The former Manchester police detective who exposed a pedophile ring in Rochdale -- and resigned in 2012 over the failure of the system to bring the perpetrators to justice -- recently broke her silence. She told the British press about the abuse to which she was subjected in her department for attempting to reveal that the perpetrators were Muslim men of Pakistani origin.
Maggie Oliver explained that the reason she decided to come forward with her story was the discovery that a former colleague, detective John Wedger, not only had experienced similar bullying at the hands of the Greater Manchester Police department, but is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his ordeal. Wedger said he was forced into early retirement in October, after more than two decades of service, due to his mental state. His shaky condition was caused, he said, by the behavior of his colleagues and superiors, who were aware that children were being sexually exploited; not only did they dismiss the fact, however, but at least one officer was providing the perpetrators with information about the investigation.
Oliver recounted that her assignment during what was dubbed "Operation Span" was to gain the confidence of the victims and encourage them to speak about their abusers. She claimed that once the children started pointing fingers at mostly Muslim men, the police department began to downplay her findings.
Oliver and Wedger were not the only secondary victims of Operation Span, however. In May 2017, a few months before their stories were made public, the chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Nazir Afzal, was forced to resign over harsh statements he made about Islamists, following the Manchester Arena bombing.
Sadly, Afzal was shunned by certain groups of fellow Muslims for his part, as Chief Crown Prosecutor, in bringing the Rochdale "grooming gang" to justice, while openly attributing their misogyny to radical Islam. That the government, however, also turned on him -- a pioneer of the campaign to rescue under-aged girls from the drugging, torture and rape of violent criminals -- is beyond shocking. That he was ousted for putting British law and safety above any personal racial, ethnic or religious consideration conveys three dangerous messages.
Nazir Afzal was shunned by certain groups of fellow Muslims for his part, as Chief Crown Prosecutor, in bringing the Rochdale "grooming gang" to justice, while openly attributing their misogyny to radical Islam. (Image source: United States Mission Geneva)
First, it signals to members of the police that it is not in their best interest to tell the truth about Muslim criminals and terrorists. Second, it indicates to Muslim criminals and terrorists that they can get away with anything in the U.K., where the level of religious tolerance trumps even the law. Third, it serves to discourage victims (in this case, young girls) or those who are helping them -- such as Afzal, Oliver and Wedger -- from speaking out and reporting crimes, for fear of the devastating repercussions that befall anyone labeled racist or "Islamophobic."
The tragic irony is that the racists or "Islamophobes" are actually those who give Muslim criminals and terrorists a pass -- those who have lower expectations of Muslims than of anyone else. Furthermore, willfully ignoring the link between radical Islam and certain types of violent behavior makes it impossible for law enforcement agencies to confront and eradicate that behavior. While the British authorities made a concerted effort to sweep the identity of the pedophiles under the carpet, the perpetrators themselves proudly shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the greatest" in Arabic) in the courtroom after they were convicted and sentenced.
In August, Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham, resigned from her position as shadow women and equalities minister, after she penned an op-ed in The Sun in which she said, "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls."
Champion wrote the piece after 17 men and one woman were found guilty of committing violent crimes, including rape, against women and girls in Newcastle.
In the wake of Champion's resignation, Channel 4 News examined the statistics, published in a 2013 Child Exploitation and Online Protection report that referred to the identity and motives of perpetrators. What the data revealed is that the number of Muslims from South Asia involved in grooming gangs is three times higher than that of criminals of other backgrounds.
The situation is not coincidental. Boys educated by their fathers and radical clerics to view women as chattel would be likely to grow up as misogynists. Accounts from the female family members of some of the convicts in the grooming cases revealed a monstrous hatred for women in general, and non-Muslim women in particular.
The daughter of one of the convicts told the Daily Mail:
"My dad is in prison because he was with others raping small white girls. I hate him. He made my mum pregnant eight times even when she didn't want to do it. I heard her crying. Six babies died. He did that to her for so long. But never went to prison."
Another woman said:
"You know our girls are raped by uncles, fathers, brothers and imams. My neighbour's daughter had a baby when she was 12. It was her uncle. They blamed her. Sent her to Pakistan. We don't see the truth."
Many others also blamed the victims. White girls, one said, are "filthy. How they dress. They have no shame, no fear of Allah."
This sentiment was echoed by one of the convicts, Badrul Hussain, who -- when caught in 2014 by a female ticket inspector for not having paid for his ride on public transportation -- had shouted: "All white women are only good for one thing: for men like me to f*** and use like trash. That's all women like you are worth."
Rather than rejecting the culture in which Hussain and other sex offenders were raised, Britain enables it to flourish, as is illustrated by a well-documented book -- Women and Shari'a Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK -- published in 2016.
According to author Elham Manea, a Muslim professor and human rights champion, Islamic sharia courts in Britain are more extreme and "totalitarian" than those in some parts of Pakistan. Manea's findings, the result of a four-year study of approximately 80 Islamic councils in London and the Midlands, reveal that some of the clerics who head them support fathers having the power to annul their daughters' marriages at will.
One cleric interviewed in the book said, "A woman will be beaten in the name of religion. Beaten. And it will be legal." Another asserted, "A man should not be questioned why he hit his wife because this is something between them." Yet another, discussing property disputes, said, "We are very happy to give the woman half and the man double because I think this is a very fair way of dealing with the situation."
It is bad enough that women and girls in the Middle East are inferior in the eyes of their families and the law. Yet, for Britain to look the other way, if not sanction, practices that are anathema to a democracy that prides itself on human rights, is a perversion of justice to Britons of all backgrounds, including law-abiding Muslims.
Afzal is pessimistic about the direction that Britain is headed in this respect. "Will South Asian communities condemn these atrocities -- and take the necessary action? I'm not convinced," he wrote in the Daily Mail. "As for wider society, we must start to understand what drives this abuse if we want to stop it."
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that a mere few weeks ago, Afzal was disinvited from giving the keynote address at the annual gala for the Society of Asian Lawyers (SAL). A month before the October 28 event, he received a letter from the SAL committee, informing him, "Candidly, and regrettably, a member of our committee voiced concern over whether your article in The Mail on Sunday on grooming and your keynote speech may cause offence to guests at the ball."
Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany.