Sadiq Khan asks home secretary to apologise to Pakistanis over sex-grooming attack

London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks to Geo News during an interview. — Photo by reporter

LONDON: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on Home Secretary Suella Braverman to withdraw her racist comments and apologise for falsely linking Pakistani men with sex grooming.

UK Home Secretary Braverman has been accused of peddling extremist far-right lies about Pakistanis after she singled out British Pakistani men over concerns about grooming gangs as she accused authorities of turning a “blind eye” to signs of abuse involving young people.

“What’s clear is that what we’ve seen is a practice whereby vulnerable white English girls, sometimes in care, sometimes who are in challenging circumstances, are being pursued and raped and drugged and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men who’ve worked in child abuse rings or networks,” she had said.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Geo News, Khan said that Braverman has said that “sex predators are Pakistanis but this is factually incorrect and goes against the findings of the Home Office report which said in an independent report that the majority of those involved in sex grooming are white Britons”.

The London mayor said that there was a huge problem with the Home Secretary’s falsehood as many people will think that “every Pakistani is involved in this and this is very dangerous”.

Khan accused the Home Secretary of doing “dog whistle politics”.

He said: “It’s important that we educate people and don’t generalise on the basis of religion and colour.”

Asked if he supported the demand calling by hundreds of organisations and communities for the home secretary to withdraw her comments and apologise for the offence she has caused, Khan called on Braverman to withdraw her comments and apologise.

He said: “These remarks are dangerous and factually incorrect.”

Faith leaders, community groups, professional forums and activists have come together to issue an unprecedented condemnation of Braverman’s racist, Islamophobic, irresponsible, and divisive rhetoric on child sexual exploitation linking it with Pakistanis.

The home secretary’s racist and inflammatory comments from a series of interviews have been labelled as “inflammatory and divisive rhetoric that is sensationalist and contradicts her own department’s evidence”.

Pakistani organisations have been joined by British Nigerian, British Indian, British Bengali and others in mounting condemnation of the home secretary, arguing that the home secretary’s rhetoric overlooks the impact “cuts in public sector and community services under the current government have had on young people increasing their vulnerability”.

Whilst community organisations across England, Wales, and Scotland labelled the home secretary’s approach as “an act of collective punishment for the reprehensible acts of a few,” senior leaders from the world of finance and business called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to withdraw the home secretary’s remarks arguing that a failure to do so would be viewed as “a government led by you seen as encouraging and normalising bigotry targeted at British Pakistanis”.

Dozens of leading Muslim organisations have also written to the Prime Minister demanding an apology – or risk losing complete faith in the community.

The joint letter says the community is appalled at the Home Secretary’s recent comments where she described British Pakistani males as holding “cultural values totally at odds with British values who see women in a demeaned and illegitimate way and who pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach in the way that they behave”.

The letter to the PM said: “These remarks and others were made by the Home Secretary without caveats and were not limited to those convicted of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) but instead stereotyped and targeted an entire community.”

“We wholeheartedly condemn all those convicted of CSE and stand with the victims of child abuse. It is a shame for all in our country that 1 in 10 children have suffered sexual abuse and that half a million children are sexually exploited every year.”

“The Home Secretary’s approach, however, of demonising an entire community and lending credibility to far-right narratives undermine the need to ensure all victims of CSE are protected and all perpetrators are brought to justice.”

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