One of the big news stories in Britain last year was the uncovering of what that country’s media insist on calling “Asian sex gangs.” Simply put, groups of “Asian” men turn large numbers of “white” girls into their sex toys, “grooming” them for exploitation and then passing them around to one another. For those unfamiliar with the standard euphemisms of the British press – left-wing and right-wing, highbrow and lowbrow alike – “Asian” and “white” are codes for “Muslim” and “non-Muslim,” respectively. The reason these men can target non-Muslim girls so remorselessly is simple: they know that in their religion’s eyes female infidels are already prostitutes, whose failure to wear veils renders them undeserving of respect and responsible for any sexual act to which they might be unwillingly subjected.
Although it is becoming clear that such “sex gangs” are in operation in a number of places, the focus has been on a group in Rochdale, near Manchester, whose conviction last May made huge headlines. Every bit as deplorable as the abuse they committed is the fact that cops and social workers to whom some of these girls turned for help had chosen for a long time not to do anything about the situation. Former Labour MP Ann Cryer excoriated police officers and people at Child Protective Services who “were petrified of being called racist and so reverted to the default of political correctness. They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them.”
Fortunately for the cause of justice, the chief prosecutor who chose to put the sex gang on trial is Nazir Afzal, a man of Pakistani parentage – a fact that in a better world would make no difference one way or another but that, in the world we’re stuck with, enabled him to get away with making straightforward statements of fact that would get a non-Muslim in big trouble. It’s largely because of this invisible Islamic shield that Afzal became, in the words of Jonathan Brown, writing last May in the left-wing Independent, “the public face of the legal system’s determination to stamp out honour-based violence, forced marriage and grooming.” Ordinarily, to be sure, the Independent would prefer not to mention that such things as honor-based violence and forced marriage exist, let alone that they’re part and parcel of Islamic culture; but if someone like Afzal talks bluntly about these matters, it’s willing to nod silently when he points out that they’re real, undesirable – and, yes, Islamic. (Also fortunately for justice, by the way, the judge in the case didn’t have his head in the sand, either, telling defendants that “one of the factors” in their systematic abuse of the girls “is that they were not of your community or religion.”)
Yet no sooner did news about these “sex gangs” – and of the years-long, sweep-it-under-the-rug approach of pusillanimous public servants – begin to trickle out than the voices of political correctness began to push back. The Daily Mail‘s James Tozer and Nazia Parveen noted an MP’s warning that (in their words) “highlighting the Pakistani origin” of sex gangs risks “giving ammunition to the far-Right.” Similarly, they quoted a Manchester police official as saying that the gangs are “not a racial issue….It just happens that…these were Asian men.” Naturally it’s not about race: it’s about Islam. But some folks are so PC that they can’t even be totally honest about what it is they’re denying.
One likely reason why Brown was willing to describe Afzal, with apparent admiration, as the public face of a war on forced marriage and such – and, I might add, to paraphrase him to the effect that “no minority communities should be allowed to offer refuge to men who commit crimes against women” – is that the focus of Brown’s article wasn’t Islam but another “minority community,” one in which “there is still work to do.” (As if all the “work” on Islam were now completed.) Which community? The Travellers, “where children are still married off against their will.” As Afzal told Brown, “I have become aware of massive issues of forced marriage in the Traveller community. It is widespread.” Indeed, Afzal said that for him, the Travellers are “the last bastion”: “We tackled grooming gangs. Now we have to confront forced marriage among Travellers.”
Who are the Travellers? They’re a small, nomadic Gaelic group, often lumped in with gypsies, who have been a part of life in the British Isles for centuries. Full points to Afzal for wanting to protect children from this subculture’s harmful customs. But how palpably, pathetically eager Brown was to grab this opportunity to shift the focus away from Islam! Brown provided an excellent example of the stark difference between the left’s treatment of Islam and – well – its treatment of pretty much everything else. When the subject is Islam, the approach is invariably discreet, delicate, diplomatic: the euphemism “Asian” is religiously reiterated, as is the assertion that (fill in problem here) has nothing to do with group identity. But when the subject is, say, the Travellers, you can feel the clouds of anxiety lifting, and witness the willingness to acknowledge that, yes, there is a cultural issue here that deserves notice. One minor point: the Travellers, unlike Islam, pose no existential threat to British society – or the West generally. “Turning the spotlight on the Traveller community is a typically bold action by Mr Afzal,” wrote Brown. Yeah, right: Afzal’s risking reprisal from all those Traveller terrorist cells.
