British Pakistanis write to Sunak over Braverman’s comments on child sexual abuse
British home secretary Suella Braverman had said in an interview that the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are ‘groups of men, almost all British Pakistanis’
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) and Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman attend a meeting following the announcement of a new police task force to help officers tackle grooming gangs, in Rochdale, northern England on April 3, 2023. (Photo: Getty Images)
A group of British Pakistanis has written an open letter to the prime minister Rishi Sunak, requesting him to clarify the comments made by his home secretary, Suella Braverman.
According to the group, Braverman’s remarks have caused harm to their community in relation to the child sexual exploitation carried out by a group of people.
The British Pakistani Foundation (BPF), which claims to represent 18,000 members of the Pakistani diaspora, has asked Sunak to request Braverman to retract her ‘irresponsible comments’ since it could be seen as promoting discrimination against the community.
Several other Pakistani diaspora groups have also issued similar letters, all demanding that the Indian-origin cabinet minister’s comments be withdrawn.
In a series of television interviews earlier this month ahead of the launch of a new Grooming Gangs Taskforce, Braverman said that the perpetrators of such crimes are ‘groups of men, almost all British Pakistanis’.
“We are writing to you to share our deep concern and disappointment at the Home Secretary’s recent comments and for you not speaking out against them,” reads the open letter.
These comments singled out only the involvement of British Pakistani males in so-called ‘grooming gangs’ and holding cultural values totally at odds with ‘British values’, it said.
“Words have consequences – by stigmatising an entire community, and making it the ‘face’ of child sexual exploitation, the Home Secretary’s remarks will detract attention from perpetrators who don’t meet her stereotypes, harming the very victims the home secretary ostensibly set out to protect but also further perpetrating violence against minorities,” it reads.
The letter references a report commissioned by the UK Home Office in 2020, entitled ‘The characteristics of group-based child sexual exploitation in the community’, which had concluded that despite some high-profile cases, links between ethnicity and this form of offending cannot be proven.
It also references the most recent conviction of 21 men and women of “white British ethnicity”, who were last week found guilty of sexually abusing young children in Walsall in the West Midlands region of England over a decade.
“The divisive and dangerous way in which the Home Secretary is seeking to portray all British Pakistani males and insinuating that the community is complicit in their actions is reprehensible,” the BPF open letter notes.
“We, therefore, ask you to immediately clarify the Home Secretary’s claims and ask her to withdraw her remarks. We also ask for your prompt engagement with the British Pakistani community, and others, on this issue to ensure that the home secretary’s irresponsible words, and a government led by you, are not seen as encouraging and normalising bigotry targeted at British Pakistanis,” it concluded.
Earlier this month, Sunak had condemned the political correctness which prevented action against “vile” criminals as he unveiled his new taskforce to go after grooming gangs.