'˜Don't bury heads in the sand over abuse' says Muslim commentator after Rotherham verdicts

A Muslim commentator has warned British Pakistanis against ignoring grooming gangs that operate in their communities.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 1:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 1:40 pm
Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, was speaking after three men and two women were found guilty of a range of offences involving the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.

He said: “The sad reality is that in the case of on-street gang grooming, there is an over-representation of Pakistani men.

“Until British Pakistanis accept that this is a problem for our community we will not be able to eradicate this evil. Burying our head in the sand as the usual response is not good enough.”

Brothers Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults of teenagers in the South Yorkshire town.

A third brother, Bannaras Hussain, 36, admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the beginning of the trial.

Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges at Sheffield Crown Court.

Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.

Mr Shafiq, who said he was distantly related to some of the defendants, paid tribute to the victims who came forward and said he will never stop campaigning against ‘these evil people’.

He said: “This is not a white conspiracy dreamt up by the far right, or victimisation of the Pakistani community, as some claim. This is a concerted effort by a minority of Pakistani men who have groomed, abused and raped young white girls.

“This is a form of racism and we shouldn’t hesitate to condemn it. Blaming or deflecting attention away from the evil men who carry out such actions is despicable.

“Just remember these were someone’s daughters or sisters. If you choose to ignore it then you are subjecting others to the threat of these groomers.”

Mr Shafiq also called South Yorkshire Police a ‘failed force’ and called for officers who failed the victims to face justice.

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