Tory party co-chairman adds voice to row over Rochdale grooming case, saying she believes race played role in crime
The Conservative party co-chairman has hit out at the small minority of Pakistani men who see white girls as “fair game”.
In comments that follow the Rochdale grooming case, Lady Warsi said she believed race was a factor in the crime. She urged Muslim leaders to address the issue and ensure that men who regard white women as “third-class citizens” were isolated by their communities.
Nine Muslim men, mainly of Pakistani origin, were found guilty last week of plying girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could use them for sex. After the trial, Greater Manchester police sought to play down suggestions of any racial element to the case, as did Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee.
But Warsi, who is Muslim, told the London Evening Standard newspaper: “There is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game. And we have to be prepared to say that. You can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first.
“This small minority who see women as second-class citizens, and white women probably as third-class citizens, are to be spoken out against.”
Britain’s most senior Muslim politician said she had decided to speak out after her father, who moved to the UK from Punjab, told her she should be “out there condemning [the crime] as loudly as you could”.
“In mosque after mosque, this should be raised as an issue so that anybody remotely involved should start to feel that the community is turning on them,” Warsi said. “Communities have a responsibility to stand up and say: ‘This is wrong, this will not be tolerated’.”
She urged the authorities to have the confidence to tackle allegations involving minorities. “Cultural sensitivity should never be a bar to applying the law,” Warsi added.