British Muslims seek action against child abuse in UK

British Muslims have sought actions against those responsible for the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children by gangs mainly of Pakistani origin in the country.

London: British Muslims have sought actions against those responsible for the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children by gangs mainly of Pakistani origin in the country.

A report released earlier this week had said that at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited from 1997-2013 mainly by gangs of Pakistani origin in the town of Rotherham in South Yorkshire.

Professor Alexis Jay's report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, said: "Several councilors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be 'giving oxygen' to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion".

The leader of a Muslim youth group in Rotherham leads the Pakistani-origin community's reaction to the findings.

"In the name of what community cohesion and political correctness? Not in the name of my community. I'm truly disgusted to see such a report in my home town of Rotherham. The fact these guys were predominantly Pakistani heritage men should not be a reason for providing a cloak of invisibility," Muhbeen Hussain, founder of British Muslim Youth, told BBC.

"There's nowhere in the Pakistani culture or the religion of Islam that says child exploitation is allowed ? it's completely forbidden. But because it's a taboo and it's not talked about, I think with this report we need people to come out and we need the Pakistani Muslim community to talk about it," he added.

Professor Jay had said in her report: "Pakistani-heritage girls were targeted by taxi drivers and on occasion by older men lying in wait outside school gates".

"The women and girls feared reporting such incidents to the police because it would affect their future marriage prospects".

Professor Jay's report said that while ethnicity did not impact on the way front-line staff dealt with cases, it did affect the wider picture, with some staff in children's social care saying they were "advised by their managers to be cautious about referring to the ethnicity of the perpetrators" in reports.

She was keen to stress in her report that "there is no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation, and across the UK the greatest numbers of perpetrators of CSE [child sexual exploitation] are white men".

"The authorities involved have a great deal to answer for," she concluded.

Zlakha Ahmed, from the organisation Apna Haq which supports Asian women and children facing violence in the home, said there has been a long-standing problem of Asian girls suffering abuse.

"The report's not come as a shock to me in terms that we've known about these issues for a number of years now," she said.

The report, released on Tuesday, had said how children as young as 11 were raped, abducted, beaten and trafficked to other parts of England between 1997 and 2013.

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