This is the highly inflammatory graphic that is being circulated by bigots and some extremist far right sympathisers, using Facebook and Twitter. The suggestion that Muslim men as a whole are predatorial and that ‘English girls’ should be wary of ‘Muslims’ if they live in Muslim majority areas, smacks of bigotry and prejudice and an acceptable form of racism.
Any balanced and fair person will be sickened by the predatorial grooming actions that have come to light since Rotherham and which have involved men from a variety of ethnic groups. Some commentators and extremist far right bigots have tried to link their faith as being a cause, even though any and every faith strongly reject ideas of rape or intercourse with children. Yet, they selectively choose and twist historical elements within Islamic history to ‘prove’ that their twisted ideology is right. This self-selecting of information which resonates with their extreme rhetoric is another feature of today’s modern world.
Furthermore, some of those who promote this notion, easily forget the victims or the fact that child sexual exploitation is an issue that affects all communities. Yet, we have never had any faith linked to such behaviour, even when Christian priests have been found to have been involved in paedophilia over a number of years.
Lastly, there is something sinister about this graphic which has already done the rounds on social media. The suggestion that the police or social workers should not be approached is ‘advice’ that can cost lives and is deeply damaging by breaking down trust in the State’s mechanisms to support vulnerable young girls. Whilst purporting to stand up for the protection of young English girls, the advice is not to engage with support services or the State. This is precisely the opposite of what young girls should do and that is to engage with and get support if they feel that they are being targeted.
The graphic is also misleading and based on the assumption that only ‘English’ girls are at risk and the picture has a young white girl placed on it. Yet, gangs of men are also preying on Asian and Muslim women too though this is not highlighted in this deeply racialised graphic.
Child sexual exploitation is therefore an issue for all communities and given the sad reality of greater risks through on-line activity. If there is one fact that should be promoted, it is this one so that we can all be aware of the risks to young children who need our support and protection.