Wednesday, 31 October 2018 19:52

UK – Home Secretary taps into the far-right rhetoric when he speaks about “no-go areas”

In expressing his commitment to combat pedophilia, British Home Secretary put unnecessary emphasis on the descent of the perpetrators, thus risking stigmatising a whole community rather than just the culprits. This is Britain's media monitoring highlight for October.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of October, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

sajid javidDate of publication: 19 October 2018

Media Outlet: Twitter

Author: Sajid Javid, British Home Secretary


Tweet: “These sick Asian pedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas.”

Description of the anti-Muslim content: Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid uses the term “no-go areas”, an expression imbued with anti-Muslim sentiments, which is generally used by the far-right to fear-monger over the existence of neighbourhoods where non-Muslims cannot enter. Furthermore, Javid also puts unnecessary emphasis on the descent of the perpetrators, which risks stigmatising a whole community rather than just the culprits.

Myth debunked: It is worrying that a public figure such as the British Home Secretary draws from the false myths spread by the far-right. Last year, Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity, investigated the claim of “Muslim-only no-go areas” in Britain, and found out that there are no reports by the police that refer to no-go areas. On the contrary, in 2015, the Metropolitan Police denied Trump’s claims over “places in London… that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives”, and in 2016 a spokesperson for Britain’s Foreign Office said that “there are no areas in the UK in which the laws of the UK cannot be enforced.”

While figures available, which are “patchy and flawed” seem to suggest that Asian men (the religion of the perpetrators is not collected by the police) are disproportionately involved in child grooming, “the view in different parts of law enforcement is that it is wrong to take these figures and cases and say the race or religion of the perpetrator leads to them committing these crimes,” the Guardian reports. Not only is group grooming on the street a very small portion of sexual crimes against children in the UK (sexual abuse online have a high majority of white perpetrators), Guardian’s sources state. But there are also reasons – not connected with religion, ethnicity, or nationality – that can explain the over-representation of Asian offenders on the basis of demography and profession. Racialised statements, such as Sajid Javid’s, give the wrong message about who poses dangers to children, but also imply that it’s the religion or the ethnicity of the assailants that induce them to abuse. 

More to read:

Claims about no-go zones for non-Muslims in European cities: Misinformed expert or misinformation network?

Third of British people wrongly believe there are Muslim ‘no-go areas’ in UK governed by sharia law


Rotherham, Rochdale, and the Racialised Threat of the ‘Muslim Grooming Gang

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