Pakistani Muslim men, in the UK, have accused me of being a hate preacher simply for highlighting the abuse and rape of Pakistani Muslim children. White men and women have accused me of being a racist and bigot for raising awareness about Pakistani Muslim children being raped and abused.
Surely if I was a hate preaching racist and bigot, then I would not care about Muslim children being raped or abused?
I grew up in the Pakistani Muslim community in Glasgow, Scotland and I know more about the community than the white man or woman who claim to have ‘Muslim friends’ and thus view themselves as a font of knowledge on a Muslim upbringing and what it is like to be a Muslim in the UK. Do they understand the shame culture? Do they know how men and women are treated differently? Do they know what Muslim families say about them behind closed doors?
Pakistani Muslims have their own agenda for silencing my voice and the voices of others who speak about the harmful practices that go on in the community. Shame, honour and saving face are more important than the rape of children. They have an image to uphold of the pious Muslim community that they portray to society. An image that shows Muslims to be kind, loving and peaceful people of which, yes of course, there are many but there is also a dark and evil side that is allowed to flourish.
In the UK we do not keep any statistics of Muslim children being abused or raped. Why? Who are we protecting? Because by keeping quiet it shows only the rapists are being protected.
In Pakistan, for the last 17 years, an organisation called ‘Sahil’ has been collecting data from cases publicised in online and printed newspaper articles, cases they have dealt with through their office by offering free legal aid and cases shared with them by other organisations of children who have been sexually abused and raped. They call these the ‘cruel numbers.’
In the UK in 2013, Muslim Women’s Network conducted a report called ‘Unheard Voices’ which researched the Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women Since then there has been nothing as they are looking for more funding to do more research. More funding? Why is there always more funding needed to protect children? Those of us who have grown up in the Pakistani community, both here in the UK and back in Pakistan, know that it is shame and honour that stops the families from taking action when their children are raped. So why do BME organisations need more funding? Demanding more funding while children continue to be raped? Stand up and be the voice in your communities and name the paedophiles, shame them and report their crimes to the police.
In the UK, we rarely read stories in the papers of Muslim children who have been raped or abused. Why? Is it the biraderi politics that stop the police from investigating? Is it that we have allowed this community to self govern and so the police look the other way while these men rape without any fear of the law? I volunteered for a charity, which raised awareness on child sexual abuse in the BME community, I spoke to many Pakistani people, men and women, boys and girls who all share their experiences of being abused or raped. The Pakistani community is not immune from paedophilia.
If in Pakistan children are being raped and sexually abused, being forced into child marriages then it really goes without saying that they will also be suffering here in the UK. The Pakistanis who are living in the UK are far from perfect and like others will have paedohilies in their communities. The difference is that British people report their paedophiles, are disgusted by them and hound them off their housing schemes and streets when it is known that they live there. Pakistani paedophiles are welcomed in the communities, invited to dinner, events and weddings. Rarely are they shunned as say someone who no longer believes in Islam is. Ex Muslims are despised and ostracised more than the paedophiles in the Pakistani communities.
Parents send their children to mosque trusting the Imams and teachers to teach their children to read the Koran. Do we honestly believe that the children are not being abused in mosques in the UK? Many of the Imams come over from Pakistan and if you think they leave their paedophilia at the airport then you are deluded.
A child who attends mosques and is not physically beaten or sexually abused is one of the lucky ones. I do believe that mosques are a breeding ground for perverts and paedophiles. Just like the Catholic Church scandal, the mosque, too, is a scandal waiting to be exposed.
The only way to stop Pakistani Muslim children being abused it to get rid of the shame and honour culture. The only person who should be shamed is the paedophile and not the child that is abused. No funding is needed for this, just the courage of high profile Muslim men and women to say enough, no more silence.
Shazia Hobbs grew up in Glasgow with her white Scottish mum, her Pakistani-born dad, his Pakistani-born first wife and eight of the 11 children the two women. Shazia Hobbs debut novel, The Gori’s Daughter, is available on Amazon now.
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