Blaming Muslims confuses the reality of child abuse
I read with interest your article on child abuse (Socialist Worker, 7 November).
You are absolutely right. The chances of being sexually abused by a stranger or grooming gang is statistically very low.
Research shows that one out of every four girls will be sexually abused before her 18th birthday.
Some 93 percent of the time the abuser is a person of trust, and 80 percent of abuse is carried out at the home of the victim or abuser.
It was against this backdrop that last year we started our organisation the Pakistani Anti-Grooming and Abuse League (PAGAL). Our aim is to ensure that ALL girls (regardless of race, religion, colour or creed) are protected from sexual abuse.
There is a concerted campaign by right wing organisations to put all the blame for the culture of abuse that exists in Britain at the doorstep of the Pakistani community. In reality most child sexual abuse is committed by someone in the victim’s family.
Talking about Muslim grooming gangs conveniently ignores the real problem.
Your article talks about the issues people face reporting abuse and getting justice, closure and convictions. Unfortunately the outright failure of official agencies in tackling this problem has led to the current state of affairs.
I pray that politicians in Westminster start taking this issue seriously.
Although given that there are various allegations against MPs, I am not too optimistic that they will treat this as a priority.
Grooming and abuse can deprive a girl of her education and lead to a culture of drugs, alcohol, theft, prostitution, self-harm and prison.
We want to raise awareness of the problem and ensure all girls are protected from sexual abuse.
Society will be that much poorer for its inaction in dealing with this.
Tanweer Khan, Chair, Pakistani Anti-Grooming and Abuse League
'Racist' witness behind Tory Trojan Horse lies
It turns out that one of the government’s key witnesses in the Trojan Horse scandal may be a racist.
An anonymous letter in 2014 claimed that Islamists had been plotting to take over a number of schools in Birmingham.
The Tories used this as an excuse to step up attacks on Muslims.
A teaching misconduct hearing into the scandal is ongoing.
But a key witness has been accused of making racist comments.
“Witness A”—an ex member of staff at Park View school—was asked if she had ever made a comment that referred to Pakistanis as “thick”.
Witness A denies having said this.
But if true, it will point to what really lies behind the Trojan Horse scandal.
Mirfat Sulaiman, Birmingham
Mahienour fights on in prison
We visited my sister Mahienour el-Massry in prison in Egypt last week.
The situation has been atrocious for the past three weeks. The number of prisoners in Mahie’s room has reached 27—in one room. This literally means that the women sleep on top of each other.
Water is only available four hours a day. So the thing they call a bathroom is completely inhumane and is present inside the room where they sleep.
Mahie is of course not silent and has complained to the mayor to make them solve the problem of the water.
Maysoon el-Massry, Egypt
I welcome migrants
I saw your article in relation to the GMB union election (Socialist Worker, 7 November). I want to put the record straight on an absolute inaccuracy that you allege.
I have NEVER said that we need to “regain control of our borders”.
That is not my language or belief and never has been.
What I have consistently said is that the use of migrant workers by employers to drive down pay and conditions is an abuse of ALL workers.
It is the employer we should target.
I personally campaigned in this regard against Next, amongst others, at Christmas last year.
This was widely covered in the media and is FACT. I welcome migrant workers.
My region has a thriving migrant workers’ branch which I personally helped to set up.
I am also on record as condemning this government for their pathetic offer of help to refugees.
I do not want support or an endorsement from Socialist Worker, just truth and accuracy in your reporting.
Tim Roache, Yorkshire and North Derbyshire GMB Regional Secretary
Last week Socialist Worker ran an article on the GMB general secretary election.
We reported that the candidate Tim Roache had attended a fringe meeting at GMB congress in 2014, where he said, “we need to regain control of our borders” to tackle Ukip.
Our reporter was present at the meeting and we are confident that his notes are accurate.
Another world is possible
I have been an active online reader of Socialist Worker for years now.
I will continue until the last day of my life supporting, volunteering and struggling for the socialist cause.
We live in an inhumane system that at times is difficult. But I believe another reality is possible and socialism is the path.
Fernando Dan A. Mattosa, Montevideo, Uruguay
Read Marx? A capital idea!
Members of the Socialist Workers Party in London have started a capital reading group.
The group was so oversubscribed we’ve had to break into two groups! There’s still a lot of interest in Marx’s theory—and the discussion really helped us get to grips with it.
Gabby Thorpe, West London
There’s room for refugees
So now Austria is building border fences to keep refugees out (Socialist Worker, 7 November).
But there is capacity in Europe to take in millions if needs be. Sudan took in 800,000 refugees from Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1990s.
David Seddon, Norfolk
Israel’s new law to jail kids
The Israeli parliament has just increased the minimum prison sentence for stone throwing to three years in a bid to clamp down on Palestinian protesters.
The law will affect minors and young people primarily.
Killing Palestinians is fine in Israel.
But a young child throwing a stone in protest will feel the full force of their unjust law.
Adam Cochrane, Essex
Students still show the way
I heard about the student protest in London last week.
Good to see students fighting back again.
Rob J, on Twitter