ABSOLUTELY nothing seems to have happened in the Church of
England this week, according to the dailies. I do hope the news is
not too disheartening for those who toil on the earlier pages of
this paper. To make up for this lack, there was an extraordinary
blast of attention on Islam, or at least on Muslims.
The story of the child abuse in Rotherham was sufficiently awful
to awaken in every observer a longing for repentance and amendment
of ways. As it happened, the people who needed to repent and to
mend their ways were never those calling for repentance. Odd,
Let's start with Allison Pearson in the Telegraph: "It
is of the utmost importance that wider society wakes up to the fact
that there is what the inquiry found to be a 'deep-rooted problem
of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls'.
Many of us who have been saying this for a long time have been
shouted down as racist. Thanks to Prof. [Alexis] Jay, it has been
stated publicly for the first time that the fear of appearing
racist was more pressing in official minds than enforcing the law
of the land or rescuing terrified children. It is one of the great
scandals of our lifetime."
Was it really the first time this had been stated publicly? It
didn't take more than ten seconds on Google to find a newspaper
article from 2012 arguing that "By now, even the most trusting and
generous-minded liberals must have woken up to the fact that our
fear of being tarred as racist has allowed ugly practices and
outmoded attitudes to flourish, hidden away behind a nervous
respect for 'difference'. Stymied by political correctness, social
workers, carers, police, lawyers and council staff all failed to
protect those young Rochdale girls."
Oh. That was Allison Pearson in the Telegraph, too.
There is no defence to be mounted for Rotherham Council, nor for
its police. The Telegraph nurtures a further, and wholly
justified, grievance against the social workers there, because they
were, until last week, largely famous for removing three foster
children from their parents on the grounds that these were UKIP
None the less, there is something unpleasant about the claim
that "political correctness" was at fault for the failures of the
authorities. The South Yorkshire Police are not often credibly
accused of excessively delicate sensibilities. More likely is a
combination of political cowardice - not wanting to rock the boat -
and contempt for the victims of these crimes which spread far
beyond the nasty prejudices endemic to Pakistani culture and into
the ranks of the police and the local authorities, too.
YASMIN ALIBHAI BROWN, in The Independent, started off
on Allison Pearson lines, and then veered off somewhere more
interesting and touchier. "The Rotherham report will, I hope, stop
the apologists and silence their usual denials and pretexts. I mean
the anti-racists, academics and time-serving public-service workers
who have been defensive and unwilling to condemn what they
"I can imagine what the talk will be among Asians in Rotherham
today. Good people, of course, will feel shame. Lots, however, will
not, and instead will blame the system or the victims - young girls
from disadvantaged backgrounds who were lured with cheap gifts and
false affection. Such children are seen as trash, low life, by
their rapists as well as the authorities, including the police.
"Within some British Asian circles, the West is considered
degenerate and immoral. So it's OK to take their girls and ruin
them further. Some of the most fierce rows I have ever had have
been with Asian women who hold these disgusting views.
"I tell them about at least three young Asian girls who have
thus been entrapped and exploited. 'That is their fault. They have
become English, so of course these things happen to them.' "What to
do in the face of such attitudes?"
I'm not sure. But it is hard to blame them on "political
correctness". The other important point is that these attitudes
will only be ever exposed and discussed by other Asian Muslim
women. There is a very important sense in which a more diverse
media is just as important for the health of the country as a more
diverse police force can be, and for very similar
MEANWHILE, the association of "Muslim" with child rapist will do
nothing to make jihad seem less attractive to some young men. Most
of what was said about returning jihadis last week was windy or
worse: it is hardly likely that a policy designed to appeal to UKIP
swing voters will have the desired effect on disaffected
But the sheer tangled futility of some of our outrage over the
barbarity of IS was highlighted for me by a report from Human
Rights Watch. It pointed out that, in August, Saudi Arabia beheaded
at least 19 people, one for supposed sorcery.