Home secretary accused of 'sowing division' after tweeting about 'Asian paedophiles'

‘In a nod to the far right, he has increased the risk of racist abuse and violence for Asian people’

Saman Javed
Sunday 21 October 2018 13:31
People applying to be a UK citizen will have to pass a new 'British values test', says Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid is facing a backlash from MPs and race equality advocates after tweeting about “sick Asian paedophiles”.

The home secretary’s tweet came after a gang of 20 men were found guilty of the rape and sexual abuse of girls aged as young as 11 in Huddersfield.

The full tweet reads:

The tweet, which targets Asians, was condemned by Labour MP David Lammy who said Mr Javid’s words risked increasing violence against ethnic minorities.

“Sajid Javid has brought a great office of state into disrepute. By singling out ‘Asians’ he not only panders to the far right, but increases the risk of violence and abuse against minorities across the country.”

Mr Lammy said that Mr Javid’s comments were particularly inflammatory as religious hate crimes have risen dramatically in the past year.

“It’s no coincidence that religious hate crimes have rocketed up by 40 per cent in the past year, as we have witnessed a degradation of political rhetoric towards hate, division and fear.

“Whatever the underlying motives of the offenders involved paedophilia, it is an abhorrent crime that affects all communities. It does no service to the victims of this evil to pin the blame on any one group.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said the government is not doing enough to protect vulnerable people.

Ms Abbott said: “The scale of sex abuse in the UK is staggering, the needs of the vulnerable are ignored, and the government isn’t doing enough. Attributing paedophilia to one ethnic group adds nothing to support needed by survivors, or police resources to crack down on predators.”

Dr Zubaida Haque, the deputy director of race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, described Mr Javid’s tweet as “appalling and a complete disservice to the survivors” of sexual abuse.

Dr Haque told The Independent: “First of all we’ve got to applaud the courage of the survivors who have come forward about the multiple acts of sexual abuse they have experienced.

“Research has shown that child sexual abuse happens in all groups, areas and all communities. To focus on one group of perpetrators risks ignoring all other perpetrators and victims. If we racialise the perpetrators not only do we do a disservice to survivors who are not white, we ignore other perpetrators who are not Asian.

“Not only does his tweet reflect his lack of knowledge about predictors of sexual abuse, in one moment of ill-conceived, ambitious weakness, he has thrown Asians under the bus.”

Dr Haque echoed Mr Lammy’s warning that the home secretary’s words may increase racial hatred.

“Hate crime statistics released this week show that religious hate crime has increased. That does not happen in a vacuum, it happens because of politicians like Sajid Javid inciting hatred and social division.

“It’s a nod to the far right. This will have a significantly detrimental impact on how Asian men are treated and perceived.”

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