National Coalition To Tackle Street Grooming

 

CAASE image

 

A new coalition of community groups is being launched later in a bid to tackle on-street grooming of children by gangs.

In the aftermath of recent child sex abuse trials, leading Muslim and child protection organisations are launching CAASE in Bradford.

It is being led by the Islamic Society of Britain and anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate with the aim of mobilising campaigns against grooming, producing training material for faith leaders and creating local groups to work on tackling street grooming in areas where it is a problem.

There has been a great deal of debate since about the significance of the men’s religion and heritage in cases where the gang members were all or mostly men of of Pakistani and Muslim heritage.

Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain, said it was time for some very straight talking about a crime in which men from Muslim backgrounds are being implicated.

“I am willing to go as far as to say there does seem to be a pattern emerging of people from the same background and we need to be open about that and do something about it,” she said.

“It’s certainly not Islam, anything but it! But, associations with names and imagery will inevitably be made when the police make arrests and, let’s face it, those associations with Islam will be exploited too. So I do feel strongly that Muslim groups need to be there at the forefront with other partners, looking more closely at this particular issue.”

Julie Siddiqi
Julie Siddiqi: “We cannot keep reading about these cases for the next five or ten years. Doing nothing is not an option.”

 

“The facts and figures need to be much better on this. At the moment it’s very easy for someone to say to me – which they do – that actually most of the perpetrators of child abuse in this country are white males.

“But this particular behaviour and way of going about it does seem to be related to people of a certain background.”

The coalition, which is being formally launched at the Manningham Mills Community Centre on Friday, also has backing from the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Youth Helpline, Christian Muslim Forum, City Sikhs and the Church of England.

Professional guidance is being provided by NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood) and Victim Support.

Nick Lowles, of Hope Not Hate, says it is vital there is an open and honest discussion, and that groups like the EDL and BNP should not be the ones left to exploit the issue and spread mistruths.

“There are few issues that have the potential to divide like this one and it’s not being talked about at a community level,” he said. “No-one is really looking at the best way to actually tackle this.

“We are expecting some pushback on this, not everyone wants us to talk about it, so we have to try and involve everyone.”

Alyas Karmani
Alyas Karmani: “Sexual predators come from all backgrounds and all sections of society .”

The coalition will also bring in the work of Alyas Karmani, Director of STREET (Strategy To Reach Educate and Empower Teenagers).

He says the role of his organisation is to deliver practical prevention work – both safeguarding potential victims and working with young men who are potential perpetrators. But Mr Karmani says his work will not focus on one community.

“Sexual predators come from all backgrounds and all sections of society and they’re actually very sophisticated about identifying any child, boy or girl, who is vulnerable,” he said.

“That is why we need to be vigilant about not creating stereotypes around just Pakistani men, or just white girls in the care system, because that detracts from us being much more aware of the bigger picture.”

According to Julie Siddiqi, it is time for a lot of people to stand up and not just talk, but take action:

“Every young female must be protected from such calculated evil. And if our coming together as civil society can help bring the full weight of the law upon the types of vile gangs we are reading about, and if it means we tackle those attitudes that can enable such gangs to keep carrying out their organised crime, then we shall. But it does require work, frankness and some guts. We cannot keep reading about these cases for the next five or ten years. Doing nothing is not an option.”

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More news links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22462832

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/nick-lowles/child-abuse-caase_b_3252079.html?utm_hp_ref=uk?ncid=GEP

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10407061.Muslim_led_campaign_to_tackle_sexual_grooming_unveiled_in_Bradford_on_Friday/

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/around-yorkshire/local-stories/muslim-leaders-back-campaign-against-street-grooming-gangs-1-5653228