UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has defended previously calling a convicted grooming gang "sick Asian paedophiles," arguing that those who criticised him for his use of language were "oversensitive."
In an interview with the UK's Sky News on Thursday September 8, Mr Javid said that he was simply "stating the facts" about the nature of a number of gangs recently convicted for child grooming. The gangs have been overwhelming made of up British-Asian, particularly British-Pakistani, men.
In late October 2018, twenty men from Huddersfield in England were convicted for a total of 221 years in prison for trafficking, drugging and raping multiple girls as young as 11 years old. The group's apparent ringleader, 35-year-old Amere Singh Dhaliwal, was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 18 years. He was found guilty of 54 offences, which included the rape of children.
On the heels of that trial, Mr Javid Tweeted, "these sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice."
These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas https://t.co/cZGqDOxt4u— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) October 19, 2018
Labour Party Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, was one of the first to blast Mr Javid's choice of words at the time, saying that, "attempts by the government to attribute these crimes to one ethnic group does nothing to support these vulnerable woman."
On top of that, Labour member of parliament David Lammy said that Mr Javid had brought "a great office of state into disrepute."
"By singling out 'Asians' he not only panders to the far-right, but increases the risk of violence and abuse against minorities across the country," Mr Lammy is widely quoted as saying.
Statistically, almost 90% of those committing acts of child abuse are white. Do you intend to point out their race going forward? And presumably share your outrage for those men too? Many of whom are operating behind closed family doors, if you’d like to talk about ‘no go areas’— Terri White (@Terri_White) October 21, 2018
Javid told Sky News that following the Huddersfield case, and others like it including one in the English town of Rotherham where seven men were found guilty of raping young girls, he called for research into such incidents to "see if there are any cultural issues" at the root.
In a prodominatly white country/society you would expect most paedophile to be white. What we don't expect to see is that 84% of paedophile GANGS are mainly "South Asian Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims". So what I'm saying is that does not match the demographics of society.— Andy Towell (@PlanetPerma) October 21, 2018
Despite the condemnation he received for focusing on the ethnicity of the perpetrators, the Home Secretary told Sky that, "I don't regret it all."
"When I made that comment I was stating the facts, and the sad truth is that if you look at recent high-profile convictions of gang-based child sexual exploitation there is a majority of people that come from Pakistani heritage backgrounds — that's plain for everyone to see. What I've said is that we, in trying to deal with this, trying to turn this round, we must look at all factors and we must not be too sensitive and shy away or be oversensitive. That's why I think we should be looking to see if there are any cultural issues and that's why I've commissioned some research on this," Javid told Sky.