The role of Rotherham’s Mosques in recent years has not been seen to be honourable, and they can seem to the least holy of holy places. Often slow to comment on child sexual exploitation within their community, they seem keener to put their head in the sand than to confront the criminals in their community.
They have been associated with dodgy planning decisions, organised bullying and too many of their elders have appeared to be shady characters.
Family feuds among the elders have spilled into local politics over issues relevant to Mirpur not Rotherham, and even when the streets have been taken over by violent warring groups they have failed to comment, never mind admonish them.
It is in this context that we have allegations of sexual abuse by an Iman at Tooker Road Mosque and a cover up by the Council of Mosques. One that included buying the clerics house and help him avoid justice by fleeing to Mirpur.
Now neither I nor the vast majority of readers know the truth of it, and evidence is yet to be fully forthcoming.
However, what helps such matters fester and be used by the racists is the tendency of the Mirpuri elders and leaders to clam up and hope it will all go away.
It doesn’t, and given the presence of the National Crime Agency here in Rotherham even local clout won’t help in the long run.
They should note that those VIP who have rebuilt their honour after false allegation of child sex scandals (e.g. Paul Gambaccini, Leon Brittan & Lord McAlpine) have themselves with friends and spokespeople been prepared to acknowledge the allegations, and publicly deny them.
Not hide away and allow malicious gossip to fester, as appears to be the policy of the Council of Mosques. If innocent they should be publicly denying all such allegations and refer them the Police.
I have immense sympathy for Muslims in the current wave of racist attacks nationally, and recently here in Rotherham. The danger is to real people, and is to be condemned. The far right, bigoted racists have to be countered by the truth and firm application of the law.
Everyone need remember that protection from fascism, racism and bullying can only come from an open society, with democracy and strict adherence to the law.
Lest we forget though, justice has to be a two way street.
Mary B Josephs
If there has been a more revelatory post on the issue of the ‘heart’ of Rotherham’s problems, it is this post? Clearly, when cover-ups are the order of the day, we have no hope of putting an end to the … Continue reading