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

Cockbain, E; Tufail, W

RACE & CLASS
2020
VL / 61 - BP / 3 - EP / 32
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.
133rd Global

AccesS level

Green Accepted

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PROYECTO FINANCIADO POR PLAN NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, MINISTERIO DE CIENCIA E INNOVACIÓN. PID2019-109127RB-I00