By Tim Montgomerie
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“There is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game and we have to be prepared to say that. You can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first… This small minority who see women as second class citizens, and white women probably as third class citizens, are to be spoken out against."
With these words the straight-talking Baroness Warsi, the co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, has entered the debate about the sexual grooming of young girls in Rochdale by men, mainly of Pakistani origin. If Muslim and other leaders fail to be “open and front-footed” she warns that extremists such as the BNP will fill the gap and peddle hate. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw had been the most senior politician to comment until now. He had stated "there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men… who target vulnerable young white girls" and see them as "easy meat".
Read Baroness Warsi's full interview in the London Evening Standard.
Her comments follow tip-toeing and obfuscation by other public figures. The Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Steve Heywood, has for example denied race and origin as an important factor. "It just happens," he said, "that in this particular area and time, the demographics were that these were Asian men." Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, had also tried to diminish the cultural factors in Rochdale.
This is not the first time the Tory Chairman has tackled extremists within the Muslim and Asian communities. She did so two years ago after fanatics pelted her with eggs.