A British Sikh group on Monday asked the police to refrain from using the term ‘Asian’ while referring to criminals of South Asian origin, especially in the aftermath of Rotherham sex trials that largely involve Pakistani Muslim men, who preyed on teenaged girls.
The Sikh Federation UK made the plea following last week’s conviction of four Pakistan-origin men, belonging to a single family, for raping and sexually abusing as many as 15 teenage girls for more than 16 years in Rotherham, northern England.
“If the four men that have been found guilty and carried out the abuse were Pakistani Muslims, this is how they should be described and not called Asian,” Bhai Amrik Singh of the group told The Independent.
“One of the demands in the Sikh Manifesto that we published a year ago before the general election was that the government should encourage public bodies and the media to abandon the use of the term ‘Asian’ when describing perpetrators for reasons of political correctness,” he added.
The ringleader, Arshid Hussain, was imprisoned for 35 years, while his brothers Basharat Hussain, 39, and Bannaras Hussain, 36, were handed 25 years and 19 years, respectively.
Their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, was jailed for 10 years.
The case has been prominently discussed in the media as an example of “Asian grooming gangs”, which the group believes divides communities.
“We have learnt that the perpetrators of these crimes regarded themselves as above the law as the authorities were supposedly worried about race relations and turned a blind eye despite repeated warnings,” Amrik Singh said.
The issue was also previously criticised in December 2013, when Sikh and Hindu groups initiated a petition.
In a joint statement then, the Hindu Council UK, the Network of Sikh Organisations, Sikh Media Monitoring Group and the Sikh Awareness Society, said: “Communities who themselves fall victim to this emerging pattern of criminality should not be besmirched by the vague terminology, ‘Asian’. In order to help find a solution to the problem, we need to be clear on the identity of those involved.”
The petition closed with 1,859 signatures calling for the word ‘Asian’ to not be used in grooming and sex abuse cases.
“If the four men found guilty (in Rotherham sex abuse case) were Pakistani Muslims, this is how they should be described, not as Asian,” said Bhai Amrik Singh of Sikh Federation UK