In an atmosphere of extreme political correctness when former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson is under fire for criticizing the burqa, and where under London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s leadership no one dares speak out against Islam or Muslims, to host a daring to care rally against atrocities committed by Pakistani men is quite a feat.
I was invited to attend this rally by Baroness Caroline Cox who is a cross-bench member of the British House of Lords. She was CEO of an organization called Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. Baroness Cox works tirelessly for women’s rights under British law. She introduced the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill to the House of Lords, initially on 10 May 2012, with the observation that:
“Equality under the law is a core value of British justice. My bill seeks to preserve that standard. Many women say: ‘We came to this country to escape these practices only to find the situation is worse here’.”
Since then she helped many young women who were victims of Sharia Councils in Britain as well as victims of the grooming gangs in the country.
The event was organized by Toni Bugle, founder of MARIAS (Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia), an activist who was raped by a friend of the family and others who were friends of the ring leader. Later, she became homeless and was attakhed by Pakistani men. Toni has since made it her mandate to support girls, who are victims, expose the crimes and work towards legislation that will make it easier for abuse victims to get justice. She even open her home to Muslim girls who were victims to give them a roof over their heads until they find help.
The situation with grooming gangs in UK proved to be a botched affair because police and social services did not want to identify the perpetrators who were largely Pakistani males working under the awful premise that ‘white’ girls are easy prey. The case in Rotherham is an example of political correctness gone wrong. Sarah Champion, a Rotherham MP had to resign as shadow equalities minister after a controversial article published in The Sun newspaper in which she wrote:
“Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
The rally in London on August 20, 2018 was to speak about this abuse as well as expose how law enforcement and the authorities failed these girls. Included in the speakers were victims of the grooming gangs and Muslim women who have been discriminated against through Sharia Councils.
We heard heart rending stories.
Torron spoke about her daughter Becky who was abused from age 11, trafficked and killed at 13. The perpetrator was a Pakistani who had been trafficking Becky to many other men in other cities. The police called the death ‘an accident’.
We heard from another victim, a young girl named Samantha who was first raped at age 11, had to have a forced abortion at 12 and was then trafficked by grooming gangs for many years. This young girl trembled and wept as she spoke and is under psychiatric care since she can barely get through the day.
Then we heard the story of Roma, a Muslim girl of Pakistani heritage. She had a sharia marriage in Pakistan and when she arrived in the UK, she became the victim of violent physical and emotional abuse. Her husband took off with all her money leaving her a paper saying “talaq, talaq, talaq” (triple divorce, which has become a tactic for Muslim men). She could not get a settlement from British courts because the husband ran off to Pakistan so now she is in limbo. But she fights for the rights of Muslim women also been victimized by Sharia Councils.
All this is to say that these women are looking for justice and have no one to speak for them. So at this rally we supported them and Baroness Cox spoke about how she is trying to change the system so that the accused can be ‘named and shamed’. I spoke about how ‘culture is no excuse for abuse’ (the tagline of Clarion’s film Honor Diaries) and how we as sisters, mothers and grandmothers stand in solidarity with the victims.
The mascot for this event was a Dare to Care Bear and everyone carried one. We met at Downing Street and marched to Parliament where the speakers addressed the crowd which grew as we walked and people of all ilk’s joined in. Our hope is that this critical issue will be addressed by authorities and that more girls will not become victims of rape and abuse.