Pakistan’s foreign office has criticised British Home Secretary Suella Braverman for “discriminatory and xenophobic” comments after she said that British Pakistani men “hold cultural values at odds with British values”.
In an interview with Sky News on Monday, Braverman also alleged British Pakistani men worked in child abuse rings or networks that targeted “vulnerable white English girls”.
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Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Mehnaz Baloch on Wednesday condemned Braverman’s remarks which, he said, painted a “highly misleading picture signalling the intent to target and treat British Pakistanis differently”.
Baloch said Braverman had “erroneously branded criminal behaviour of some individuals as a representation of the entire community”.
“She fails to take note of the systemic racism and ghettoisation of communities and omits to recognise the tremendous cultural, economic and political contributions that British Pakistanis continue to make in British society,” Baloch said in her weekly briefing in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Today, Suella Braverman has singled out the British Pakistani community as perpetrators of sexual grooming. My 2011 doc outlined a disproportionate number but as the Home Office’s own report in 2020 confirmed the majority are white. Braverman was Attorney General at the time.
— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) April 2, 2023
A British Home Office report on group-based child sexual abuse published in 2020 pointed out that research on offender ethnicity is limited, and tends to rely on poor-quality data.
However, it did highlight studies that show white men as being the majority of offenders, in comparison with Asian or Black men.
The report’s findings were pointed out to Braverman during the interview, but she went on to say that British Pakistani men “see women in a demeaned and illegitimate way and who pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach in terms of the way they behave”.
Braverman’s comments have received a backlash on social media, with users saying the remarks will mislead the public and “incite violence against those with particular racial characteristics”.
The Home Secretary is wilfully misleading the public and stoking hostility towards minority groups. By focusing her rhetoric on minorities she is deflecting from evidence of more widespread abuse, and risking perpetrators being ignored. This is using victims for political games. pic.twitter.com/QWDBhZS2yP
— Daniel Sohege 🧡 (@stand_for_all) April 4, 2023
Because it is so plainly right to bring criminals to justice & protect victims, it is all the more frightening for the Home Secretary to use that message to incite violence against those with particular racial characteristics. A profoundly upsetting abuse of her office. #sheknows https://t.co/L417hAHUgC
— Jessica Simor KC (@JMPSimor) April 4, 2023