Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby, Oxford. The towns change, but the pattern is always the same. Gangs of men, mainly of Pakistani Muslim heritage, lure white girls as young as 10 with gifts and displays of affection. Next, the girl is raped as a way of “breaking her in”. Once the child’s spirit is subdued, and her mind fogged with drugs, she is sold for sex to multiple men at £200 a time. If the girl tries to break away, a gang member might threaten to behead her or firebomb her home. Mohammed Karrar, who was found guilty in the Oxford sex-grooming case this week, took a scalding hairpin and branded one girl so she would know she was his property. Later, the gang gave the same girl a DIY abortion. She was 12 years old. And this, all this, is happening in Britain now.
In a particularly warped twist, the pimp will teach his victim that her parents are racist towards Asians, which is why they disapprove of their relationship–absolutely nothing, of course, to do with him being a violent, controlling thug. Gang members have grown wise to the wimpy ways of Western society. They exploit the fact that police, newly trained in “cultural sensitivity”, are terrified of being accused of racism. So the pimps operate with impunity until, years later, the slave girls find the courage to testify in court against their masters.
We all know what happens next, don’t we? Leaders of the Pakistani Muslim community – essentially a Victorian society that has landed like Doctor Who’s Tardis on a liberal, permissive planet it despises – are at pains to deny that the grooming gang’s behaviour has anything to do with ethnic origin or contemptible attitudes towards women.
Then Sue Berelowitz, the lamentably foolish deputy children’s commissioner, trots out her lame line that Asian men targeting white girls is “just one of a number of models”, even though such “models” account for an improbably large proportion of all gang sexual abuse. Did Berelowitz not hear Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, when he blamed “imported cultural baggage” for appalling crimes by members of his own community? “The men think that women are some lesser being,” he said.
The chief constable who was in charge while all that torture and rape was going on in Oxford appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday and said that she took “full responsibility” for shocking police failures. But, no, Sara Thornton, head of Thames Valley Police, would not be resigning. Why ever not?
Because saying you take responsibility is the new not taking responsibility, stupid. All that remains is for the panel on tonight’sQuestion Time to do a little gentle hand-wringing about the Oxford horrors before it concludes that no particular group is implicated in these vile, misogynistic crimes. And, once again, the fear of racism will have trumped sexism, and hundreds of young girls – or the “hollow shells” of girls, as one tearful copper called them – will be betrayed. Then we can all sit back comfortably and wait till the next hideous court case comes along, probably in Bradford, where at least 30 men have been arrested in the past few months over child sex-grooming allegations. Sue Berelowitz may believe the perpetrators could turn out to be Buddhist podiatrists. But I wouldn’t count on it.
At least some good has come from this spate of incredibly distressing cases. Those brutalised young women have not testified against their tormentors in vain. Courageous Muslim writers and community workers have spoken out with repugnance and great moral clarity. Kris Hopkins, the MP for Keighley and Ilkley, believes the police crackdown in Bradford reveals that the political correctness that made the authorities reluctant to act in the past is gone.
Maybe. But what remains is a political class still far too timid to challenge growing and alarming separatism in Muslim education and law. It is 30 years since I first taught English to Bangladeshi women in their flats in Tower Hamlets, and I still remember how those smiley, interested ladies shrank and cowered when their husbands came home. Only one thing can permanently change the misogynist behaviour of certain Pakistani men and that is the education and empowerment of their daughters. Female emancipation drags societies with even the darkest attitudes towards the light. But what hope is there of those girls getting the education and status they need to take their men to task?
Back in January, there was a profoundly disturbing case at Nottingham Crown Court. Adil Rashid, who had “raped” an underage girl, was spared a prison term after the judge heard that the naïve 18-year-old attended an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless. Rashid told psychologists he had no idea that having sex with a willing 13-year-old was against the law; besides, his education had taught him to believe that “women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground”.
If the fresh-faced Rashid had picked up that view in a madrassa in Karachi it would be profoundly depressing, though not surprising. But the school he attended was in Birmingham, for heaven’s sake! Although it cannot be named for “legal reasons”, the school is voluntary-aided – mainly funded by the taxpayer. At this hugely popular Islamic school, where a majority of pupils are from a Pakistani background, boys and girls are taught in separate classes; a segregation policy no normal comprehensive could get away with.
Rashid’s barrister said: “The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community.” So, the defence against a rape charge by a young Muslim living in 21st-century Britain was not just ignorance of the law (which should be no defence at all). It was that the law and, indeed, the values of the wider country, were irrelevant in his Islamic school, even though it was a state institution funded by citizens who would go straight to jail if, for instance, they tried to have sex with a child.
The fact that the judge accepted Rashid’s defence shows what a god-awful mess this country has got itself into over multiculturalism.
I reckon Britons in a hundred years’ time will look back at us in outraged astonishment for allowing Islamic schools to flout the laws of the land and teach boys that women are worthless. All Islamic schools should be obliged to introduce mixed-sex classes, so boys can learn at first hand that girls are their equals, or those schools should be closed.
If you teach boys that a female is no better than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground, eventually you produce a pimp who thinks that you break a girl’s spirit as though she were a horse, before branding her with your initial. That man and those attitudes have no place, no place at all, in Britain now.