Anyway, all that was last May. Ever since, Britain’s leftist media have done their best to try to decouple Islam and pederasty in the public mind. Official “reports” have helped. In late September, an Independent editorial, while serving up, en passant, an admission that “the racial [i.e. Islamic] dimension” of the sex gangs merited attention, trained its focus on a new report that dismissed this “dimension” on the grounds “that just 28 per cent” of child sexual abusers in Britain are “Asian.” To which one would reply, first, that massive evidence points to the existence in European Muslim families of child sexual abuse on a monumental scale, with only a tiny percentage of victims ever breathing a word to anyone about their plight; second, that if even the report’s figures were thoroughly legitimate, the manifest eagerness of the left to shift attention away from the long-ignored victims of Muslim sex gangs is obscene.
In November, another “report,” this one by England’s Children’s Commission, sought to (shall we say) contextualize the matter of Muslim sex gangs. Discussing the report (which I wrote about at the time) with the Independent, Sue Berelowitz, who headed the report committee, spun it this way: sexually abused children “are falling through the net because of a pre-occupation with Asian men targeting white girls.” What? After all, “Asian men targeting white girls” is only one of “a number of models”; perpetrators “come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims – contrary to what some may wish to believe.” “Wish to believe”? What does “wishing” have to do with any of this – except for the fact that a small army of public employees tasked with protecting kids spent years trying to wish away the need to confront a small army of Muslim men over their barbaric behavior? Berelowitz’s report was a big hit with her fellow child-aid bureaucrats: one of them called it “a sobering reminder that child sexual exploitation…can happen to any child, in any community”; another hailed it as an affirmation that sexual abuse “can impact on children from any background.” Again, the readiness to return to the see-no-evil status quo ante was as transparent as it was repulsive.
As the months went by, the party line on the sex gangs was endlessly repeated: although MPs had “called for an inquiry into the cultural roots” of the gangs, the Independent‘s editors warned that “[i]t would be as well to be cautious before drawing too general lessons.” (As if a “cautious” approach, on the part of cops and others in authority, hadn’t prolonged so many girls’ suffering!) An Independent contributor, Susan Elkin, agreed: the sex-gang issue, she pronounced, “certainly can’t be categorised as a racial or cultural matter.” But if multicultural orthodoxy made it verboten to finger Islam, it was OK to place the blame elsewhere. Many agreed with Afzal that the sex gangs were “a gender issue,” not a religious or cultural one; in September, one Laurie Penny argued risibly in the Independent that if the authorities had waited so long before helping sex-gang victims, it wasn’t “’in the interests of racial harmony,’ as outlets like The Daily Telegraph continue to claim,” but because those authorities didn’t consider the working-class rape victims “worth protecting”: in short, “[t]he axis of prejudice here is not race, but class.” This low, dishonest denial of reality reached its nadir, perhaps, in a November Guardian piece by Ratna Lachman, head of JUST West Yorkshire, who actually argued that if official Britain, after ignoring Muslim sex gangs for years, had finally brought them to justice, it was because “institutional Islamaphobia has become part of the political culture.” Even a Muslim rapist, then, is ultimately a victim.
“There must never be another Rochdale” read the headline on the Independent‘s September editorial. But the only way to prevent another Rochdale is to be honest about what made it happen. If you sincerely want to protect girls from “Asian sex gangs,” you’ve got to understand, face, and speak the truth about the malefactors’ motivations. A good first step would be for Britons to decide, once and for all, to stop saying “Asian” when everybody knows they mean Muslim.By Bruce Bawer