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Posts Tagged ‘asian women

Allegations of CSE cover up and misogyny within the Labour Party

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Shaista Gohir Source: Facebook

Shaista Gohir
Source: Facebook

 

Shaista Gohir is pulling no punches. The chair of the charity Muslim Women’s Network (MWN) UK is continuing to deal blows to the Labour party, accusing it of covering up misogyny and intimidation of Muslim women from the men in their own communnities.

Gohir has been gathering evidence from Muslim women across the country in order to get the party to address the allegations and make some serious changes.

But more revealing is the allegation made by a former Labour councillor, who  claims that abuse is being covered up within the Labour party. The Muslim woman told Newsnight that Pakistani councillors on the council where she served are regularly protecting men who may be exploiting white girls, simply because they are important business allies.

Zahara – not her real name – claims that the police presented councillors with a sexually explicit video as they ruled on whether to shut down a club where these alleged offences were taking place.

She said: “The decision ultimately should have been to close the establishment down because of inappropriate behaviours going on of a sexual nature between young white girls and Asian males that was being shown on the video.

“I was clearly told to stop questioning by a hand gesture and nudge by senior male councillors that were Asian who were sitting next to me… I was told: ‘Do you know who it is? It’s a very prominent Asian businessman that supports us’.”

This woman claims that, on this occasion and many others, she was deselected because she refused to do as these powerful councillors of Pakistani heritage demanded. When she arrived at the selection meeting, it was full of Asian people she had never seen before. “They’re in the pocket of influential male councillors,” she added.

This, in my opinion, is the angle on which Newsnight should have led. Instead, it was almost buried within the report. It is almost as though allegations of covering up CSE were an afterthought of this report.

It seems evident to me that Labour is doing anything to keep  the ‘minority’ vote, at the expense of leaving those groups effectively to be ruled by ‘their’ men.

 

“Systematic Misogyny”

Councillor Arooj Shah Source: Oldham Council

Councillor Arooj Shah
Source: Oldham Council

 

From about 2:50 in the Newsnight video, Oldham councillor Arooj Shah is seen leafleting in her neighbourhood, along with fellow councillor Shadab Qumer. Councillor Shah is doing the talking yet the Muslim man they visit only shakes hands, and speaks directly, only with the male councillor, instead of Councillor Shah.

She told the BBC: “There’s Labour Party members who will accept my two colleagues, Asian men, but support anyone but me. They’re members of the local Labour party. They are shameless about it… It’s because I’m a woman and anyone who sugar-coats it is lying.”

Councillor Shah also said that she has received disgusting letters where her head has been attached to images of Page 3 models, in an effort to silence and intimidate her.

MWN has been heard from many Muslim women across the country on the “blocking” of vocal, independent Muslim women by male members of the Labour Party who are of Pakistani heritage – or ‘biraderi’ (clan) politics. The charity has called for an inquiry by party leader Jeremy Corbyn into the “systematic misogyny” within Labour. If this is happening in the Labour party then I wonder – is this also happening in other parties?

Unfortunately this is no surprise to many women of Muslim heritage. We are all aware of the fact that most of the hostility faced is by those from within our own communities. We receive support when we toe a certain line, but as soon as we go beyond that we are quickly silenced.

Well done to the brave women who are continuing to speak out against the misogyny and campaigns of harassment they have faced. It takes a lot of courage to speak out.

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Focus on ‘Asian gangs’ takes away from the victims

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This article originally appeared in The Backbencher on 25/11/2012

This week on BBC Asian Network, the topic on Wednesday morning was: “has the media got it wrong by focusing on Pakistan child grooming gangs?”

It was not long before the majority of the callers, including former Labour MP Ann Cryer, were quick to point out that this was specifically a ‘Pakistani problem’ because Indian or Bangladeshi men had not been involved.

Let me make one thing absolutely clear, before you all start accusing me of being in denial or other such things. I was absolutely appalled at the behaviour of these gangs in Rochdale – I hope they are left to rot in jail. But what disgusts me even more is how people have jumped on the bandwagon and started brandishing their pitchforks, determined to point the finger at Pakistani or Muslim men.

Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said this week that the “model” of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of “a number of models”, and warned that if investigators concentrated on those patterns, victims could fall through the net. The report concluded that both boys and girls could be victims of sexual exploitation, although the vast majority were girls. However, something which was not revealed in the media at the time was that almost three out of ten victims (28 per cent) were from ethnic minority backgrounds.

This is the key point, given that the general perception and crude stereotype seemed to be that there were dangerous brown men only after white flesh, because of some underlying prejudice where they see all white females as easy targets and more ‘available’ than their Asian or Muslim counterparts.

Furthermore, this should, hopefully, quell the myth that somehow Pakistani or Muslim men avoid abusing their ‘own’ women out of respect – that is simply not true. Men such as the ones who were  arrested in Rochdale have absolutely no respect for females of any kind, whether they are white or brown. They are monsters. End of.

Academic Vron Ware recounts that the black male has been historically ‎constructed as the antithesis of white femininity, sexually predatory upon white innocence and ‎beauty – the black male has now been substituted for ‘Asian’ or ‘Muslim’.

The danger with this finger pointing and crude stereotyping is that the victims often lose out.

The Children’s Commissioner’s report says that approximately one third of abusers, about which they received data, are Asian but ethnicity isn’t an issue.

In the vast majority of cases the ethnicity of perpetrators is not collected and it may be that their ethnicity is more likely to be recorded if they are non-white. Overall, the percentages were skewed to show a higher percentage of perpetrators were Asian than is really the case.*

 

 

In certain areas ‘Asian gangs’ can form a bigger percentage, especially if they are a bigger part of the local population, but that does not make it an ‘Asian’ problem. Yet there is this danger now that many Pakistani men will be suspected of being potential groomers or abusers

A social worker on BBC Asian Network recounted how young Asian men are now under the spotlight – pregnant white women who come into hospital with their Asian boyfriends are suddenly suspected of being groomed by them with no reason, other than seeing partners with two different skin colours.

The victim loses out once again

The discourse of the grooming case has been dominated by this idea that there is a cultural issue behind the sexual abuse of white girls. Unfortunately, this takes away from the fact that young girls, or children rather (let us not forget they were still children), were being abused for a significant period of time. While we have all debated how it is brown men that are causing the problems on our streets, we forgot to ask ourselves – what about the children?

Because, let’s face it, Pakistani abusers receive more headlines and it sells more papers, and eventually plays into the hands of the racists, such as the BNP and EDL, who don’t really care about the victims, they are just looking for someone to scapegoat.

Debating the race, ethnicity or nationality of those monsters to me is irrelevant and trivial and the abuse goes unnoticed. This needs to be addressed.

Instead, the focus should be on the victims. Social services and the police need to be trained and guided on how to identify children who may be subjected to sexual abuse or grooming. They need to be helped first. That way, the abusers are caught – it is not easy to find out who is an abuser, it just does not work like that, whereas there are often tell-tale signs of a child who is being abused. Once a victim is identified, the abuser can be apprehended. The police and social services can then find out who else is being groomed or abused.

An Asian problem?

Sexual abuse is a taboo everywhere, especially in Asian communities. Not all abuse is documented, or ever found out.  Asian women are less likely to report abuse because of this notion of ‘honour’ and ‘shame’.

Amongst Asians, the family (extended over numerous households) is a fundamental and influential foundation, providing financial support and emotional security. The accomplishments of an Asian family are judged in terms of the family as a whole, so privacy or independence is seen as undesirable. Gender stereotypes are highly conventional and since women are held responsible for maintaining family honour, known as izzat, and avoiding sharam (shame) the family may justify women being guarded and considered not as individuals but as property.

This leaves many Asian girls even more vulnerable because they are less likely to speak out. So we need a better system in place that can help even more young boys and girls come forward if they are being abused.

At the end of the day, our first priority should be helping the victims, and I hope that after this report we can see past the labels and put the victims first.

 

* This paragraph has been amended to include the unreliability of the data

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