An umbrella Muslim group in Yorkshire has ended its two day boycott of South Yorkshire Police over claims the forces “scapegoating” of local Muslims over the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal had led to spike in Islamophobic crimes.
The boycott was lifted on October 28 after the Rotherham Muslim Community Alliance (RMCA) and the police agreed on a proposal “to detail their strategy to tackle all forms of hate crimes (not only those that target British Muslims)…and make a commitment to involve community groups and organisations on whom the crimes impact within all stages of the process.”
The agreed proposal also states that Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings and Muhbeen Hussain representing RMCA and the British Muslim Youth will jointly request a meeting with Home Secretary, Theresa May, “to make her aware of the impact of both hate crimes and the repeat far right marches to Rotherham and ask for a commitment to ending the intimidation Muslims in Rotherham face.”
The proposal also addresses far-right marches in Rotherham as well as an independent inquiry into ‘policing tactics’ used during a march in Rotherham on September 5.
“The PCC to set up a panel involving community groups to consider the way in which demonstrations are policed along the lines of the panel of the PCC for Greater Manchester,” reads the proposal.
Labour MP Champion said; “South Yorkshire Police acknowledge that hate crimes are increasing in Rotherham. However, when I speak to my constituents they are not even reporting the crimes they endure and they don’t believe the police take them seriously.”
“It is completely unacceptable that my constituents, many of whom are third generation Rotherham, are too scared to go into town because of the abuse they face because they are a British Muslim. No one should feel a hostage in their own home because of their faith or ethnicity.”
In announcing its boycott of the police RMCA had claimed that since the publication of the Alexis Jay report last year, South Yorkshire Police has “deflected their own failures” by alleging political correctness had barred them from properly investigating the crimes years ago.
RMCA accused the police of peddling “ a pernicious lie that: historically they failed to act of allegations of CSE [Child Sexual Exploitation], because they were afraid of being branded ‘racist.’ This is a grotesque re-writing of history; something that we will no longer sit back and allow to take seed.”
They had also accused the police of saying “one thing when speaking to a Muslim audience, yet when speaking to a different audience, the Muslim community is simply cannon fodder.”
The Alexis Jay report found at least 1,400 children were subjected to atrocious sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with girls as young as 11 raped, trafficked, abducted and abused predominantly by men of Pakistani-heritage.
The Muslim Community of Rotherham say Muslims have been demonised since the report’s publication, adding “the entire Muslim community has been tarred with the same brush.”
“There is a perception in the minds of many ordinary people that all Muslims are now potential child abusers, or that they have been involved in some sort of cover-up,” say the group. ”
RMCA defended the “bold step” of boycotting the police adding that, “many [people] felt that the British Muslim Youth took a bold step when it led the very first UK Muslim led demonstration against CSE. Just as that bold step allowed us to stand with the victims of CSE to highlight the injustice done to those victims, we believe that this bold step has highlighted anti-Muslim hate crimes.”