Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Sexual abuse and grooming was not racial

Former director of public prosecutions, Lord McDonald, claimed the abuse of white women by predominantly Asian men was a “profoundly racist” crime. His views have been echoed from many quarters, including figures in the Labour Party. Far-right groups have seized on a Newcastle case to vindicate a long-running narrative claiming a widespread conspiracy among Muslim men and certain immigrant groups to target white women. 

 At the  Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Penny Moreland said grooming gang that preyed on vulnerable girls and young women in Newcastle did not target their victims by race or religion.

 She said they picked out their victims “not because of their race, but because they were young, impressionable, naive and vulnerable... This is extremely serious offending against vulnerable members of society and that is the basis on which I intend to sentence."

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC said the victims who gave evidence in court were all "white British". But the ethnicity of other potential targets was not known, he said, and one vulnerable girl who did not engage with police was black, and an Asian girl was seen at a party. Mr Elvidge added that targets were selected because of their vulnerability, with the groomers believing their circumstances and other factors like drug dependence made them less likely to go to police. “There is no evidence the defendants expressed any racial malice to the complainants,” he added.
Newcastle City Council’s director or people, Ewen Weir, who is responsible for social services, said he had seen no evidence of racial or religious motivations. “There are men from all sorts of backgrounds, including white men, in this,” he added. “In terms of religion, I’ve seen no evidence personally that it is a big driver and I think it’s over-simplistic to claim otherwise.”
Dipu Ahad, Newcastle councillor, told The Independent local Muslims were “absolutely disgusted” by the crimes and feared a possible backlash. “We need to challenge deep-rooted issues in the community, where some men looking at women – not just white women – in a way that’s not acceptable,” Mr Ahad added, while accusing racists of trying to “exploit exploitation”.
Police said those convicted were mainly “not white” but came from a diverse range of backgrounds including Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, Albanian and Eastern European.

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