Jack Straw under fire over Pakistan 'easy meat' remark

Written by: Hari Krishnan
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London, Jan 9 (ANI): A prominent UK politician has been accused of 'stereotyping' a whole community after suggesting that some British Pakistani men regard white girls as 'easy meat' for sexual abuse.

Jack Straw, a former foreign secretary and home minister, expressed his concerns on Friday after two men of Asian-origin who raped and sexually assaulted girls in Derby were given indefinite jail terms, reports the Telegraph.

He argued that there was a 'specific problem' in some areas of the country, including his own, where men from the Pakistani community were deliberately targeting vulnerable young white girls.

He also urged the Pakistani community to be 'more open' about the issue.

"We need to get the Pakistani community to think much more clearly about why this is going on and to be more open about the problems that are leading to a number of Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way," he had said in Newsnight.

While some Labour MPs attacked their party colleague for his comments on Saturday, others commentators praised him for raising the sensitive issue.

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said Straw was wrong to accuse British Pakistani men of targeting white girls.

"To generalise in this stereotypical manner and castigate a whole community is not becoming of him," he said.

"There are Asian men who will do the same thing to Muslim and Pakistani girls. They are indiscriminate and will take the chance wherever they can.

Rather than just whinging about it, he should have sorted it out by educating his community over the last 30 years while he's been MP," he added.

Mahmood's criticism was echoed by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who said: "I don't think this is a cultural problem ... I don't think you can stereotype an entire community."

"Why didn't Jack Straw say something about this? He has represented Blackburn for 31 years, he has been the home secretary," he added.

However, Ann Cryer, the former Labour MP for Keighley, West Yorkshire, said Straw should be commended for highlighting a problem that Muslim MPs were not prepared to confront.

"The vast majority of young Asian men are fine, but there's a minority who do not behave properly towards white women and sweeping it under the carpet will only make matters worse," she said.

"If these Asian men behaved in the same way to young Muslim girls they'd end up in very hot water in their community. That's why they turn to young white girls, because otherwise they'd be in big trouble," she said.

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank, also said that Muslim leaders needed to do more to question the attitudes of young Muslim men towards women. (ANI)

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