Socialist Worker

Rochdale: Media distortion will put women in danger and will only benefit racists

by Hassan Mahamdallie
Issue No. 2303

When Children’s minister Tim Loughton was asked about the Rochdale abuse trial, he said, “Political correctness and racial sensitivities have in the past been an issue.”

Loughton added that the authorities still “have to be aware of certain characteristics of various ethnic communities”.

What did he mean? Is there evidence that “political correctness” and “racial sensitivities” stopped police investigating certain cases because they involved Pakistani men?

The trial revealed a much more tangible truth than Loughton’s assertions.

The authorities, including the police, did not think the victims were worth protecting because they were poor, in care or suffering neglect.

Rochdale police are not known for operating in “politically correct” or “racially sensitivite” ways.

When I lived in Rochdale in the 1980s it was common currency that many local officers were sympathetic to the National Front.

And what did Loughton mean by “certain characteristics of various ethnic communities”?

Is he saying that Pakistani, and by extension Muslim, men have a cultural predilection to child abuse?

Evidence

There is no evidence to back this up. Yet most media coverage has tried to cement a link between Pakistani men and child abuse.

All sorts of theories have been put forward to justify this, including their religion, their culture and its supposed view of white women.

When a white perpetrator of abuse is prosecuted their “whiteness” isn’t discussed at all.

Their national culture isn’t picked apart and generalised to explain their crime.

But now every Asian man who forms a relationship with a young white woman will be under suspicion.

No doubt we will see individuals, communities and mosques come under attack.

“Child abuser” has joined the list of stereotypes of Muslims along with terrorists, women-haters, perpetrators of forced marriages, “fundamentalists” and so on.

This distortion will push the police and the authorities to look in one direction, towards Muslim men, when child abusers exist in all racial groups.

None of this means that the men involved in the Rochdale case are innocent. They are not.

And if anyone turned a blind eye to their criminality then they are implicated.

But to tar all 400,000 Pakistani men in Britain with the same brush as those convicted last week can only aid those who wish to benefit from demonising Muslims.


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Tue 15 May 2012, 16:57 BST
Issue No. 2303
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