by Abdi Ibrahim"Many of the girls were groomed to view the abuse as normal part of being the "girlfriend" of somali man, as it was said be the culture and tradition to be raped by their boyfriend's friends" The Scotsman
Friday, December 12, 2014
We are all shocked and abhored by what the Somali criminal gang done to the young girls in the city of Bristol, England. where they were convicted of running an inner city sex ring that involved the abuse, rape and prostitution of vulnerable schoolgirls and teenagers.
The perpetrators of this crime, were young boys, only in their early twenties and some of them even in their late teens. some of them were recent school-leavers who could have educated themselves to be whatever they want- doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. And they could have made their parents, who emigrated to the west and risked life and limb to give their children a better future and opportunities, more happier when they see their children succeeding in life. However, instead they have chosen a criminal life, full of vice and immorality, in which they humilated and exploited their young vulnerable victims, and in which they were eventually themselves humilated and castrated and put behind bars in the best and pime years of their life. furthermore, when they come out of prison they will be put on the sex-offenders register, in which every aspect of their life will be monitored by the authorities as they are considered to be a danger to the most vulnerable people in the society.
These boys let down their parents and families, who brought them up to be decent and respectfull people. They let down their new homeland, Britain, which gave them many opportunities that they didn't have back in Somalia such as, free education, healthcare, housing and most important of all safety. they also let down their community and tarnished their name and reputation by committing these crimes and then justifying by saying "It Somali culture to do it". This is going to inflame the existing anti-immigration, anti-islam feelings with the election only few months away.
The media coverage of this case was negative and very biased. They shouldn,t be focusing on the race and ethnicity of the perpetrators, but only on the crimes committed; as this what the judge presiding over the court hearing considers when he is reaching the final verdict of the cases. Furthermore, they misrepresented the facts about the case by saying it is somali culture and tradition to abuse young girls. this is defaming the Somali people, their culture and their religion, and contrary to their assertion it isn't somali culture to have even any relationship before marriage.
These may lead to hate crimes targeting Somali and muslim communities according to Avon and Somerset police, and a protest march is already planned in Bristol early next year by the racist groups such as the EDL to whip up more hatred.
To conclude there are lessons that we can all learn from this episode as a parents, as a community and as ordinary citizens as well :
· As a parents, we should watch and protect our children from bad influences around and make sure they are engaged in their school education and homework from early age.
·Community groups should get involved in working and engaging with the youth, such as organising sports, educational and mentoring activities and there should be local role models who can motivate and they can look up to.
·In the wake of this crimes committed by some people from the community and the negative media coverage, there could be a backlash against the somali community, especially vulnerable members such as women- who sometimes go to work early in the morning in the dark for jobs such as cleaning( in my city which isn't far from Bristol some of them have been victims of rape in the past). We should encourage them to travel in groups, in taxis or get lifts from family and friends to and from work. besides that, a safety forums should be set up to make people aware of safety risks and how they can avoid becoming victim of crime, and when someone becomes a victim of crime they should report it to the police whether it is physical or verbal abuse. other minority groups, such as Pakistani and Arab communities have these safety forums and they print literature and leaflets to make people aware of their safety and advise them in the event of a criminal incident.
·Young people who leave school without qualification should be assisted to get vocational training, as there is high demand for skilled jobs such as splumbers, builders, car mechanics etc.
·Finally, when the media writes defamatory stories and lies about our community, we shouldn't keep quiet and we must write to them and complain so they correct and apologise for their wrongs and errors.