Let me make three vital points first. These depraved men, most of them Pakistani, would never have been tried and convicted had it not been for Nazir Afzal, appointed the North West’s Chief prosecutor who is a Muslim and I guess of Pakistani origin . Way back in 2008, a young white girl, seriously abused by the gang rapists in Manchester told her harrowing story to law enforcers and prosecutors who simply disregarded her testimony. To them too, she was worthless ‘trash’. Afzal overturned that decision. It is also important to remember that most men who groom and rape young girls in Britain are white. And thirdly when one of the ring leaders tore off his shirt and claimed he was the victim of racism, he was behaving no better than the BNP and EDL who use race and ethnicity for their own devilish purposes. When these cases happen, as an Muslim Asian woman I am warned not to write on them because it encourages racism against us. Black Britons are similarly enraged when some of their bad men are exposed. Well damn such injunctions. Keeping the lid on dreadful crimes committed by Britons of colour only increases the numbers of racists in this country, maybe even turns good people who try hard not to be prejudiced.
These young lives matter much more than any sensitivities about racism.
We will never know how many girls were victimised and what the effect will be on their lives. Many lived in troubled families and were easy to lure with pathetic ‘treats’ and other enticements. Blame for this cannot be planted on to their families, however dysfunctional they may be. The rapists may convince themselves and others that their victims were ‘trash’ Their own daughters, one could say, are also growing up in difficult households. I know how much physical abuse goes on behind the closed doors of such families, how many girls from ‘good Muslim families’ are married off when too young, raped within marriage and treated as things. White girls are of no value at all- except when they bring in money serving men. The appalling thing is that in the enclaves and families where these men came from families will be blaming the abused teenagers, the ‘devils’ as one man described them.
The rapists are all probably considered very good Muslims, praying and fasting in the daytime, then prowling and preying at night on girls they think of as barely human. I remember once writing a story on bounty hunters in Bradford, men who were capturing Asian girls and women who had fled to refuges and getting paid thousands of pounds by the families. In one taxi a young chap, born in Britain but of Kashmiri heritage. He had a tasbi ( Islamic rosary) hanging on the mirror. Yet he was a proud pimp. As we drove around I was reminded of the murderous morality of the anti-hero in the film Taxi Driver. He was furious about young Asian girls on the streets and wanted them to be kept indoors and he believed he was a good man because in his ‘business’ he only used white women, ‘cheap and easy will go with anyone’ he informed me, ‘not like us’.
These men- and there are many of them- are filled with fear and hatred of females, only understand coerced sex and are convinced that white women in particular deserve no respect and can be used with impunity. Sexism and racism courses through their veins. One can but imagine what they actually did to the traumatised and drunk children. Prison will make no difference to their sick minds and hearts. Or to those many others out there.
Published in The Independent