Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'These Men Do Not Represent the Muslim Community. Their Actions Are Disgraceful' People of All Faiths Urged to Unite and Learn from Abuse Shock

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'These Men Do Not Represent the Muslim Community. Their Actions Are Disgraceful' People of All Faiths Urged to Unite and Learn from Abuse Shock

Article excerpt

Byline: SOPHIE DOUGHTY Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk @Sophie_Doughty

A PROMINENT Tyneside Muslim has today condemned the actions of the men who exploited vulnerable women in his neighbourhood, but warned the community must learn from the disgusting crimes.

Northumbria Police's Operation Shelter targeted men, mainly from the black & minority ethnic (BME) community, who were grooming and abusing vulnerable girls and women in Newcastle's West End.

But some Muslims felt as if followers of their faith were being targeted because of the actions of a vile minority.

And there were fears that Far Right groups might use the sickening crimes as an opportunity to stoke up hatred and create divisions.

But as he condemned the actions of the groomers, Newcastle Muslim councillor Dipu Ahad said members of the BME community must not feel victimised by any backlash, but instead learn from what has happened.

He said: "While it is important we do not allow a victim mentality in our community, we must not allow groups from the Far Right to exploit these sickening crimes by stoking up hatred against Muslims.

"This is not a time for division and it is vital we all come together, regardless of faith, skin colour and culture; we are one united community.

"I'm not going to be apologetic as a person from the BME community. These men do not represent the Muslim community, nor do they represent the teachings of Islam.

"Their actions are disgraceful. There is absolutely no excuse for this sickening behaviour.

"But we do have to learn from what has happened. We all have a duty to protect vulnerable women. We all need to work together and stamp out these disgusting crimes. We want to make sure this never happens again in our city. It is sickening, disgusting and disgraceful."

Operation Shelter, part of Operation Sanctuary, was launched in January 2014 with a string of arrests. …

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