Vold og overgrep

Religiøse spenninger?

Sikher i den britiske byen Luton er i harnisk etter at en sikhjente skal ha blitt voldtatt av en britiskpakistansk muslim. Luton er en av de mest innvandrerdominerte byene i Storbritannia, der English Defence League (EDL) så dagens lys for få år siden. Flere hundre sikher demonstrerte nylig mot det de mener er politisk unnfallenhet overfor muslimske menn som misbruker og forgriper seg på ikke-muslimske jenter. I samme demonstrasjon troppet EDL opp.

Hege Storhaug, HRS

Når media omtaler voldtekter og seksuelt misbruk begått av britiskpakistanske menn mot ikke-muslimske menn, omtales mennene typisk som ”asiater”. Dette vil blant andre sikher ha seg frabedt. Ingen asiatiske menn med bakgrunn i hinduisme, buddhisme eller sikhisme skal ha blitt arrestert eller domfelt for såkalt grooming av ikke-muslimske eller britiske jenter. Man har heller ingen dokumentasjon på at muslimske jenter utsettes for grooming. Mønsteret er så godt som entydig: menn av pakistansk opprinnelse groomer britiske og ikke-muslimske jenter, typisk med opprinnelse fra Asia.

Ikke underlig skaper denne tragiske tilstanden spenninger i lokalsamfunn i en by som Luton. I disse spenningene skapes det konstellasjoner som man for få år siden knapt ville ha trodd kunne oppstå: English Defence League, som har et ganske frynsete omdømme som preget av rasistiske og ytterliggående nasjonalistiske holdninger, stiller seg skulder ved skulder med sikher som nylig protesterte mot det de mener er unnfallenhet fra politiets side overfor muslimske menns overgrep mot ikke-muslimske jenter.

Aner vi konturene av eskalerende religiøse spenninger?

The British city of Luton saw a large protest by Sikhs last week after the alleged rape of a Sikh girl – reportedly in her teens. The alleged attacker, British Pakistani Anan Majid Basharat, 19, subsequently appeared at Luton Magistrates Court, charged with assault. He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on condition that he did not reside in Luton while awaiting trial, and that he adhered to a curfew. Both the attacker and victim are students at Icknield High School. Pakistan’s Daily Times reported that, “hundreds” of the Sikhs protested outside Luton Police station following the allegation of rape. The protest, which was called at short notice, is seen as a “warning shot” to the Muslim community of Britain to “get its house in order.” Several cases of child grooming and rape by gangs of Muslim men have been prosecuted in Britain over the last year. However, it is now widely accepted that police routinely ignored sexual violence by Muslim gangs for several decades, due to political correctness. Although sexual predators are of ethnicity and religion, Muslim men with Pakistani roots make up the vast majority of perpetrators in this specific crime.Sikhs and Hindus recently criticized the British media for describing grooming gangs as “Asian,” not least of all as both Sikh and Hindu girls have been targeted for grooming by Muslim gangs in Britain. There have been no reported cases of Sikhs or Hindus involved in grooming. Although the protestors in Luton were mostly male, some Sikh women also turned up to protest what they see as police negligence in the case. The parents of the alleged rape victim had complained to the local police authority on four separate occasions that their daughter was being “groomed” for sexual abuse. As with many other such cases, however, the police authority failed to take any action, leaving the girl and her family vulnerable. The Sikh community decided to protest outside Luton police station after convening a meeting at Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Tuesday evening. Between 30 and 40 members of the English Defence League (EDL) also joined the Sikh protestors. The EDL describes itself as a movement opposed to “radical Islam.” It has a large white working class membership, and according to a recent article in the Asian Tribune, the EDL also has strong “grass root support” that includes “members from every Asian country.” The EDL also has a number of ethnic and religious minority divisions, including a Sikh division.

