Race, sexual abuses and the far right agenda

Last week, Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted about a case of a gang of men (commonly referred to as a “grooming gang”), who had sexually assaulted and abused young girls, and had been found guilty by a court in northern England of over 120 offences. “These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice,” he tweeted. His reference to the ethnicity of the perpetrators whipped up apolitical storm. “Sajid Javid has brought a great office of state into disrepute,” said David Lammy, a Labour MP and an anti-racism activist. “By singling out Asians, he not only panders to the far right but increases the risk of violence and abuse against minorities…” Zubaida Haque, deputy head of the Runnymede Trust, a think tank, warned that the politicisation of child sexual exploitation would ensure that “all sexual predators who are not Asian” and non-White victims would be ignored. The case centred around Huddersfield follows a high-profile scandal in Rochdale in Greater Manchester, in which 19 men were convicted between 2012 and 2015 of rape and trafficking of dozens of underage girls. The men involved were mainly of Pakistani-heritage and the victims were by and large White. At the time, the case triggered a controversy domestically with some suggesting that the cases had been largely ignored by authorities, who had been fearful of appearing racist by cracking down on the men. The local Labour MP courted controversy as he criticised police forces who insisted that ethnicity did not play a factor. Unsurprisingly, the controversy has also played into the hands of the far right, who leapt on what they perceived as an opportunity to attack “political correctness” and to perpetrate Islamophobic perspectives. The debate continues Among those to have aggravated things has been Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (best known as ‘Tommy Robinson’), a favourite of the far right who had previously called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the U.K. Last year, he was accused of contempt of court for breaking reporting restrictions on a case of grooming gang trials (also involving Asian men) in Leeds via a Facebook Live video. He was freed after being sentenced to jail earlier this year, to the delight of his supporters who have staged angry — and sometimes violent — protests in central London. His case — and his use of the grooming gang cases to further a far right agenda — continues to grab headlines. On Tuesday, his supporters and anti-racism campaigners gathered outside the Old Bailey in central London for yet another hearing in his contempt of court case during which the presiding judge referred the case to the Attorney General.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/race-sexual-abuses-and-the-far-right-agenda/article25350390.ece

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