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Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ narrative

Cockbain, E; Tufail, W; (2020) Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ narrative. Race & Class , 61 (3) pp. 3-32. 10.1177/0306396819895727. Green open access

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Abstract

‘Muslim grooming gangs’ have become a defining feature of media, political and public debate around child sexual exploitation in the UK. The dominant narrative that has emerged to explain a series of horrific cases is misleading, sensationalist and has in itself promoted a number of harms. This article examines how racist framings of ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ exist not only in extremist, far-right fringes but in mainstream, liberal discourses too. The involvement of supposedly feminist and liberal actors and the promotion of pseudoscientific ‘research’ have lent a veneer of legitimacy to essentialist, Orientalist stereotypes of Muslim men, the demonisation of whole communities and demands for collective responsibility. These developments are situated in the broader socio-political context, including the far Right’s weaponisation of women’s rights, the ‘Islamophobia industry’ and a long history of racialising crime. We propose alternative ways of understanding and responding to child sexual exploitation/abuse. We contend that genuinely anti-racist feminist approaches can help in centring victims/survivors and their needs and in tackling serious sexual violence without demonising entire communities.

Type: Article
Title: Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the ‘Muslim grooming gangs’ narrative
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0306396819895727
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0306396819895727
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License
Keywords: anti-Muslim racism, anti-racist feminism, child sexual abuse and exploitation, grooming gangs, Islamophobia, Quilliam
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087386
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