Personal Statement from Mohammed Shafiq
Saturday 31st March 2018
Many of you will know that I have spent the past 11 years of my life exposing and fighting for justice against grooming gangs from within the Pakistani community and standing with victims of child sexual abuse. I have been subjected to death threats, accused of being a far right agent just because I have the voice to speak out against the groomers. Despite these threats I have continued speaking out because I do not see any difference between “white girls” being raped and “Pakistani girls” being raped. I spoke out when there was no one else from within the Pakistani community leading this campaign so you would think my record would speak for itself but sadly some haters deliberately ignore my record to attempt to tarnish my reputation. Well I have news for these haters, no matter what you try, it will fail, and my 11 years of standing with victims of child sexual abuse and against grooming gangs won’t be washed away and will stand the test of time.
Some months ago a right-wing and what some would describe as an anti-Muslim Facebook page based in Rochdale tried to link one of the Rochdale Groomers Abdul Rauf to the Imam and chair of the Rochdale Council of Mosques Milaad Committee Qari Abdul Rauf. This has been part of a concerted effort to peddle lies about certain individuals in Rochdale’s Muslim community and one that we will not accept. The Rochdale Grooming gang were convicted in 2012 and they have been exposed for their crimes. Now one of the moderators of this group thinks he is a “journalist”, most reporters would do a background check, speak to people within the community and actually look at the photos then once sure of the facts publish their story. This wannabe journalist just went ahead with his lies and without even looking at the photos of these two men he published a post which was a total fabrication.
As you can see they have the same name but when you look at their photos they are totally different people. Despite a number of people alerting this Facebook page of their mistake they continued to push their lies and propaganda. It was brought to my attention because I campaigned against these grooming gangs and was prominent in exposing their crimes.
I felt the lies were slander and unacceptable, I tried to reach out to this page but all I got back was hate. I met with Qari Abdul Rauf at his home, as a prominent member of the Muslim community I have dialogues and relationships with hundreds of Imams and Muslim Leaders but cannot be personally responsible for their words or actions. We agreed to do a short Facebook video in English (which is still on Facebook) responding to this Page’s lies and untruths. For the record I stand by the contents of that video, Qari Abdul Rauf is not a groomer, he is a man of faith and had nothing to do with these grooming gangs. For this page to peddle the lie that he was a groomer, could have had severe consequences for his family and children but thankfully nothing happened. To date this so called journalist has not apologised for his lies and propaganda and for putting his family at risk.
Yesterday Greater Manchester Police sent a Press Release at 12:13 which I received but did not read until around 16:00pm, saying that a Qari Abdul Rauf had been charged after children had been assaulted in a Mosque on Crawford Street, Rochdale. Now that he has been charged and is due his day in Court, for obvious legal reasons I cannot comment on the allegations until the trial is completed. I promise you this, never in the past have I remained silent and nor will I now. Did I know anything about the allegations of physical abuse towards children when I made that video with him, no I did not and had it been today I would still have made the video as the propaganda against him was based on lies and calling him a groomer. I do not support or defend anyone convicted of using violence against children.
It is clear from Greater Manchester Police the allegations he was charged with yesterday do not concern anything of a sexual abuse nature and had this been the case the Police would have charged him of those alleged crimes. Yet this so called journalist and page continues to peddle the same propaganda regardless of facts or evidence and is now trying to come for me.
For legal reason I will not be commenting on the allegations or on Qari Abdul Rauf until after the trial.
But more generally I am a father of four daughters, I find the thought of any Imam, Rabbi, Priest or teacher using violence against children sickening and offensive and support any legal action to protect our children.
I am not personally responsible for the actions of people who I have interviewed, had dinner with, shared a platform with, engaged with, or defended from lies from people who hate Islam and peddle hate against Muslims. Responsibility rests with the accused.
I can hold my head high, when no one was listening to the victims of sick, perverted grooming gangs I was on the front line standing with them and fighting against these predominately Pakistani gangs. Whatever you say or attempt to do, you won’t be able to change history or the evidence.
Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation
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