Cultural traditions are no excuse for sex crimes, minister warns

Damian Green, Police and Criminal Justice Minister, said men linked to sex crimes such as female genital mutilation and selling underage girls for sex must learn to obey Britain’s laws and customs. “If you come and live in 21st-century Britain then you obey the laws and observe the conventions of 21st-century Britain. And the law says that exploiting children for sexual purposes is a serious and disgusting crime,” Mr Green told The Times. He added: “The age of consent may be puberty in other parts of the world, but it is not in this country. And in this country it is not acceptable to regard anyone else as being in some way less than human because they may not share your religious views or your race. “We are all equal under the law. If you are abusing children sexually then that’s criminality and I am not prepared to accept, as a plea in mitigation, the argument that in some parts of the world this would be regarded as acceptable. It’s not acceptable in Britain in 2013.”

The sex ring in Rochdale sparked a national debate over the role of largely Asian men in grooming white girls, and what impact cultural background had on the campaign of abuse being able to continue for so long.

 

Police and social workers were accused of not investigating the gang for fear of being branded racist, and instead toeing a ‘politically correct’ line.

 

Men of Pakistani heritage are significantly over-represented among those convicted of group street-grooming crimes, according to The Times. It has also been claimed some interpretations of Islam leads men to believe what would be morally wrong with a Muslim girl is permitted with a non-Muslim victim.

Burqa ban would be “un-British”

Banning the wearing of the Islamic full veil in public would be “un-British”, the immigration minister has said. Damian Green told the Sunday Telegraph trying to pass such a law would be at odds with the UK’s “tolerant and mutually respectful society”. It comes after Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members’ bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public and after French MPs voted to ban the wearing of full face veils in public last week.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, agreed saying: “I take a strong view on this, actually, that I don’t, living in this country, as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear.” Spelman also stirred some controversy by saying that women were “empowered” by the freedom to wear the face cover.