The Quilliam Foundation has released a report which found “an alarming level of over-representation of South Asian men” in grooming gangs.
The December report, entitled “Group Based Child Exploitation – Dissecting Grooming Gangs,” examines grooming gang cases identified in the UK since 2005 and says there is a disproportionate representation of males with South Asian heritage who have been convicted in such cases with white females predominantly the victims.
The report found that 84% of “grooming gang” offenders were South Asian, while they only make up 7% of the total UK population, and that the majority of these offenders are of Pakistani origin with Muslim heritage.
The report goes on to discuss and analyse the cultural and religious contexts in order to explain why this demographic features so prominently in this specific crime.
Author Muna Adil said: “There are elements from within the British Pakistani community that still subscribe to outdated and sexist views of women embedded within their jaded interpretations of Islam. These backward views are passed down from generation to generation until the lines between faith and culture dissolve, making it increasingly difficult to criticise one without being seen as a critic of the other.”
Quilliam, a self-described “think tank” established by Maajid Nawaz, claims to be the “world’s first counter-extremism organisation.”
The far-right have constantly raised the issue of grooming gangs as a stick to beat Muslims with, and the Quilliam report has been used by right-wing groups as proof that Muslims abuse children.
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However, according to the most recent figures, released in 2012 by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP), 100% of child sex offenders in paedophile rings were white.
Nazir Afzal, who is credited with tackling the issue during his time as Chief Crown Prosecutor in the North West, warned the issue of “Asian” grooming gangs is being used as a recruitment tool by the far-right.
Mr Afzal also warned gang grooming was not the most common form of child sexual abuse.
“British white men they tend to work individually. They tend to work online where they groom and they are the majority of perpetrators. When it comes to Asian men or Pakistani men they tend to do it in groups,” Mr Afzal said.