Mohammed Shafiq has defied death threats to stand up against the gangs who prey on young white girls.
The father-of-three lives within a short drive of where the victims were recruited in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. His initial involvement with the issue was in Blackburn, but then he discovered it was going on in his own home town. “I couldn’t walk away,” he said last night. “I’ve got a wife and three young daughters, but I felt I had to stand up to be counted. If death threats are the price I have to pay, then so be it”.
Mr Shafiq is now chief executive of The Ramadhan Foundation, a moderate Muslim group trying to foster better relationships with non-Muslims.
“In the early days the Asian community thought the exploitation was all made up, just BNP propaganda. Then they realised that it was actually going on and they found it abhorrent. “But they’ve still tended to ignore it in the hope that it would go away. I hope now that they’re beginning to realise that they have to engage and there has to be more education about the whole issue. “I think the case at Liverpool could be a catalyst.”
Mr Shafiq profiles the offenders as Asian men, predominantly Pakistani, who want easy sex and are prepared to pay to abuse girls as young as 13.
Of 68 recent convictions for on-street grooming, 59 were of British Pakistani men.