YEP Letters: September 19

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Protest at Court of Appeal decision

Tanweer Khan, chairman, Pakistani Anti-Grooming & Abuse League

On behalf of PAGAL (Pakistani Anti-Grooming & Abuse League), I write to formally protest against the decision by the honourable judges at the Court of Appeal for upholding the earlier decision by Judge Sally Cahill QC in which she bestowed a harsher sentence on Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir for sexually abusing two young girls from Asian backgrounds.

Child sexual abuse is a global problem, with 1 in 4 girls being subjected to sexual abuse before the age of 18, and over 90 per cent of the time the abuser is a person that is highly trusted by the victim.

That said, when it comes to sentencing of these heinous criminals, judges must be impartial and consistent.

Whilst it may be the case that on a personal level girls from Asian backgrounds may have the stigma attached to them for being victims of abuse, and as such may become ostracised in the community or may struggle to get married, the state must not under any circumstance whatsoever discriminate in any way, shape or form when it comes to sentencing the paedophiles.

It must also be remembered that typically girls from Asian backgrounds tend to also have better support networks within their own families, which other non-Asian girls may not necessarily be fortunate enough to avail.

Every young girl that is sexually abused goes through a life-changing experience; and in some cases this leads to them joining gangs and becoming involved in a culture of drugs, alcohol, theft, prostitution, self-harm and may culminate in them being sent to prison. Some girls may well have already committed suicide by this stage.

Why judges see fit to bestow harsher sentences to those that abuse girls from Asian backgrounds is mind-boggling to say the least; and in fact totally counter-productive in our view. A paedophile abuses a girl for his own depravity and sexual gratification; he doesn’t really care what background the victim comes from.

One thing this ruling does is it sends a very clear message to paedophiles that if they abuse non-Asian girls, the penalties will not be as severe. In our opinion, that decision is totally discriminatory, and does not provide the appropriate level of justice to non-Asian girls.

By bifurcating between Asian and non-Asian girls, the UK is heading down an extremely slippery slope. Next you will see judges factoring in whether the girl is Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or whether she lives in a council high-rise, a semi-detached suburban house or in a country mansion.We urgently request the honourable judges (and the government) to revisit this extremely ill-judged, highly unjust, totally unfair and extremely discriminatory ruling immediately and ensure that all girls that are unfortunate victims of sexual abuse are treated equally.

The United Kingdom is already suffering from the aftermaths of various grooming and abuse scandals, and no doubt there are more to come as authorities are finally beginning to realise that they need to take action and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Against this backdrop, it would be most unfortunate if the judiciary started applying random and arbitrary criteria such as the religious, racial, social, cultural or financial background of the victims when it comes to sentencing the abusers. For the sake of completeness and clarity, we are not asking for the sentence in this particular case to be reduced - we just fundamentally disagree with the notion that Asian girls suffer more as child sexual abuse victims when compared to non-Asian girls.

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Clarification still needed

Councillor Barry Anderson, Adel & Wharfedale Ward

I write in response to the article concerning the rehoming of people living in the Rosemont sheltered housing complex (Sheltered home tenants on the move, YEP, 12th September).

I welcome moves by the council to address the concerns of the residents of Rosemont, provided there are realistic choices of local accommodation both for those who are choosing to move temporarily whilst refurbishment is underway, and for those who are choosing to leave Rosemont permanently so they can get settled in their new home.

But I am concerned that residents still haven’t been told of the proposals the council are putting forward. I understand that will now be October. The continued uncertainty and lack of clarity means that some of the residents are making decisions without the full facts of how the council will deal with each individual case. I acknowledge the council has improved their communication with residents, but further clarification is still needed on some of the issues raised by the latest consultation.

I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and to work with the council to find a permanent, long-term solution that suits all residents.

No land of milk and honey

Olga Twist, Leeds 17

I’M an oldie of 93 years and all this new technology is way beyond me, even the telephone beats me sometimes, so I write letters to friends and family in the hope that it will help to keep the English language alive, as the shortened spelling used by so many now as they text one another surely means it could soon be lost.

But what puzzles me is that we won the war in 1945, but we seem to have lost the peace. Our country seems to be floundering - we have very little industry of any kind while Germany is leaping ahead and thriving. Good luck to her and all her hard work to overcome their defeat. So why do many immigrants strive so hard to reach Britain, she is no longer a land of milk and honey - just empty premises, shops and houses, and row after row of kebab shops run by their own countrymen trying to make a living and all selling the same things. In the end they will be the only people to survive this downward trend of this once proud nation - or will we get a leader who will lead us back to prosperity? Maybe not in the next four or five years.

Resolve current issues

Ian Holmes, by email

Of all the letters and emails posted recently about immigration to the UK, not one has hit the nail on the head as exact as Liz Goodwill in her email of the September 17.

Every point she makes regarding the current housing waiting list, the NHS and schools is accurate. Whilst having sympathy for some of the refugees we must first try and resolve the current issues before adding to them.

YEP Letters: April 27