Where is the hashtag, in solidarity, for the Pakistani and Mirpuri children being raped, here, in the UK? I say Pakistani and Mirpuri because child rape occurs in both communities, neither is immune. You only need to follow Pakistani journalists, the ones who are living in Pakistan, on social media to hear of the horrors involving child rape, that it seems are occurring every day. Pakistan, we are learning, has a huge problem with the rape of children, every day we hear and read stories of children being raped, gang raped, filmed and murdered. We know it goes on, we watch some documentary or another, get angry, feel sad, and join a hashtag to express your disgust at what goes on ‘back home’.
Pakistani and Mirpuri people living in the UK have a hate hate relationship; there is little love between the two. Pakistanis, generally, refuse to see Mirpuri people as fellow Pakistanis. The nickname given, to Mirpuris when they arrived along with many others to the UK in the 60s, by the Pakistanis was MPs, after the politicians because having lived amongst them in such large numbers for the first time, in towns and cities across the UK, the newly arriving Pakistanis were realising that many Mirpuri people were as they put it ‘dodgy as fuck,’ like their namesakes.
The tradition of first cousin marriages, forced marriages and child marriages, discouraging their girls from education and once married, discouraged from working outside the home are some of the many things Mirpuri people do that Pakistanis frown upon. Pakistani people are right to be annoyed when grooming gangs are described as Pakistanis as they are more than likely to be of Mirpuri origin.
I have heard, like many other Mirpuris, living in the UK, numerous stories of child sex abuse that occurs in the community, stories of children being sexually abused or raped. Stories, if we are honest, we will have heard, stories that are open secrets, stories that are whispered here and whispered there. The abuser never being confronted allows him to continue raping.
The biggest obstacle in tackling and raising awareness of child sex abuse in the community is the fear of what ‘others’ will think. Others can be anyone from members of the extended family, people from the community and also outside the community. This outweighs the moral and ethical thing to do; this is more valuable than the rape of children. That others might gossip about you because you have a paedophile in your family is enough for you to let it continue. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic especially when you consider most sex abusers are known in the community famous for its open secrets and nothing is ever said to them, not even a quiet word to make sure he stops. Fair enough you don’t want the wider community gossiping about you, fair enough you don’t want to involve the police at least do something as a community to stop it. But no the raping continues because people do not want to be the ones being openly gossiped about, when in reality they are being gossiped about anyway.
Raping children is a sickness in humanity, regardless of racial or religious backgrounds. But if we do not even begin to have these conversations, if we do not admit that the rape of Mirpuri children, past and present, is a crime that should no longer be avoided then how can we even begin to stop it? Raising awareness of child rape is avoided under the guise of honour and shame when we know fine well it is avoided to protect the Muslim men in our communities. Women have not be given a voice, hell they are denied an education so any voice they may have been brave enough to use as has been silenced. Many Mirpuri women are denied their rights in appalling ways while the Government looks the other way to keep the men, denying the women basic rights, happy.
For those who want to deny that Mirpuri children are being raped in the UK, ask yourself what makes our race of people so special that they have no paedophiles or sex pests?
Many stories have stayed with me, stories where mothers have walked into a room and witnessed their own sons raping, raping a helpless child, and closing the door on it. These mothers close the fucking door! What kind of mother closes the door on her son, allowing him to continue raping a niece, or a nephew or other close family relation?
Hannah Shah, author of The Imam’s Daughter, her name has been changed to protect her identity, writes about her life as the daughter of the imam, the leader of prayers at the local mosque, somewhere in England, location also changed to protect her. How he raped her from the age of five, with her own mother turning a blind eye, to the horrific, bloody rape and abuse of her little daughter. How even on Friday, Jummah prayers- the busiest time at the mosque, like church on a Sunday, he would rape her and go lead prayers. Where is the hashtag for Hannah Shah, raped from the age of 5 years old until she escaped at the age of 15. She hasn’t really escaped though has she? Replacing one fear for another, in hiding safe from rape but fearful of her life. Where is the hashtag for all the other Hannah’s, we know, five year old girls being raped by the Pakistani community? Nowhere because it is too much of a taboo subject, we have been conditioned to close our ears and eyes to the rape of little children.
The Imam’s Daughter is just one girl’s story and there will be many more like it, maybe not the imam, maybe a family member or friend. Mirpuri children, in the UK, are being sexually abused, raped and forced into lives of misery every single day and the debate we hear, the topics that make it into mainstream media are Islamfauxbia, to hijab or not to hijab or taking selfies at ‘Islamophobe’ events, while holding some sinister views yourself.
Look at Christianity before it reformed, Christian families were prudish when it came to any talk on sex. The very same things we see in Islam and sex, Christianity has experienced, and moved forward to a stage where sex is not the big taboo subject it once was, granted there are many Christian families who are conservative in their views, but on the whole progress has been made.
Such was the progress made that the sex abuse and the practice of protecting the abusers, by the Catholic Church is known worldwide. The scale and the length of time that the abuse was allowed to continue for was enough to destroy the reputation of the Catholic Church. Parents trusting their children, boys and girls, into the care of the church, into the care of priests, the men of God. Only for these priests, men of God, to repay that trust given to them, by raping and sodomising their children.
If I was a praying to god kind of person I would be praying every day that mosques are not going to be the next Catholic Church. Mosques where parents trust their children into the care of molvis, men who they really know nothing about, being a molvi is enough credentials for many trusting parents in the community. I doubt that my prayers would be answered and I fear that it is a scandal waiting to be exposed.
The rape of children, understandably, is a topic most of us stay away from preferring to live in a world where we pretend it doesn’t exist, on the scale that it does. Amongst many in the Mirpuri community the topic of sex and inappropriate touching is one that rarely takes place between parents and children. Parents happily sending their children for extra prayers from the local friendly molvi. Mosques are a breeding ground, not only for the extremists that preach their hate but also for the monsters who rape the children, trusted to them by parents, to learn about Islam. And we wonder why, some, children and adults of Mirpuri origin are in turmoil. We should no longer be silent when it comes to the rape of children.