Amongst the select group of British Pakistanis that have rallied around Sarah Champion is one Maajid Nawaz, former Islamist turned anti-extremist campaigner and radio host. Speaking on his LBC show he observed “Only three percent of the United Kingdom’s population is composed of people like me, British Pakistani Muslims, probably less than three percent. About four percent of this country is Muslim. Around three percent or less is South Asian Muslim, people like me. And yet according to 2011 figures, 28% of these rape gang cases are involving South Asian Muslims”
Maajid was referring to the 2011 figures from CEOP the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre, a branch of the police. It genuinely pains me to inform Maajid and other commentators still depending on the 2011 figures that more recent data paints an even bleaker picture. The Children’s Commissioner responded to the 2011 data by pointing out that it was incomplete and proposing that the police were being pro-active in recording the ethnicity of “Asian” offenders. That fox was shot by the release of more comprehensive figures from 2012/13 which showed 75% of the members of child rape gangs classified as “Asian” (a term contested by Asian groups not implicated in the scandal). Since the data is still incomplete the “Asian” proportion might yet drop back again, though of course it might climb still further. Thus far it seems that the Children’s Commissioner was wrong and that the pattern uncovered by the Jay report, where authorities were especially nervous of mentioning the ethnicity of Asian offenders seems to constitute the norm.
It is worth noting that the figures don’t include the paedophile rings who target under 11s and are almost exclusively white, but since the child rape gangs outnumber the paedophile rings by 8 to 1 their inclusion in the statistics would still leave the majority of group/gang offenders classified as Asian. The divide amongst commentators is between those like Maajid who think that the causes of such a startling over representation should be discussed and those who think no good can come of such a discussion.
In the latter camp is Sean O’ Grady who wrote an article in the Independent entitled “Lets not feel sorry for Sarah Champion …” He asks “even if you agree that there is this problem with some Pakistani men what are we supposed to do with this insight?” From O’ Grady’s point of view the only policy descriptions that might be derived are repulsive ones of the sort Donald Trump might dream up.
Sean, like other critics of Sarah is unaware of a subtext which Ms Champion failed to spell out because (as she confided to me) she fears derailing future trials. So let me spell it out for her, without naming names that might prejudice legal proceedings. The rape gang that founded the organised rape industry operated from the offices of one of of Rotherham’s taxi firms. It consisted of the owner, his son, two future senior councillors, let us call them X and Y, and a future police officer, let us call him PC Z. They used drugs on their victims and raped girls for pleasure rather than profit. The background to this was that deep seated misogyny and corruption amongst South Yorkshire police had resulted in the virtual decriminalisation of sexual offences. Our gang, having discovered the ease with which the law could be ignored decided to financialise their model.
The gang taught their techniques to younger relatives, some of whom have since been jailed. This second wave of gang rapists exploited their victims for profit as well as pleasure, organising themselves through the taxi firms in which X held a stake. X meanwhile was also pursuing his successful political career, which enabled him to subvert the taxi licensing system whilst Z and others (one of whom rose to Inspector level) were infiltrating the police force. Eventually the “Rotherham model” was franchised via X’s network of relatives in other towns and cities creating a country wide industry that allowed victims to be trafficked far afield, as the Jay report recorded.
Senior Councillor X, as he now was, collected secrets on other local politicians, for example filming them in the act of receiving bribes, and used his information to blackmail those who might otherwise have thwarted him. Meanwhile dissenters in the local Mirpuri community were intimidated into silence by threats to their relatives in Mirpur. At the same time mass infiltration of Rotherham Labour party by the rapists and their friends and relatives created a pro rape bloc capable of silencing those who raised the topic of the rape gangs with physical threats and loud accusations of racism.
Sarah knows the gist of the above facts and thus understands the impossibility of investigating and dismantling the organised rape industry without asking who controls it, and how they are able to maintain secrecy and silence those who might otherwise expose them.
It is true, as Yvonne Ridley pointed out in response to a former article, that the story of the construction of the rape industry is not all about one man, though this observation would seem to point to the kind of cultural or religious explanation that Yvonne decries. One presumes that if forced to choose between the two she would opt for a cultural explanation over a religious one. If so then she shares company with Sean O’ Grady, who specifically criticises Sarah Champion for failing to take Islam as a religion out of the debate.
The problem with O’ Grady’s demand is that it is rather like asking that we take Christianity as a religion out of the debate over the causes of the Crusades. Whether or not one regards ISIS as “true” Muslims there is no doubt they regard themselves as such and sincerely believe that their religion entitles them to take infidel girls as sex slaves. And given the hundreds of British citizens that have volunteered to fight for ISIS it would be foolish to rule out in advance a connection between the men queuing up to rape sex slaves in the UK and those doing so in Syria and Iraq. Indeed I have recorded elsewhere how a religious justification of gang rape circulated widely amongst Rotherham’s Mirpuri rapists and I am still waiting for Rotherham’s establishment to come clean about the response of the town’s Imams to the 2010 grooming trials.
I submit that the idea of ruling out certain explanations of the data in advance is simply unscientific. As for the notion that we shouldn’t even discuss the data, because it can’t lead anywhere good, I would have thought that the example of Rotherham shows that not talking about the problem leads to an even darker place.