Not for the first time, Jack Straw has ignited a firestorm of controversy by expressing serious concerns about behaviour within the British Muslim community.
Mr Straw, whose Blackburn constituency is heavily populated by Muslims, spoke out after two British men of Pakistani descent were jailed last week for a series of rapes and sexual assaults on vulnerable young girls, whom they also groomed for sex with other gangs members or their relatives.
This was far from a one-off case. Police operations going back to 1996 have revealed a disturbingly similar pattern of collective abuse involving small groups of Muslim men committing a particular type of sexual crime.
This has typically involved abducting, raping or otherwise sexually attacking hundreds of mainly white girls aged 11 to 16, as well as enslaving them through alcohol and drugs and grooming them for sex.
Mr Straw said the reason was that some British Pakistani men regarded emotionally ‘vulnerable’ white girls as ‘easy meat’ whom they trapped through plying them with gifts and drugs.
The reaction to his remarks from certain quarters was all too predictable.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said Straw’s comments were ‘pretty dangerous’. Others accused him of being ‘inflammatory’ or ‘stereotyping’ an entire community.
What all this merely illustrated, however, was the politically correct denial which exculpates the guilty by ruling out of bounds any criticism of the community to which they belong.
For far too long, this has served to suppress an absolutely vital debate which desperately needs to be had.
For while, of course, most Muslims repudiate any kind of sexual crime, the fact remains that the majority of those who are involved in this particular kind of predatory activity are Muslim.
The picture is certainly complicated. The overwhelming majority of people who are convicted in general of sex crimes — including sexual abuse within families — are white men.
Nevertheless, we do now know that most cases of gang-led, on-street grooming that have come to light involve British Muslim offenders and young white girls.
Most disturbingly, the police say that these convictions form only a small proportion of a ‘tidal wave’ of such crimes. Yet, until now, there has been a conspiracy of silence over this phenomenon.
Charities such as Barnardo’s won’t even discuss the cultural background of such criminals. The Home Office refuses to collect such statistics. And, of course, the Guardianistas condemn any such analysis as ‘racialising crime’.
Actually, there is more than a grain of truth in that particular criticism. For this is certainly not a racial issue. Indeed, one of the many red herrings in this debate is that — if cultural characteristics are discussed at all — the gangs tend to be described as ‘Asian’.
But this is to besmirch Sikhs, Hindus, Chinese and other Asians. For these particular gang members are overwhelmingly Muslim men. And the common characteristic is not ethnicity, but religion.
For these gang members select their victims from communities which they believe to be ‘unbelievers’ — non-Muslims whom they view with disdain and hostility.
You can see that this is not a racial but a religious animosity from the fact that, while the vast majority of the girls who are targeted are white, the victims include Sikhs and Hindus, too.
Back in 2007, The Hindu Forum Of Britain claimed that hundreds of Hindu and Sikh girls had been intimidated by Muslim men who took them on dates before terrorising them until they converted.
And the Sikh Media Monitoring group described ‘the deliberate and targeted sexual degradation of Sikh women purely because of their religion’ and how a minority of young Muslim men boasted about ‘seducing the Kaffir (unbeliever) women’.
Nevertheless, there is a particular problem with white girls. They are targeted because the men involved in these offences do not regard Muslim girls in the same way as sexual objects to be shared by all.
One Muslim man was reported as saying that white girls are targeted by such men because ‘if they did it to a Muslim girl, they’d be shot’.
White girls also tend to be seen as sluts. Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a national Muslim youth organisation, says: ‘These people think that white girls have fewer morals and are less valuable than our girls.’
What seems to have taken place is therefore a tragic conflation of certain primitive, religiously based attitudes towards women and unbelievers — and the degraded way in which certain white girls behave.
For in this debauched British society, highly-sexualised behaviour by even pre-teens is ignored, excused, condoned or encouraged.
Who can be surprised that young white girls willingly go with these sexual predators who pick them up when so many stagger in and out of pubs and nightclubs in a drunken haze wearing clothes that leave little to the imagination and boasting of ‘blow jobs’ or how many guys they have ‘shagged’?
Who can be surprised when even sex education materials in schools advise on oral sex and other sexual practices; teen-targeted magazines, clothing and popular culture are saturated by sexuality; and family life has often disintegrated into a procession of mum’s casual pick-ups and gross parental indifference, leaving young girls desperate for affection from any quarter?
The disgust felt by some Muslim youths at such sexually promiscuous girls can then feed into a more general hatred and hostility towards Britain and the West. Such youths form themselves into gangs bound by a common feeling of being outsiders united by a profound hostility to the society into which they were born.
But because they are indeed also part of British society, and have therefore been exposed to an education system which gives them precious little education about Britain and even less moral guidance, such youths often descend into the same pit of drugs, alcohol and sex as their ‘unbeliever’ peers.
Yet they come from backgrounds where, all too often, women have second-class status — a world in which some particularly extreme communities have a mindset that divides them into either virginal slaves to their husbands or prostitutes.
The resulting conflict set up in the minds of these British Muslim boys sometimes creates a disgust that turns upon the ‘slags’ and ‘slappers’.
Or — far more lethally — it leads to a self-disgust which makes them vulnerable to the message that they can purify themselves by destroying the society that has led them into such evil and ungodly ways.
It is remarkable that, even though the obscenity of rape and the inviolable rights of women over their bodies are among the shibboleths of the age, feminists and other liberals are almost totally silent when Muslims violate these sacred codes.
Muslim women are often treated abominably within their communities. But to their suffering, feminists and other right-on liberals are almost totally silent. The only sound from that lobby is the cry of ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’ hurled at anyone who dares protest at such religious slavery.
Some Muslim sexual predators may now be behind bars. Others, according to the police, may still be very much at large.
But it is multicultural, reverse-racist, sickeningly hypocritical Britain which is actually in the dock.