Thursday, 27 March 2008

Muslim leader accuses police of being 'over cautious' in stopping Asian gangs pimping white girls

A muslim leader has accused the police of failing to tackle Asian gangs suspected of prostituting young white girls.

Officers are accused of being "over cautious" when investigating Muslim criminals because they fear being branded racist.

Last night Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the police were differentiating between criminals on the basis of race.

He claimed, driven by fear of race riots in places like Blackburn and Oldham, officers were "overtly sensitive" and not clamping down on the sordid practice.

His controversial comments in this week's Panorama reignite a massively controversial issue which exploded over a Channel 4 documentary in 2004.

That programme which claimed Asian men in Bradford were grooming under age white girls for prostitution was pulled from C4's schedules.

This was because police claimed at the time that it could provoke racial violence during the local election campaign.

Now the BBC is to risk the wrath of police officials and campaigners by airing a programme which will look at the same issue.

Speaking as part of the Panorama investigation, which airs tomorrow (Thursday), Shafiq said: "I think the police are overcautious on dealing with this issue openly because they fear being branded racist and I think that is wrong."

"These are criminals they should be treated as criminals. They are not Asian criminals, they are not Muslim criminals, they are not white criminals. They are criminals and they should be treated as criminals."

He said that some of the criminals were Asian gangs looking to supplement their income, after the cost of drugs has fallen over the last few years.

Shafiq said "I am the only Muslim leader in the UK that speaks up against this sort of thing and I do it because these teenage girls are somebody's sisters and they are somebody's daughters. I have got two daughters and I wouldn't want that to happen to my daughters.

"If there is a drug dealer grooming a white teenager into prostitution then I don't want the police service or local authority not to be open about it."

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, also raised concerns about the issue yesterday.

He said: "Everybody is affected by political correctness. The reason why it is so important is because things like this.

"Young girls are having their lives threatened and ruined because people pussyfoot around and they are too scared to do anything in case they make a mistake and are accused of racism.

"That's why we have to tackle the culture of political correctness everybody is affected by and I think the police are probably more affected and hamstrung by it than most organisations."

His comments come as Professor David Barrett of University of Bedfordshire also raised deep concerns about the issue in the BBC1 programme.

He claimed evidence suggested that those operating the practice were "absolutely" likely to get away with it.

The programme will controversially reveal the ethnic pattern of the crime which is largely Asian in northern England, Afro-Caribbean in the West Midlands and elsewhere white, Turkish and Kurdish.

The Government, reacting to concerns, has revealed it will introduce new crime-fighting targets aimed at specifically combating the little-publicised problem.

But there are concerns that the practice, mostly operated by drug dealing gangs, has been of little priority to the various authorities.

Figures suggest there are in the region of 5,000 British children being used as prostitutes.
On the programme Vernon Coaker under secretary of state with responsibility for policing reveals the new measures will be come into force next month.

The government also plans to introduce a new warning video for use in schools over the issue.
But despite funding a Home Office study almost ten years ago which revealed how the problem can be tackled, the police has a low prosecution rate.

Coaker told Panorama that using powers under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 there have been just 44 convictions for grooming and pimping young children.

Police attempts are said to be frustrated by a code of silence.

*Panorama airs on Thursday 27th March on BBC1 at 10.35pm

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Murder of Archbishop Rahho in Iraq is crime against humanity

I expresses my total disgust and anger at the brutal murder of Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj Rahho, this senseless murder goes against humanity and we express our deep sorrow to the Catholic Church and community around the world.

Islam urges us to stand with those that are oppressed around the world, whatever their nationality or faith, the killing of religious leaders that work to promote peace and understanding in Iraq goes against the very basic principles of Islam.

I urge the United Nations to order an independent investigation into the circumstances of Archbishop’s kidnap and subsequent killing and we urge the Iraqi Government to bring the culprits to justice. There should be no hiding place for these evil people anywhere in the world.

I expresses its total disgust, anger and condemnation at the senseless murder of Archbishop Rahho in Mosul, Iraq. The killing of religious leaders in unacceptable and we offer our condolences to Archbishop’s family and the Catholic Church.

I call on the United Nations to begin an independent inquiry into his murder and urge all concerned to cooperate. There should be an international campaign to protect religious leaders from all faiths from intimidation, threat or violence.

I know that all the faith leaders will join me in paying tribute to Archbishop Rahho’s work and calling for the protection of faith leaders.”

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Death of Chief Constable Michael Todd

I am deeply saddened by the death of Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Michael Todd. He had a distinguished record of policing throughout his career and he will be missed by colleagues, friends and those that met him on various occasions.

Our thoughts are with Michael’s family and friends during this difficult time, having met him on various occasions I was struck by his commitment to tackling crime and helping improve communities.

Since his arrival in Greater Manchester, the force has been engaged in building links with the Muslim community and his personal support on these issues was valued by me personally and the wider Muslim community.

Once again I offer my support and condolences to Michael’s family and friends.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Israel and war crimes in Gaza

I totally condemns the Israeli aggression and oppression being carried out in Gaza, with over 70 people dead, many children and innocent people there is a quiet silence from the international community which is deeply flawed and worrying.

There can be no justification for the continue oppression and discriminate killing that is carried out and I urge the international community to speak against this evil and ensure that the voices of innocent Palestinians are not silenced.

Israel has engaged in war crimes, what purpose is served by killing women and children? The Israeli’s must recognise that there continued occupation of Palestinian land is the sole reason why there is instability in the region.

I am horrified and saddened by the deaths of many innocent people including women and children in Gaza, it is once again clear that Israel is engaged in committing war crimes and we strongly condemn these actions – we send our deepest condolences and prayers to those that are suffering in Gaza.

I further urges the international community not to remain silent and condemn these crimes and urge the Israelis to stop their occupation and continued oppression of the Palestinian people.

We must all stand up against this evil, whatever our faith or background.”