The “sexual grooming khutbah” smacks of the worst kind of apologism

The MCB is the largest Muslim umbrella organisation in the UK

Today imams up and down the land are conducting a PR exercise aimed at appeasing the right-wing media and politicians, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.

They are doing this under the guise of “educating” the Muslim community about sexual grooming.

Apparently 500 mosques are going to deliver a khutbah today highlighting how the Qur’an says we must protect children and the vulnerable. This campaign is supported by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the Islamic Society of Britain and the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB).

This is a reaction to the recent spate of high-profile cases where criminals and paedophiles who happen to be Asian and Muslim have been jailed after grooming white girls.


As far as I know this campaign is well-intentioned but it is also without doubt naive and potentially damaging to the community. It will reinforce the notion in the wider public’s eyes that Muslims are sex maniacs and paedophiles who prey on vulnerable white girls. And that leads to Islamophobia.

It is the latest example of how our leaders are always in reactive mode and lack confidence. As soon as the Daily Mail et al demands that Muslims apologize for something – whether that’s terrorism or genital female mutilation or domestic violence or wife-beating – you’ll always find a “moderate” Muslim leader queuing up to go on the news to “defend the community”.

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Has it never occurred to these “moderate” leaders that if they simply told journalists: “No, this has nothing to do with us so we’re not going to comment,” that those journalists would simply go away? As a journalist myself, I can testify that we are basically very lazy and only pursue stories if we get an easy reaction, and if we don’t get one we simply move on to the next loudmouth and attention-seeker.

Guilty as charged?

Moreover, does the Muslim community actually need educating about sexual grooming? Well, I suppose we do, but certainly no more than any other community does.

Does the white community have to apologise for the crimes of Jimmy Savile? Do all Catholics have to apologise for paedophile priests? No of course they don’t because that has nothing to do with those wider communities at large.

I’m not trying to say that some Muslims don’t have regressive social attitudes towards women – both Muslims and non-Muslims – because they do. And it is incumbent on all of us to bring our children up in a way that holds women in the high esteem that our religion commands.

But this is something that should be done on a daily basis in homes, communities and, yes, in mosques. But to hold special events so that the mainstream media can testify that Muslims are tackling this issue smacks of the worst kind of defensive apologism. It makes us look weak and pathetic. And quite frankly it makes us look guilty.


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