Rotherham UAF have issued the following statement:
We the undersigned condemn the decision by the English Defence League (EDL) to come to Rotherham on Saturday 13 September. We believe it is a cynical attempt by the EDL to use the appalling crime of child sexual exploitation to further its own selfish ends.
We support and seek justice for all victims of sexual exploitation regardless of their social or ethnic background. We condemn and seek prosecution of all those responsible for these crimes irrespective of their ethnicity or creed.
We reject the attempt by the EDL to whip up racism and division in our town by trying to turn communities against each other without a care for the damage it leaves in its wake.
We also reject the attempt by the EDL to use the crime of child sexual exploitation to demonise one community.
It is important to emphasise that the victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation come from all communities. The recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Exploitation in Rotherham by Professor Alexis Jay OBE makes two very important points amongst many others:
“As has been stated many times before, there is no simple link between race and child sex exploitation….” (Pg 91)
The Rotherham report also reminds us of the conclusions reached by the Deputy Children’s Commissioner that ‘one of these myths was that only white girls are victims of sexual exploitation by Asian or Muslim males, as if these men only abuse outside of their own community, driven by hatred and contempt for white females. This belief flies in the face of evidence that shows that those who violate children are most likely to target those who are closest to them and most easily accessible.’ (Pg 94)
We believe that the implementation of policies designed to prevent all forms of discrimination and racism have a crucial role to play in achieving justice and fairness in our society.
The EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, LGBT people, Travellers or East Europeans.
We urge people of goodwill to support the ‘EDL not welcome in Rotherham’ statement and join the ‘Justice for the victims – We will not let the racists divide us’ unity vigil on Saturday 13 September. More details to follow.
To add your name to the statement email Rotherham Unite Against Fascism firstname.lastname@example.org