“I don’t say [the victims are] ‘white girls’, because it’s not [just] ‘white girls’ who are victims of these grooming gangs,” says EDL leader Tommy Robinson. “They’re targeting black girls, they’re targeting Sikh girls, they’re targeting English girls.” And “this is not [just] a Sikh problem,” either, says Robinson. The victim “is a member of my community, the way I see it. That girl that has been groomed and raped – I see my community as the Sikh community, the Hindu community, the Jewish community; all the communities need protecting from Islamo-fascism.” “The Sikh community strongly believes that this attack [on the Sikh girl] was racially motivated,” says the Sikh website Panthic.org, “and is one of the many and growing body of evidences of activity within the Muslim community, however, small or isolated, which preys upon vulnerable Sikh females in an organised way and actively encourages this.” Although unreported in the mainstream media, threats have been made against the girl’s family, with the mother and sister of the victim being threatened with rape if they complained to the police. Videos of the victim were also reportedly made, and the family have also been threatened that these will be posted on Sikh websites in an attempt to have her outcast from the Sikh community, if they speak out. “What has happened to her… threatening to rape her family – threatening to expose these videos – it’s happening all across the country,” says Robinson. “I know another twenty English girls in this position.” Panthic.org also accuses the police of failing “to handle the incident properly” because they are scared of “Pakistani radicals.” “The reason the police don’t deal with these crimes is because [the attacker] is a Muslim. If a Muslim family went to the police[…] then the police would be kicking off doors,” Robinson believes, “and that’s the two-tier system we’re up against” in Britain. “There’s been a conspiracy of silence for 20 or 30 years by police leaders and Islamic leaders, who’ve all known its being going on… Are they trying to tell us that complaints haven’t been made? Because,” Robinson continues, “I know families that have made complaints for ten years, but these weren’t taken to trial, the police weren’t making arrests, because of fear of being called a ‘racist’. They won’t make arrests because its Muslim men raping non-Muslim kids.” Robinson says that he wants to see a hotline set up for the victims of grooming.

Robinson and Kevin Carroll, also an EDL leader, wanted to “offer support” to the Sikh community. “What we said to the Sikhs is that in a time like this you just have to be brave and tell the truth, and if the truth is going to hurt people then it’s going to hurt people. And the truth is the government has failed us, the police have failed us, and the Islamic community has failed us, and [the communities] have to now unite together to deal with this problem.” The EDL says it has reached out to different communities “from day one.” “This is not just a White English community problem,” Robinson reiterates, “This is everyone’s problem. This does not just affect us; it’s affecting everyone.” Look at the gay community, he says. “The gay community will be persecuted in the future in this country. They’re already targeted[…]. United we stand, divided we fall. We need to come together to combat this problem. This is a world-wide – the biggest funded – fascist ideology the planet’s ever seen, spreading like a wild fire.” The EDL is planning a protest in Pakistan, to highlight the persecution of minorities. “Christians, Hindus, all different religions are being persecuted over there,” Robinson notes. He believes that as more people become aware of the problem, “Over the next two years I think we’ll explode onto the world scene.” The Daily Times reports that Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, described the attack on the Sikh girl in Luton as “despicable,” and appealed for calm on all sides. However, he did not comment on the persecution of Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan, despite the issue receiving some attention in the Western media in recent weeks.

The targeting of non-Muslim girls for forced marriage and conversion is common in Pakistan. Reportedly, between 20 to 25 Hindu girls are abducted each month in the province of Sindh. One madressa in Pakistan claims to have targeted 2,000 Hindu girls for marriage and conversion each year. Both Sikhs and Hindus feel under pressure in Pakistan, with many emigrating abroad. However, the problem of grooming and of targeting non-Muslims has been slowly exported to Great Britain, and has long affected Sikhs, Hindus, and non-Muslims there. In 2007, Muslim extremists offered 5,000 pounds sterling (approximately $8,000 US) for the conversion of Hindu girls. There was also a campaign by Muslim extremists to target Sikh girls, during the 1980s. Despite police authorities ignoring decades of abuse against girls, including Sikhs and Hindus, no police official has been relieved of his position.