Fighting all exploitation and abuse of children. Opposing racist scapegoating

By Tom Castle

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has called a vigil in Rotherham for Saturday September 13 under the slogans, ‘EDL not welcome in Rotherham’ and ‘Justice for the victims – we will not let the racists divide us’.

These are the correct slogans and a solemn and dignified gathering is expected. The fascist English Defence League is attempting to exploit the widespread coverage of the shocking crimes in Rotherham which has focused on the ethnic or religious identity of the perpetrators. This is a foul and outrageous attempt to demonise whole communities not just in Rotherham but across Britain.

As the Jay Report spells out, most crimes of sexual exploitation and paedophilia in Britain are committed by white men. The simple reason for this is that most men in Britain are white. In fact there is a pandemic of child sexual abuse in Britain taking in all classes and all ethnic groups. There were 19,000 cases of recorded sexual crimes against children in England and Wales in the most recent year and one in 20 children has been sexually abused.

It is a vile slur against all Muslims, or against all people of Asian origin that they all bear responsibility for these horrific crimes. The same poisonous logic is never applied in the numerous cases when the perpetrators are white men.

The far right and fascists in Britain have been struggling, as they frequently do under a Tory government. Nick Griffin has lost his seat and Tommy Robinson has been to jail. They have clearly latched onto this issue in the hope of reviving their flagging support. It is a sick joke to suggest that the Rotherham police did nothing to protect these children because of ‘political correctness’. They were written off because they were vulnerable young girls, many in care, who were being policed, not cared for. They are victims who were blamed for their own brutal sexual exploitation. It is to compound the scandal to whip up racism and Islamophobia on the back of it.

Socialists, and all decent human beings demand justice for the victims and no racist scapegoating. The full UAF statement can be read here.