Thursday, March 27, 2008

Muslim Leader's Duplicity and the Daily Mail

Panorama airs tonight on BBC1 with a program about Asian men grooming white girls for prostitution. Mohammed Shafiq, Director of the Ramadhan Foundation, appears on the documentary. He is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying:

I think the police are overcautious on dealing with this issue openly because they fear being branded racist and I think that is wrong. These are criminals they should be treated as criminals. They are not Asian criminals, they are not Muslim criminals, they are not white criminals. They are criminals and they should be treated as criminals.
He explains his motivation:
I am the only Muslim leader in the UK that speaks up against this sort of thing and I do it because these teenage girls are somebody's sisters and they are somebody's daughters. I have got two daughters and I wouldn't want that to happen to my daughters. "If there is a drug dealer grooming a white teenager into prostitution then I don't want the police service or local authority not to be open about it.
It all sounds very reasonable. Some of you may even be thrilled to see a Muslim leader speak out against what appears to be too much PC nonsense hampering the police efforts. In fact, some comments on the Daily Mail site say just that:
I for one welcome Mohammed Shafiqs views on policing the Asian sector. Thank God he has the common sense to speak out for justice in this country, unlike others.
The law is the law and should not come under the umbrella of political correctness. Police are here to uphold the law and if young girls are being prostituted then it must be stopped. I don't care what race the perpetrators are they must be stopped.

- Jules Ackers, Eastbourne, UK
There is only one problem - Mr Shafiq is not being straight. On his organisation's website is another explanation of his actions:
Whilst there is no evidence that the Police or local authorities are deliberately not speaking out about this evil practice due to the fear of being labeled racist, their silence is contributing to a vacuum where only the BNP benefit.

I would urge the Police, local authorities, religious and community groups to be open about the practice and encourage all to work together to eradicate it, only working together can we defeat it and ensure that the BNP are not seeking political advantage.
So his accusation is not only baseless but more worrying is his motivation. Far from being driven by some humanitarian desire to help these girls his real concern is that the BNP might make "political advantage" from it.

In fact, the police refute his baseless accusations. Det Supt Graham Herrmann of Lancashire Police told a local paper:
It doesn't matter what part of society these people are from we will investigate stringently. It is not about race. Mr Shafiq has talked about a vacuum where the BNP will prosper but there is no vacuum. We are working hard to target and identify those people who are at risk and work to protect those young people in the future.
Here we have a community leader discussing criminal activity within his own community. He recognises the problem but instead of challenging his community's leaders and supporting the police he flings an unfounded accusation at them all the while concerned only that the BNP should not gain any advantage from it. Shame on Mr Shafiq. And shame on the Daily Mail for falling for it.

UPDATE: It appears that Mr Shafiq has a blog on which he has posted the article from the Daily Mail (without a link) and with no mention of his comments on the Ramadhan Foundation website.