Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Discuss these horrors openly or play straight into racists' hands


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The Independent Online

When cases like this happen, as a Muslim Asian woman I am warned not to write on them because it encourages racism against us. Well, damn such injunctions. Keeping the lid on dreadful crimes committed by Britons of colour only increases the number of racists. And these young lives matter much more than any sensitivities about racism.

We will never know how many girls were victimised and what the effect will be on their lives. The rapists will convince themselves and others their victims were "trash" and that their own daughters are not. But I know how much physical abuse goes on behind the closed doors of such families, how many girls are married off too young, raped within marriage and treated as things. White girls are of no value at all – except when they bring in money serving men.

The appalling thing is that, in the enclaves where these men came from, families will be blaming the abused teenagers. The rapists are all probably in one sense "good" Muslims, praying and fasting in the daytime, then prowling and preying at night.

But let's remember a couple of other things, too. Most men who groom and rape young girls in Britain are white. And these depraved men would never have been convicted had it not been for Nazir Afzal, the North-west's Chief Crown Prosecutor, a Muslim of Pakistani origin. In 2008, a young girl told her harrowing story to law enforcers who disregarded her testimony. To them too, she was "trash". Afzal overturned that decision.