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Sarah Champion must apologise for her inflammatory comments painting Asian men as child abusers

The Shadow Women and Equalities Officer has erroneously claimed Pakistani men are largely responsible for the sexual abuse of young girls. My letter to Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party leader) and Keith Vaz (Labour NEC BAME rep) below outlines why blaming one community for any form of abuse is dangerous and self-defeating.

Dear Jeremy and Keith,

I am emailing to complain about the Shadow Women and Equalities Officer’s comments and subsequent repetition of these comments in a Sun column regarding child abuse. She has alleged the perpetrators of child abuse are predominantly Pakistani men looking to exploit white girls. The evidence shows the majority of perpetrators in the UK are white men, flatly contradicting Sarah Champion’s incendiary remarks.

Champion’s comments inflame racism against Asian people at a time when hostilities against Muslims (the majority of them are Asian in the UK) shows no signs of abating. Over the weekend, the USA experienced the murder of an anti-racist and anti-fascist when she marched against racist, Nazi-sympathising, white men. Whilst groups such as the EDL and Britain First have been reduced to a rump, they will be bolstered by Champion’s accusations and anti-Muslim activity in the USA. Racialising child abuse does little to address the systems that perpetuate the aforementioned abuse. It was simply irresponsible for her to say this.

I am heartened by Naz Shah and Chi Onwurah’s objections to Champion’s blanket, racialised [and] loaded statements.’ The police have also stated quite clearly, child abuse belongs to no single community, therefore it beggars belief that the Shadow Women and Equalities Officer would allege otherwise.

I am a Muslim woman, a Labour Party member, and I am alarmed by the daily torrent of abuse Muslims are subjected to online and in public. We are painted as terrorists, child abusers, rapists, murderers, anti-Semites, homophobes and imprisoners of women by mainstream media and politicians. We are presented as a monolithic group incapable of rational thought, shackled to barbarity by our faith. Jimmy Savile abused scores of children across the country, his crimes were even covered up by the BBC. Yet white, Christian men are not subject to any self-reflective scrutiny.

I am urging Champion to apologise. Inflaming racism goes against her remit as Labour’s Women and Equalities Officer. There is nothing brave about demonising a marginalised community in desperate need of the support of its MPs.

Yours sincerely, 

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