Sajid Javid defends linking grooming gang scandal to ethnicity
Sajid Javid has defended his decision to highlight the ethnicity of men involved in some grooming gangs.
The Home Secretary came under fire in October after he tweeted about “sick Asian paedophiles” in response to the convictions of a gang of men from Huddersfield for abusing children.
But speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, he said that ignoring the ethnicity of the attackers would give “oxygen” to extremist groups.
“I’m very much aware of the need for politicians to be careful with language as well as what they do,” he said.
“When it comes to gang-based child exploitation it is self-evident to anyone who cares to look that if you look at all the recent high-profile cases there is a high proportion of men that are of Pakistani heritage.”
He added: “There could be - and I’m not saying there are - some cultural reasons from the community that those men came from that could lead to this type of behaviour. For me to rule something out just because it would be considered sensitive would be wrong.
“If I had ignored it, or been seen to ignore, that is exactly what I think extremist would like to see in this country. It would give them oxygen and I refuse to do that.”
Mr Javid said he took the Rochdale paedophile scandal personally because he was born in the city and because some of the offenders were of Pakistani origin.
He said: “I still go now and again because I have family there that I care deeply about.
“When I hear about - and there has been more than one case - grooming gangs where almost every individual involved is of Pakistani heritage... I can’t help noting the fact that Rochdale is a town that means something to me and I am also of Pakistani heritage...
“I think it would be true of anyone that if they heard about something - in this case bad - connected to a town that was something special to them, naturally that would be a thought in their mind.”
The Home Secretary also defended the government’s decision to strip offenders of their British citizenship after the Court of Appeal upheld a decision to deport three of the Rochdale offenders who held dual-citizenship with Pakistan.
Asked if he was concerned about the men reoffending if they returned to Pakistan where there are fewer controls, he said: “I’m the British Home Secretary. My job is to protect the British public and to do what I think is right to protect the British public.”