Peer’s anger at grooming

Lord Ahmed
Lord Ahmed

A SOUTH Yorkshire Muslim peer has sparked controversy with suggestions the problem of grooming of young girls by Asian men is fuelled by unhappy arranged marriages.

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham has blamed arranged marriages to cousins for prompting some men of Pakistani descent to target vulnerable young girls to gratify their sexual needs.

He spoke after high-profile cases including a gang of five men from Rotherham who were jailed for a total of 32-and-a-half years for grooming and sexually exploiting vulnerable girls as young as 13.

Lord Ahmed said some Pakistani men were forced into marriages and were not happy – married to girls from overseas with whom they do not have anything in common, and they have children and a family.

“But they are looking for fun in their sexual activities and seek out vulnerable girls,” he added. “I get a lot of criticism from Asian people who ask, ‘How can you say this about Asian men?’ But they must wake up and realise there is a problem.”

He added: “While I respect individual choice, I think the community needs to look at marriages in the UK rather than cousin marriages or economic marriages from abroad.”

Lord Ahmed’s comments come after former Home Secretary Jack Straw sparked a fierce row by claiming some young men of Asian origin regarded young white girls as “easy meat” for sexual exploitation.

Razwan Razaq, aged 30, of Oxford Street, Clifton, Rotherham, his brother Umar Razaq, 24, also of Oxford Street, their cousin Mohammed Ramzan, 21, of Broom Grove, Broom, along with friends Adil Hussain, 20, of Nelson Street, Clifton, and Mohsin Khan, 21, of Haworth Crescent, Moorgate, were jailed after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls aged 13 and 16.

Sheffield Crown Court heard they cruised the streets of Rotherham looking for young girls to have sex with. They assaulted the girls in cars, alleyways and car parks around Rotherham, and at the victims’ homes.

The five men have also been issued with Sexual Offences Prevention Orders banning them from ever being alone with children again - to ensure they are not in a position to abuse young girls in the future. Anti-paedophile police unit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has commissioned an assessment into “on street” grooming leading to abuse and exploitation.