There's a conversation to be had about race in the Newcastle sex abuse scandal – and we should be brave enough to have it

We do not need to ask why so many men of Asian origin abuse children. This is a racist question. Rather, we need to ask why some white liberals appear to bend over backwards to find a way to claim these men are set up

Julie Bindel@bindelj
Friday 11 August 2017 10:24
Top-bottom, L-R: Eisa Mousavi, Yassar Hussain, Taherul Alam, Redwan Siddquee
Top-bottom, L-R: Eisa Mousavi, Yassar Hussain, Taherul Alam, Redwan Siddquee

Another scandal in the UK relating to child sexual abuse, and yet more diversion from the core issues.

The Newcastle case, in which 17 men and one women were convicted for rape, sexual assault, sadistic abuse and general heartless violation of girls and woman, has now become another argument about race. While on the one hand the racists and fascists twist the truth about child sexual abuse to give kudos to their arguments against asylum seekers and black and minority ethnic British citizens, much of the liberal left wring their hands and worry about being labelled “racist”.

It would appear that this matters more to some that preventing the rape of children and young women.

We do not need to ask why so many men of Asian origin abuse children. This is a racist question. Rather, we need to ask why some white liberals appear to bend over backwards to find a way to claim these men are set up, or unjustly treated, and why police and other state agencies have been known to turn the other cheek.

In 2007, my name was added to an ever-growing list on Islamophobia Watch the same day that my investigation on grooming gangs in Northern English towns was published in a national newspaper. I was accused of demonising the entire British Asian community by specifying the fact that these particular criminal gangs originated from Pakistan. My reason for mentioning ethnicity at all was to raise the unavoidable fact that some child protection agencies, and a number of senior police officers have made it plain that they were taking a hands-off approach in such cases lest they were labelled racist.

I was clear in the piece – I did not think that the police particularly cared about having the slur of “Islamaphobe” thrown at them from lefties, but rather they didn’t want to be responsible for policing a “race riot” as one senior police officer in West Yorkshire said would be the result of raising the ethnicity of the perpetrators.

During my investigations, I found there to be a stubborn defensiveness from a number of quarters, including some charities, when I asked about the relevance of the ethnic origin of the perpetrators, despite the fact that I carefully explained that I wished to tackle this thorny issue from the perspective of an anti-racist, and not a member of the BNP. Furthermore, I said how disgusted I was that racist pressure groups had colonised these crimes for their own dangerous agenda, and had been allowed to do so because the issue had been given a wide berth by the left. Some of the individuals that gave me the cold shoulder back in the early 2000s were named in the Jay report of 2013 as having failed the victims of child sexual abuse, partly because of their “nervousness” and unwillingness to engage with issues regarding the ethnicity of the perpetrators.

Sarah Champion on Newcastle sex ring: "The majority of the perpetrators have been British Pakistani”

Although I was congratulated on journalistic endeavours in exposing these crimes by a number of friends and colleagues of Asian descent – such as the journalist and anti-racist campaigner Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – many white left-leaning liberals clearly believed I should not have even mentioned ethnicity or religious identity of the perpetrators lest it might “incite racism”.

Men commit acts of rape and sexual abuse because they are rapists and abusers, not because they are Asian, white, working class, unemployed, or any other variable that has been often used to either excuse or blame perpetrators. Police and CPS have long been terrible in dealing with child sexual abuse. The fact that these gangs were made up of men from Asian communities simply gave them another excuse for inertia.

I heard on Thursday from one of the police officers involved in the Newcastle investigation that, in her view, many of the young women, “did not see themselves as victims”. I disagree. During the years I have been investigating this issue I have interviewed numerous young women who have been through similar trauma to those in Newcastle. It is not that the women “don’t think they are victims”, but that they do not believe that they will be treated as such.

One woman, who had reported being raped by “at least five men” in a car park as a punishment for reporting her abuser to the police, told me that, “I could tell when I sat down with that copper that he thought I was a slag. I knew he would go on [the perpetrator’s] side, and that there was no point me being there.”

We are failing the victims of rape and sexual abuse, and the conviction rate for rape is at an all-time low. We need to do better because we are giving a green light to men, not just in gangs but individuals, by implying that raping a vulnerable female is nothing but a leisure activity.