Rod Liddle

What are we supposed to say when a grooming ring comes to light?

What are we supposed to say when a grooming ring comes to light?
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It is a tragedy that some of us are born in the wrong times. According to that increasingly gobby conduit of right-on morality, the NSPCC, girls these days feel compelled to act like porn stars in order to ingratiate themselves with boys. I am not sure quite what, in day to day life, this involves. I only know that they made no similar attempts during my adolescence, or if they did I didn’t notice. I vaguely recall one young lady in my school class telling me, when I was 14, that she had engaged in sexual intercourse the previous night with a boy from a neighbouring town. ‘What was it like, Debs?’ I asked, wide-eyed. ‘Didn’t touch the fucking sides,’ Debs spat with all the contempt she could muster. I suppose that’s quite a porny thing to say, in retrospect. She was cute and scary, Debs, and I was terrified of her. But I never felt that there was an ingratiation process going on; quite the reverse, really. Girls held the whip hand when I was a teenager: it is a tragedy that some of us are born in the wrong times.

Back then, girls were less likely to be seen as ‘victims’ of male sexual aggrandisement, either because nobody cared if they were victims or not, or because they really were not victims to such an extent as they seem to be today, if you follow my drift. They were the ‘gatekeepers’ of their sexuality, and those gates were — in most cases, if not Debs’s — guarded with rather more vigilance than is the case now.

It is also true that back then we did not have gangs of semi-educated Muslim men preying on young white girls on the basis that since they were not Muslim their degradation did not matter one jot in the eyes of Allah. Because they were already in a state of degradation as an unfortunate consequence of not being Muslim — so no harm, then. As we now know, white working-class girls suffered years and years of serial sexual abuse in our frowsy and dilapidated north-western former mill-towns — Rochdale, Blackburn, Burnley, Oldham and so on — the crimes even encroaching into what is these days called the south-east of England, i.e. Oxford. As we have come to learn, political correctness prevented earlier action being taken against the vile and half-witted men who perpetrated these crimes; and even now to suggest that there is a specific cultural problem in the way in which some, perhaps a great many, Muslim men view women from faiths which differ to their own, is to be labelled a racist in some shrill and mentally deficient quarters.

You are certainly required, as a journalist, to point out, when reporting yet another repulsive incident of what has come to be called the ‘grooming’ and subsequent assault of underage white girls by Muslim men, that the majority of sexual offences against children in this country are carried out by lone white males of various religious denomination. The reason for this absurd caveat is simply crowd control — and also a wish on behalf of the spineless journalist to make clear that while Muslims can from time to time behave naughtily, we whitey Christians are even more naughty, really.

Which is, in the case of sexual abuse against underage girls, deluding, because according to the 2001 census data only 2.7 per cent of the population of the UK is Muslim. You may find this figure surprising, given the amount of attention Muslim stuff gets in the press. But this is either because we are wholly irrationally prejudiced against Muslims much more than we are prejudiced against the adherents of every other religion, or that when it comes to bad stuff, Muslims punch way above their weight. One of the two, then — you call it. No, really, I’d rather it came from you. I hope you understand.

The latest report of the grooming of a non-Muslim girl comes not from the white working class, who were always treated with suspicion when they took their complaints to the impeccably liberal middle-class authorities, and marked down as racists, but from the Sikhs — who had an even harder time of it convincing the Old Bill, and the social services, that something seriously remiss was going on. The authorities seem to have decided that the Sikhs were racist too. So a bunch of some 50 Sikh men reportedly trashed a Muslim-run restaurant in the multicultural nirvana of Leicester after having failed to gain redress through the more appropriate and official channels. (The restaurant was adjacent to an apartment at which some of the abuse took place, apparently.) Some of these Sikh men have since been arrested. So, too, at last, have some of the Muslim men said to have been involved in the grooming ring.

It may be a consolation to you that Sikhs are regarded as no less fair game than girls from nominally Christian backgrounds. Self-appointed Muslim community leaders have dutifully condemned the sexual abuse but insisted that it would be wrong to blame an entire community for these horrible crimes. Well, indeed it would. Blame instead something lurking deep within the ideology, the religion, of that community; its implacability, its absolutism, its antipathy to everything which is other than itself. Be ruthless in your introspection, you community leaders, so that we might be a little less so.