Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Grooming of girls and Asian gangs

Having led a vocal and strong campaign over the past four years against the crime of grooming I am heartened that CEOP have produced this report. I strongly believe that without the fantastic coverage of the Times Newspaper and with my commentary piece we may have not be where we are, I am proud that we initiated a national debate which has led to this report. My only hope is that this report is now followed up with lasting action.

The Ramadhan Foundation provided extensive evidence to CEOP and welcomes the inclusion of some parts of our evidence. Since I raised this in January 2011 and with the media coverage of recent convictions; I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from the Asian community and their total abhorrence at these sick crimes.

Let me be clear, there are Asian gangs operating in this country who are grooming white teenagers, these gangs think that white girls are less valuable than girls from their own community which is sick and abhorrent. The Asian community have offered their revulsion at these crimes many times and we do so again today; for as long as these girls suffer I will continue to speak out whatever the cost.

I welcome the report’s finding that these crimes are not exclusively an Asian problem, CEOP’s findings that 20% of culprits are Asian, which means 80% are not Asian, this is what we have been saying all along. I ame disappointed that the media and Politicians seem to only focus on the Asian cases when we should be tackling all these criminals regardless of ethnicity or culture. It is time for politicians and commentators to address this issue with honesty and remember this is about saving young girls lives and not grabbing headlines.

There needs to be more preventive work in the community with young girls, telling them of the signs of these crimes and how to prevent getting involved, an immediate stop to the over sexualisation of children, parents and the police taking responsibility for young teenagers when they are wandering the streets at late hours. Ultimately the people responsible are the criminals who groom young girls and as we have seen already the Courts have given long sentences to criminals and long may this continue. It is just not good enough to express the revulsion to these crimes with words but as we move forward all communities will need to be channelling that anger and disgust into helping the Police.

If through this hard work and bravery I have been able to save one young life then the struggles and threats we have received over the past four years have been worth it. There should be no hiding place for these evil people and only together can we stop them.

Monday, 6 June 2011

UK Government new Prevent strategy

The threat from terrorism is real and events like this require communities and Governments to come together to tackle this evil menace from our country. Sadly the Government’s new Prevent strategy seeks to promote the same worn out policy that has failed to achieve success and has led to alienation in the Muslim community

To label all Muslims who promote and practice Sharia law as extremists is a dangerous precedent which will be strongly opposed by our community because the real reasons behind this new strategy is to score cheap political points on the back of the Muslim community. With respect to the Prime Minister and his Ministers Freedom, Democracy, human rights and equality are not British values, they are human values that are enshrined in many faiths including Islam. Adopting a heavy handed approach will lead to more mistrust, division and is not the right strategy to protect our country from terrorism and extremism

Sharia law is a central pillar of our lives for Muslims and nothing any Government Ministers say will stop us using Sharia law to ensure we support our neighbours (Muslim and non Muslim), help the needy in our society, promote equality, fairness and justice.
Holding extremist views is not illegal, just look at the EDL and BNP, this Prevent strategy must be about tackling those extremists that use terrorism and brainwash people and also include the evil of the far right.
This dangerous escalation of attacks on Islam and Muslims will lead to further division and make the task of tackling extremism more difficult. It is interesting that the Government has no strategy to deal with the evil far right like the EDL and BNP. Over the past two years millions of pounds have been wasted in public funds policing these extremists who march our streets and attack our faith and community – no mention of how this Government will deal with these fanatics
The Liberal Democrats spent many years in opposition decrying Labour’s Prevent strategy often urging dialogue and engagement with the Muslim community and not demonisation but now in Government they sit silently as the Conservatives demonstrate their machoism. They should be ashamed of themselves and the Muslim community will not forget their silence in a hurry. Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats have failed to stand up for their liberal values and this is a sad day for Liberalism.
The Muslim community will continue to take on the terrorists and we will work with the Police and Intelligence Agencies and will not rest until our country is safe from these evil crimes, the terrorists do not act in the name of Islam. But we will strongly oppose attacks on our faith and community from whatever quarter.