Pakistani community elders are being blamed for burying their heads in the sand regarding street-grooming by a Manchester Muslim community chief.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the issue of race should not prevent police from bringing people to justice who think white girls are ‘worthless’.
Today nine men from Rochdale and Oldham were convicted as part of Greater Manchester Police’s biggest investigation into child exploitation after many far-right groups have protested in Greater Manchester.
Mr Shafiq said: "There is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community, there is an over-representation amongst recent convictions in the crime of on-street grooming, there should be no silence in addressing the issue of race as this is central to the actions of these criminals.
"They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought; it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community.
"I urge the police and the councils not to be frightened to address this issue, there is a strong lesson that you cannot ignore race or be over sensitive."
He added: "I have been overwhelmed by the support the Ramadhan Foundation has been given by young people for our campaign on child grooming but concerned that community elders are once again burying their heads in the sand, this concerns us all and we must speak out.
"The community elders need to learn from the reaction of young people and reject any attempt to silence the reaction from our community.”
Mr Shafiq said that local authorities and schools should learn from Rochdale, where over 9,000 teenagers have attended a workshop on child grooming.
"The Ramadhan Foundation is ready to stand with anyone who wishes to protect these young teenagers," he said.
"Finally the far right and fascist movements are not welcome to Rochdale, we reject their division and hatred and it has no place in a tolerant and diverse society.
"We will learn lessons from this case but not allow outsiders to divide us," Mr Shafiq added.