Socialist Worker

The media, crime and racism

Issue No. 2315

The horrific case of Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered by her parents for refusing an arranged marriage, has sparked outrage. The press has raged about how South Asians and Muslims have to learn “British values”.

About two women a week are murdered in Britain, usually by a family member. The vast majority are neither Asian nor Muslim.

Just this week David and Frances Champion were jailed for repeatedly and brutally beating up their daughter. She had “disgraced” her white family by going out with a black man.

These cases are reported differently because of the racialisation of crime. Killing family members is presented as a peculiar crime of Pakistanis. Sexually abusing teenage girls is the preserve of Muslim men, we are told.

The Rochdale “grooming” was appalling, but it was never about race. Last week it came out that one of the victims in the case was Asian. Yet this revelation received nowhere near the amount of coverage and outrage as cases involving white victims.

Women facing domestic or sexual abuse know that the police consistently fail to take them seriously. This scapegoating just increases racism while doing nothing to help victims.


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What We Think
Tue 7 Aug 2012, 18:14 BST
Issue No. 2315
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