British Muslim leaders sermonise against sexual grooming
London: Imams from at least 500 mosques across Britain used the Friday sermon to condemn the sexual grooming of children, a day after five Pakistanis were jailed for a series of child abuse charges.
Their speech highlighted how the Quran condemns all forms of sexual indecency.
The movement organised by the Together Against Grooming (TAG) group urged Muslims to protect children and vulnerable people in their communities.
"We have been horrified by the details that have emerged from recent court cases and as Muslims we feel a natural responsibility to condemn and tackle this crime," TAG spokesperson Ansar Ali said.
"Potentially on a Friday you`ve got hundreds of thousands of people walking into a mosque and you have their undivided attention, so what better medium to try and send a powerful message and raise awareness," he added.
The sermon, written by Alyas Karmani - an imam and youth worker in Keighley, West Yorkshire - opens with a quotation from the Quran forbidding "sexual indecency, wickedness and oppression of others".
It ends with a call for action and reminds Muslims to speak out if they see any "evil action".
"There`s a profound disrespect culture when it comes to treating women. One of the reasons we feel this is the case is poor role models.
Access to pornography, which also objectifies women, is creating a culture where men are now ambiguous when it comes to the issue of violence against women," Karmani said.
The sermon is supported by leading Muslim organisations across the UK such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board and Islamic Society of Britain.
The MCB said that, in conjunction with TAG, it had circulated a `khutbah` (Friday sermon) to all affiliated mosques and Islamic centres addressing the issue of grooming.
"The sermon raises awareness about what has recently been revealed of the horrific cases of abuse, out rightly condemns the behaviour and highlights teachings from the Koran which obligates the safeguarding and protection of women and children," it said in a statement.
Yesterday, seven members of a paedophile ring who forced often vulnerable girls in the university town of Oxford to have sex were jailed, five of them for life.
Five of the gang were of Pakistani origin and two were of African origin.
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