Between 1997 and 2011, 56 men in the UK were found guilty of rape, child abduction, indecent assault and sex with a child.
Earlier this year, when the statistics were first revealed, much of the media coverage focused on the fact that of these 56 men, 53 were of Asian origin, the majority Pakistani.
Some have used this to support racist arguments, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, people like former Home Secretary Jack Straw were told that simply bringing attention to this fact was ‘offensive’. More offensive than not bringing attention to it!?
What was less widely reported was that 50 of the 56 men were Muslim.
Is it also ‘offensive’ to point this out? Or would it be more offensive to not look at why there is evidently a particular problem within the Muslim community?
What’s more important? Brushing over the fact that the majority of these offenders were Asian or Muslim to prevent anyone from getting ‘offended’, or getting to the root of the problem in the hope that no more young women have to face these horrors?
In order to prevent these problems we need to understand them. Neither race nor religion provide the full picture, but they will never be understood if it is impossible to discuss the issues without being called all manner of names (you know, the usual ones – ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, etc, etc – it’s really getting old).
Luckily, Channel 4′s Dispatches programme (which aired on Monday), was willing to discuss these things. There was no mention of the role that the prophet Mohammed’s ‘perfect example’ may have had in influencing these men to choose such young victims (Mohammed himself wed a 6 year old when he was in his fifties), but we couldn’t have Channel 4 being accused of ‘Islamophobia’ could we?
Whilst the documentary is certainly worth a watch, there’s clearly still an atmosphere of silence about those parts of Islamic ideology that are ‘problematic’ (and that’s putting it as diplomatically as possible).
You can watch the documentary here using the Channel 4′ On Demand’ service (4OD).
Unfortunately, the documentary makers did take time to criticise the EDL, claiming that we are ‘exploiting’ these problems and putting us in the same category as the British National Party (and at times not making it all clear whether those speaking were EDL or BNP).
In what way are we exploiting these terrible things? We just want them to stop. And when an important variable – the religion of the perpetrators and the undercurrent of radical beliefs in the Muslim community – is not being discussed, then clearly important information that could help the authorities target offenders and prevent further attacks is missing from the discussion.
Of course, that’s reflective of the greater discussion about the role of radical Islam in Britain today. But is standing up for freedom of speech really a case of ‘exploiting’ harrowing statistics like these?
We’re not a political party. We’re not the BNP. We’re not looking to attract votes. So to what possible end could we be exploiting these problems?
Presumably, the programme makers wanted all important factors to be considered, so that in the future we stand the best possible chance of preventing these horrible crimes.
But that’s exactly what we want as well. What else could possibly be more important?
The programme ends by lamenting that much more needs to be done to raise awareness of the problem. Well we’re doing our bit: please watch.
(Unable to use the 4OD viewer? The documentary is also available here).