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Gaza: Israel air strikes killed more Palestinian civilians in a month than Russia killed Ukrainian civilians in 20 months

Home Secretary’s Pakistani grooming claim was misleading, rules press regulator

27th Oct 2023

Nadine Osman

The Home Secretary’s claim that child grooming groups were “almost all British-Pakistani men” was misleading, ruled the UK’s press regulator. On October 30, IPSO directed the Mail on Sunday to publish a correction to an opinion piece by Suella Braverman on April 2.

A source close to Braverman branded the verdict “perverse.” “The home secretary referred [in the Mail on Sunday article] to the ‘grooming gangs’ phenomenon’ such as the high-profile cases in Rochdale and Rotherham.

“Independent reports found that British-Pakistani men predominated among the perpetrators,” the source told the BBC. Adding, “She did not refer to all group-based child sexual abuse. It’s a perverse decision that requires a wilful misreading of the piece and is clearly a political attack, co-opting IPSO from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).”

The Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) of the MCB, which submitted the complaint, hit back, accusing the Home Secretary’s team of “lashing out” for being “called out on objectively false claims.”

In the article, Braverman focused initially on the Rotherham abuse scandal but later argued that the perpetrators behind the “grooming gangs’ phenomenon” were “groups of men, almost all British-Pakistani, who hold cultural attitudes completely incompatible with British values”.

“They have been left mostly unchallenged, both within their communities and by wider society, despite their activities being an open secret. Many of them have gone unpunished and remain at large.”

In its ruling, the IPSO concluded that a “direct link between the identified ethnic group and a particular form of offending” was “misleading” where it was not made clear that this referred specifically to the abuse scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale, and Telford. IPSO said the Mail on Sunday had offered, four days after publication, to clarify that “the perpetrators of child sexual abuse, more broadly, are a variety of ethnicities”.

However, the complainant (the CfMM) argued that any clarification should make clear that Home Office research, published in 2020, had found grooming gangs were mainly white. Rejecting that, IPSO noted that the Mail on Sunday had checked the Home Secretary’s claim with her advisers and was told they had “no concern” about it.

In its ruling, IPSO wrote, ‘The publication did not accept a breach of the Editors’ Code. It said that it was entitled to rely on information provided by the Home Secretary… and the Home Secretary was the most senior member of that department. ‘It added that, during the drafting of the article, it had queried the claim with the advisors to the Home Secretary and Prime Minister directly and had been informed that there was no concern over this particular line.’

The regulator decided that the clarification offered by the paper should be published instead. Baroness Warsi, the UK’s first South Asian cabinet minister, said Braverman’s rhetoric “emboldened racists” and threatened British Asian families.

The Muslim News reached out to the Home Office for comment.

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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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