Imams promote grooming rings, Muslim leader claims

Dr Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, said race and religion were inextricably linked to the recent spate of grooming rings in which Muslim men have targeted under-age white girls. Earlier this week seven members of a child sex ring from Oxford were found guilty of forcing underage girls to commit acts of “extreme depravity”. Their victims, aged between 11 and 15, were groomed and plied with alcohol and drugs before being sexually assaulted and forced into prostitution. They targeted “out of control” teenagers. Dr Hargey said that the case brought shame on the city and the community and is a setback for cross community harmony. The activities of the Oxford sex ring are “bound up with religion and race” because all the men – though of different nationalities – were Muslim and they “deliberately targeted vulnerable white girls, whom they appeared to regard as ‘easy meat’, to use one of their revealing, racist phrases”, Dr Hargey said. That attitude has been promoted by religious leaders, he believes. “On one level, most imams in the UK are simply using their puritanical sermons to promote the wearing of the hijab and even the burka among their female adherents. But the dire result can be the brutish misogyny we see in the Oxford sex ring.” To pretend it is not a problem is the Islamic community is “ideological denial”, Dr Hargey said. The men were allowed, he said, to come and go from care homes by the authorities, and if the situation had been reversed with gangs of white men preying on Muslim teenagers”the state’s agencies would have acted with greater alacrity.” True Islam preaches respect for women but in mosques across the country a different doctrine is preached – “one that denigrates all women, but treats whites with particular contempt,” men are taught that women are “second-class citizens, little more than chattels or possessions over whom they have absolute authority,”.

Imam bridges a wedding divide

Muslim women and their Christian fiancés from across Europe are travelling to Oxford to get married because imams in their own countries refuse to perform the ceremonies. Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said he had performed about 36 marriages in the past two years between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. More imams are happy to marry Muslim men to non-Muslim women. Couples from Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, France and Norway have all come to Dr Hargey after failing to find someone locally prepared to carry out the service. Most had spent months looking for an imam, and many found Dr Hargey after contacting American Muslim leaders via the Internet. Dr Hargey, who believes he is the only imam in the UK who openly performs the mixed marriages, said: “We do it because there is no prohibition in the Koran. “Islam allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women and such marriages are common, but I am one of the only people who will do it the other way round.” He said couples had to sign up to five non-negotiable conditions protecting the woman’s faith, and agree to counselling before he would perform marriages. Muslim Sana Majeed McMillion, 27, and Christian-born Andrew McMillion, 32, were married by Dr Hargey last night in Abingdon — a 1,500 mile round-trip from their home in Oslo. Mr McMillion, an account manager for an IT company, said: “Generally speaking it seems to be totally accepted for men to marry non-Muslims, but not women. Fran Bardsley reports.