London: Britain’s Hindu and Sikh community leaders have voiced their support for the country’s mosque-led initiative to send out a strong message against sexual grooming of children following the conviction and sentencing of seven members of a paedophile ring.
Their statement comes days after imams from nearly 500 mosques across Britain used Friday prayers to highlight how the Quran condemns all forms of sexual indecency, in the wake of seven predominantly Pakistani Muslim men being jailed for a series of child abuse charges last week.
“We welcome last Friday’s ‘Khutba’ sermon by 500 mosques to condemn the sexual grooming of children…. We also welcome the fact that the sermon was delivered in English, aimed to target such confused young men,” read a joint statement issued by Hindu Council UK, Network of Sikh Organisations UK and Sikh Media Monitoring Group UK here today.
The groups also highlighted their own concerns around the issue of sexual grooming of young girls, specifically targeted at certain communities.
“Over the last few decades sexual grooming of girls in the Sikh and Hindu communities by males of Pakistani origin has been of serious concern… The attitude of showing disrespect towards non-Muslim girls by a small minority of Muslim men through some confused religious sanction needs to be tackled head on by the mosques,” the statement urged.
“We welcome the initiatives now supported by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board to help convey the message to the grassroots that such acts are evil and cannot be condoned in any religion. We congratulate leaders of the UK Muslim community on their timely initiative,” it added.
The mosque-led movement in the UK has been organised by the Together Against Grooming (TAG) group and is supported by leading Muslim organisations across the country.
“We have been horrified by the details that have emerged from recent court cases and as Muslims we feel a natural responsibility to condemn and tackle this crime,” TAG spokesperson Ansar Ali had said in the lead up to Friday’s sermon.