Child Sexual Exploitation: Grooming Gangs - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:53 pm on 13th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 2:53 pm, 13th March 2018

My Lords, child sexual exploitation is a vile crime and it is not exclusive to any one community, culture, race or religion. Political or cultural sensitivities should not get in the way of tracking down offenders and preventing future abuse. I say to noble Lords that we should be careful about our language in this matter, not least because I am about to repeat a Statement on inflammatory letters inciting a “punish a Muslim” day on 3 April. We need to be careful about how we approach this.

There is nothing in the Koran that encourages the sort of activity the noble Lord has referred to. In any case, the Koran would be trumped by the law of the land. Islam, like all world religions, does not support, advocate or condone child sexual exploitation. Indeed, respect for women is inherent in its faith. As my noble friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has just told me, one of Islam’s phrases is, “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother”.

As for encouraging a debate on Islam, the Government are supporting an initiative by British-based Islamic leaders of all denominations to dispel the poisonous interpretations of Islam peddled by al-Qaeda and Daesh. We are taking a number of other initiatives to minimise the exposure of children to sexual abuse from whatever source.