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British Home Secretary again links ‘British Pakistani men’ with notorious grooming gangs

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the line of fire (Photo: IANS)

In a column for British weekly magazine The Spectator, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has reiterated that a majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse were British-Pakistani men while their victims were white girls.

Braverman defended her earlier statements on the issue by saying that to address the “injustice of grooming gangs scandal we must be willing to acknowledge the role that ethnicity played in covering it up”. She, however, added that this does not mean that most British-Pakistanis are perpetrators of sexual abuse.

She also raised a red flag about labelling everything as racist. Braverman said in The Spectator: “Casually accusing me of racism for speaking plain truths distorts the meaning of the term, and does a great disservice to all of us working to combat racism”.

By saying so, Braverman has defended her government’s, severely criticised, stand on the vexed issue of sexual abuse of thousands of young British girls in several towns by mostly British Pakistani men. The abuse has been reported for over a decade from towns such as Rotherham, Telford, Rochdale and many more.

She also vigorously condemned the opposition Labour Party’s advertising campaign which said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak doesn’t want adults who sexually abuse children to go to prison.

On the contrary, the British government has recently established a task force as well as introduced tougher sentences for child sexual abuse.

Braverman has come under fire not just from Muslim organisations in the UK but also British opposition parties and invited strong condemnation from the Pakistan government.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson said in Islamabad that Braverman’s remarks portray a “highly misleading picture signalling the intent to target and treat British Pakistanis differently” and that she had “erroneously branded criminal behaviour of some individuals as a representation of the entire community”.

Though the issue of sexual exploitation, rape and drugging of underage British girls was being talked about for years, British agencies have not been able to deliver justice to the victims for fear of being labelled racist or Islamophobic. However, the issue has kept popping up in the news from time to time.

British channel GB News had recently spotlighted the issue by making a documentary where it interviewed the victims as well as a handful of activists who supported the abused girls. The channel also said that politicians, the local councils and the police let down the vulnerable victims.

Muslim groups in the UK have come together against the Home Secretary’s remarks, which have been made earlier to Sky News as well. With this column in The Spectator, the Conservative government is standing firm on its views about clamping down on the abuse of children as well as ethnically identifying the right people behind it.

Also read: Pakistani diplomats slammed for sexual abuse, human trafficking in Europe