Survivor: Sex Gangs Motivated by Religious Extremism

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(Illustrative photo: Pixabay)
(Illustrative photo: Pixabay)

A survivor of the Rotherham grooming gang in the UK speaks out about the religious extremism that motivated her abusers. One of her main points was that grooming gangs are not the same as pedophile rings. Rather they are more similar to terrorist networks.

The following is part of her first-hand account (you can read the entire text by clicking here):

They made it clear that because I was a non-Muslim, and not a virgin, and because I didn’t dress “modestly”, that they believed I deserved to be “punished” … 

Like terrorists, they firmly believe that the crimes they carry out are justified by their religious beliefs …

Experts say that grooming gangs are not the same as pedophile rings. It’s something that central Government really needs to understand in order to prevent more grooming gang crime in the future.

In November 2017, the Swedish government held a meeting where they stated that: “Sexual violence is being used as a tactic of terrorism”, and as such, it was recognized as a threat to Sweden’s national security. 

Religious indoctrination is a big part of the process of getting young men involved in grooming gang crime. Religious ideas about purity, virginity, modesty and obedience are taken to the extreme until horrific abuse becomes the norm. It was taught to me as a concept of “othering” … 

I experienced horrific, religiously sanctioned sexual violence and torture – so I definitely believe that we need to be aware of religious extremism as something potentially harmful, so that we can protect people from it. 

The link between terrorism and rape undertaken by Islamist gangs was not being ignored. They called for counter-extremism education. This sounds like a balanced and intelligent governmental response to me.

I witnessed the ways young men are groomed to become perpetrators by older grooming gang members. It’s very similar to the tactics used in grooming for terrorism, with love-bombing, emotive language (“brother”, “cuz”, “blud”), and promises of wealth and fame, then humiliation, controlling with guilt and shame, training with weapons, and instilling hate and fear of outsiders.

Always, at the same time, they continue to convince these young men that they must find girls to be gang-raped too.

Grooming gang crime is upheld by religious extremism. Like Sweden, we must officially recognize this, and work to curb extremist preaching, teach religious counter-narratives, give gendered extremism education and deliver quality relationships education …

If anything, rising anti-Muslim hate will probably make groomers stronger in their convictions, and drive ordinary young Muslim men towards fundamentalism, grooming gangs and terrorism. The camaraderie, protection, money, and kudos that these groups offer makes them a strong pull for anyone. Worryingly, several young men I have spoken to joke that being a gangster and going to jail are their “life goals” …

Most grooming gang survivors I know absolutely condemn anti-Islamic hate, and we’re uncomfortable with English Defence League protests. We certainly don’t want random attacks on “all Muslims”. You can’t cure harm with more harm. 



My Take on Sex-Grooming Gangs

No Charges for UK Council Over Rape Gangs

Forced to Resign for Calling Out Rape Gangs


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