‘Abject failure’: UK ignored racial patterns in home crime for over a decade
RT:You've worked extensively on this issue - is there
evidence of neglect on the part of authorities due to the racial
or religious character of a crime?
Andrew Norfolk: I think that conclusion is unavoidable. Just to give you one example in the North of England, we obtained over 200 confidential documents that showed there was a ten year history in one town of young girls typically aged between 11 and14-years-old being targeted and befriended and then being given alcohol and
drugs and eventually being passed around ever increasing groups of men to be used for sex. That was known about for ten years by the police force concerned, by the local authority concerned and there was an abject failure to take the
action that was needed to protect those children and to prosecute the offenders.
RT:So why did nobody react in the appropriate way to this?
AN:I think one of the factors that you have already been very clearly discussing is there was a terror of treading into what was seen as a cultural minefield. There was an additional problem in that some of these agencies genuinely don’t seem to have understood quite how serious these crimes were. There was a sense that girls were somehow consenting to their own abuse. The reality was far, far worse.
RT:So what other factors could be in play here when we talk about a rise in the number of crimes committed by the Muslim committee?
AN:The thing we on the Times have been arguing from the very first story we published about this more than two years ago was that here is a crime pattern, a crime pattern that the authorities have ignored for at least 10 years. If you’re going to address this you need to understand why this has happened. There are issues there to this day which to this day no research has been carried out to try to discover. For example issues surrounding the age of consent, in this country you have to be sixteen before you can legally consent to have sex. In the communities from which the main offenders come from, in their home communities back in Pakistan, village tradition says that puberty is the age of consent and religious law, Sharia, also says that puberty is the age at which a girl can be marriage. And the average age for puberty in this country is 11-years-old.
RT:We’re bviously dealing with a cross-cultural problem here. What does this situation say about the authorities’ efforts to integrate these committees?
AN:Multiculturalism is a very thorny issue in this country. The idea that you should allow different communities to develop separately and to continue with traditions which make them feel more comfortable with their life in a country where those traditions are completely alien. The Times would never suggest the use of young girls or sex is condoned in those societies, but the fact is there was clearly a lesser degree of shame.
RT:So what's the way out of this vicious circle - is there a way to tackle both the growing crime rate among the Muslim population and growing Islamophobia?
AN:The way to tackle the crime, I am increasingly convinced for the Muslim community itself to take the lead in exposing and eradicating those who think it’s alright to do this to girls. There are some very encouraging signs finally that there are some leading Islamic organizations are prepared to grasp the nettle on this and do something about it. In terms of Islamophobia one of the troubles was because for ten years because no mainstream politicians or media were looking at this the field was left to the far right politics to spread poisonous distorted lies. They were claiming that somehow this was part of some global Islamic plot to impregnate every white girl in the country and spread the Islamic Khalifa – that was nonsense. When there are problems on the backstreets of northern towns the elite in London has to look and say:“we’re going to do something about it, we won’t leave it to the far right to rant about it.”