unless it is now Home Office policy that any time an incident is reported, the perpetrator’s ethnicity will be mentioned, the Home Secretary should admit he was wrong, retract this tweet and apologise.”

Experts have also questioned research by the counter-extremism think-tank, the Quilliam Foundation.

The report Group-Based Child Sexual Exploitation: Dissecting Grooming Gangs, released in December last year, reported that since 2005, 84 per cent of ‘grooming gang’ offenders were South Asian with the majority of whom being of Pakistani origin with Muslim heritage.

However, in a series of tweets, Dr Ella Cockbain, a lecturer in Security and Crime Science at University College London, said that the Report’s “own definition of ‘this specific crime profile’ is far from specific.

The two supposed ‘distinguishing factors’ could and do apply to numerous forms of child sex abuse: ‘typical grooming techniques’ and groups of two or more offenders.”

Dr Cockbain asked why grooming and group crimes against male victims and abusers “operating online, in schools, places of worship, sports clubs” were seemingly excluded.“If these contexts were included, @QuilliamOrg’s final numbers seem very low. I suspect they were excluded. Their inclusion could have dramatically altered the results”, said Cockbain, whose primary research explores serious and organised crime and its prevention.

She was also sceptical of methodology particularly the selection process. The data included 58 gangs’ prosecutions with 264 individual convictions.

“How did they decide which of the cases they found to include in their final data (sample)? Specific inclusion parameters let you filter out irrelevant results consistently. Without a precise definition, it is hard to have robust parameters.”

“Could @QuilliamOrg’s really have assessed reliably from media coverage, say, whether these elusive ‘typical grooming techniques’ necessary for inclusion had indeed been used by the offenders in question? I’m not convinced” she said.

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