Another day, another attempt by Nigel Farage to exploit the Charlie Hebdo attacks for political gain. Here he is on Fox News, lying to Sean Hannity.
Just 218 seconds, and yet if I tried to document and refute every lie Farage spouts in that short period, I’d be here for weeks. Instead, I’ll focus on just one lie. Here’s the quote –
In parts of Northern England, we’ve seen the sexual grooming scandal of underage girls, committed by Muslim men, in the majority…
Ah, yes. Rotherham. A town in South Yorkshire, which is nowadays famous for one thing: The Rotherham Sexual Grooming Scandal, something else that Farage likes to exploit (if you’ll excuse the phrase) for political advantage. The word Rotherham is never far from his lips, dog-whistle style, held up as an example of how multiculturalism is ruining Britain. His supporters also reference these awful crimes constantly; they have now become celebrated political weapons for Islamophobes, deployed at every opportunity. Farage’s tactic of repeatedly blaming immigration and multiculturalism for what happened in Rotherham is starting to cement the idea in the public’s mind that child sexual exploitation is an almost exclusively Muslim phenomenon. The only problem with this idea is that it’s complete and utter horseshit.
In 2012, the excellent charitable organisation JUST submitted a Freedom of Information request to West Yorkshire Police, asking for statistics on the ethnic background of men charged with child sexual exploitation in the three years preceding May 2012. The results would surprise Farage; 47 Whites, 5 Asians, 1 Black. The following year, Martin Berry submitted a FOI request to West Yorkshire Police for the same stats covering the period between May 2012 and September 2013; the results showed 152 out of the 183 people charged in that period were White, compared to 20 Asians.
Now, despite what you may hear on Fox News, like Birmingham, West Yorkshire is predominantly white British, so the statistics should skew towards majority White British perpetrators. However, the West Yorkshire area includes Bradford, which has the largest Muslim population in Britain outside of London, so the West Yorkshire Police is clearly a highly statistically relevant force. According to the 2011 census, the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Area is 10.21% Asian/British Asian, and according to West Yorkshire Police’s own statistics, 10.5% of the men they charged with CSE offences between May 2009 and September 2012 were of Asian origin. (Obviously, we should not assume that they were of Muslim origin, or that there were no Muslims among the non-Asians, but it’s probably safe to assume that Farage is less careful about conflating race and religion).
Why, it’s almost as if someone’s religious background has almost no bearing on the chances of them being involved in child sexual exploitation! Now, who’s going to tell Nigel?