A Muslim Conservative Councillor in Bradford has admitted that some local Muslims believe child victims of Muslim sex-grooming gangs are complicit in their abuse. “They believe it takes two to tango,” he said.
His comments come after 12 Muslim men were sentenced to a combined 143 years in jail for the year long abuse of a vulnerable 13-year-old girl.
On Monday, the twelve men of Pakistani origin were handed sentences at Bradford Crown Court of between three and a half to 20 years for their role in the sexual exploitation of a 13 year old local girl who was repeatedly raped by the gang, the Daily Mail has reported.
Their ringleader, drug-dealer Arif Chowdhury, now 20 years old, escaped justice by fleeing to Bangladesh. He used the girl as a drug-runner and as his personal sexual property, passing her between his friends and even to rival gang members from another part of town for over a year.
During her ordeal she was also beaten and verbally abused. On one occasion one of her abusers turned up at her house while her mother and stepfather were out and threatened to douse it with petrol and set it alight unless she had sex with him. The men would also call her at home to threaten and abuse her.
Sentencing the men, whose ages ranged from 19 to 63, the judge said: “The attitudes the majority of you have so clearly demonstrated to these proceedings [the men had been constantly joking and waving to their supporters in the public gallery] has been contemptuous, disrespectful and arrogant on a scale I have hardly seen before in many years of practice in criminal law.”
Yet it was not only the men who showed contempt both for the victim and for the British justice system. Commenting after the case, Tory Councillor Zafar Ali, in whose constituency the girl was abused, condemned the men, saying: “Like nearly all my fellow Muslims, I want to see these gangs of paedophiles removed from our community and imprisoned for a long time.”
But when asked what he had meant by “nearly all” Muslims, he admitted: “It is important to be aware that, sadly, a small number of people within the Muslim community do take the view that the victim is partly to blame. They believe it takes two to tango.” He added: “They must be confronted about their abhorrent views.”
Just hours after the mens’ sentences were handed out, one member of the local community took to Facebook to post: “A big shout to all mums who’s son’s got sentenced without any evidence. Am wiv u all . . . today [the victim’s] mother is wiv her Coz she knows here daughter will get a fat compensation lol it makes me sick!!! I seen it all. she was good friends wiv my niece!! Yeah some of erm lads did go wiv her but she wanted it and lied [about] her age!!!!”
Meanwhile, former neighbours of three of the men, Nazir Khan, his brother Faisal Khan, and Zain Ali, who all lived on Dalton Lane, a small street of terraced houses, have spoken out in support of the convicted rapists.
“There is no evidence against them,” one young woman said. “They were just charged. It’s a stitch-up.”
Another, a close relative of Zain Ali – who was 17 at the time he committed the offences – said: “They have not done it. Zain was a lovely child. He was so polite. He would do anything for anyone.
“Our children’s lives have been destroyed. It’s not just our kids who have been punished. All their families have got a life sentence and it’s so unfair.”
Others insisted that, even if the men did have sex with a 13 year old, it was because she lied about her age and went with them willingly. In other words, “it takes two to tango”.
The girl came from a broken home in which she was rejected by her mother, a heavy drinker. But where many would look upon the girl with pity, the Muslim men showed only contempt, seeing her as a lesser person because of her race. According to the evidence in court they regularly called her a “little white bastard”, “little white slag”, and “white bitch.”
In his summary, the judge said: “She [the victim] demanded pity and understanding, but their view of her was heartless and demeaning. They saw her as a pathetic figure who had no worth and who served no other purpose than to be an object they could sexually misuse and cast aside. They showed her no shred of decency or humanity.”
On one occasion five of the men took turns raping the girl in a yard near Dalton Lane, in an attack which the judge described as “‘degrading and humiliating,” “prolonged and sustained,” and “backed up by Arif’s [Chowdhury] violence and threats.”
Yet the victim is far from alone. Keighley, whose population is 71 percent white; 18 percent Pakistani, was recently rated among the least integrated places in the UK. It is also rife with child sexual exploitation cases: authorities in Bradford are currently conducting 129 separate investigations into child sex grooming, involving 183 suspects, 66 of whom have been arrested.
And the problem is far from localised – major trials of the sort seen in Bradford this week have also taken place in Rochdale and Rotherham, but also in Oxford, Derby, Leeds, Aylesbury, Telford, Banbury, Middlesbrough, Dewsbury, Carlisle, Burnley and Blackpool.
Yet in almost all cases the Muslim perpetrators are targeting white girls. “I’m not saying it’s not happening to Asian girls,” Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadhan Foundation, told the Mail.
“But Asian men do not tend to go for Asian girls because someone could come knocking on their door. They do not want fathers or brothers or community leaders speaking out against them.”