Scrolling news:

‘Muslim grooming gangs’ narrative deliberately pernicious

28th Feb 2020

Over the past decade, several high-profile cases of the sexual exploitation of children have been increasingly, mischievously and even maliciously associated with so-called “Muslim/Asian grooming gangs.”

The entertainment industry and the socio-political elite have also been embroiled in cases of child sexual exploitation. The idea of “Muslim/Asian grooming gangs” has become a completely misleading staple of media and political narratives around child exploitation, even though academic experts have challenged the emotive term multiple times.

As reported in The Muslim News (p 3), a recent paper by Dr Ella Cockbain (Associate Professor at UCL in the Department of Security and Crime Science) and Waqas Tufail (Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University) illustrates how the narrative may even further harm the victims themselves.

The misleading claim of ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ has become a dangerous media narrative around child exploitation that is harming community relations in the UK.

The racist narrative has long shifted from extremist and far-right fringe groups and into the mainstream and liberal discourses too. It has been produced, maintained, and propagated by a range of actors including “liberal” actors and the promotion of fundamentally flawed pseudoscientific ‘research.’

The abhorrent sexual abuse of children has been reported in the UK throughout its history. Cases during the second half of the twentieth century have involved Christian religious institutions, schools, popular entertainers, politicians, military personnel, and other high-profile officials.

Yet over the past decade, a so-called ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ narrative has become established in popular and political discourse, including claims of how Muslim culture and faith supposedly perpetuate sexual abuse that collectively demonise British Muslim communities, especially young Muslim men.

Much of the toxic narrative has centred around towns in the North and Midlands regions of England, where many particularly high-profile criminal convictions have taken place. Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, has arguably become the place most synonymous with ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ and has attracted the most attention from far-right groups.

They have been biasedly substantiated concerning a spate of high-profile prosecutions in towns and cities such as Rotherham, Rochdale, Derby, Telford, Oxford, Huddersfield, and Newcastle.

The authors of the report in no way want to detract from the horrific crimes that have been in no doubt committed, nor to the grotesque harm or excuse the inexcusable. But as it is pointed out any claim of ‘grooming gangs’ simply do not correspond to established legal or social scientific categories and the various weak definitions offered by proponents. It has become a spurious media construct and one that has been heavily racialised from the very start.

In short, it is Islamophobic and adds the poisonous atmosphere that has become so prevalent that Muslims are an easy target and a convenient scapegoat to blame many of the ills within society.

Muslim men have been stereotyped as both religiously fanatical and prone to committing violent, sexual acts motivated by a patriarchal, misogynistic culture and backward, barbaric religion.

Constantly overlooked is the failure of protection agencies that have left the real victims virtually abandoned.

The horrific statistics show that in England alone, there were 43,522 recorded sexual offences against children under 16 years old in 2016–17 and a further 11,324 offences against young people aged between 16 and 18. Police recorded 6,009 rapes of children aged under 13 years. The vast majority of men on the UK sex offenders register for sexual crime are white.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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