CAIRO - Former Home Secretary Jack Straw has sparked a new controversy in Britain after accusing British Muslims of Pakistani origin of abusing white girls and using them in pedophile rings, The Telegraph reported Thursday, September 27.
There is an issue of ethnicity here which can't be ignored, Straw told BBC Radio 4.
"It is true to say â¦ that overall if you go into the sex offenders wings of prisons there are proportionally more white offenders than Asian offenders or black and we have got to deal with that separately.
But it is also correct that in terms of group grooming there is an ethnic dimension which typically is of Asian men on white girls.
Nine men of Pakistani and Afghan descent were convicted in May in a child abuse scandal.
The court found that the nine men exploited girls, who were all white, in sexual activities in return for drugs and alcohol.
A report by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children's Board found Wednesday that social workers have failed to prevent the scandal.
The report said the workers repeatedly failed to take action in response to complaints from under-age girls, who had fallen in a pedophile ring.
The girls were viewed by social workers as problematic and willful and thought to be making their own choices, the report found.
But Straw opines that the scandal reflects a problem among British Muslims of Pakistani origin on dealing with white girls.
And that is an issue which has to be faced and addressed within the Asian community about what's going on there, he said.
That kind of leads to a sense of denial by them that all this is going on.
These are small communities so people will have a rough idea that people are abusing white girls in this way, he said.
That has to be dealt with there as well as obviously with much more effective police and social services action.
Straw, whose Blackburn and Darwen constituency in Lancashire has a large Asian population, had angered Muslims in the past by calling for Muslim women to remove their face-veils.
Last year, he accused Pakistani immigrants of seeing white girls an easy meat for abuses, drawing accusations of stigmatizing the whole community.
Asian Problem Some Muslims acknowledge the problem, heaping the blame on community leaders for failing to tackle it.
I think that an element of what he said is right, Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation, said.
There are some people in my community, the Pakistani community, the elders, who think that the best thing to do is just ignore it and assume it all a BNP and EDL conspiracy, he said, referring to the British National Party and the English Defence League.
I think that is really dangerous, it gives oxygen to the far right.
The Network of Sikh Organization echoes a similar view.
A spokesman said it was not accurate to describe the grooming rings as an Asian problem.
It is something that the leaders of the Muslim community, the Pakistani community, need to address.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.The majority of the multi-ethnic minority has Indian, Bengali and Pakistani backgrounds.