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I didn't attack Islam, says Ilkley MP
Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins has been challenged by a senior local party figure for his comments in Parliament linking some British Muslims to sexual grooming.
In an address to the House of Commons last week, Mr Hopkins said the British Pakistani Muslim community had to confront the fact that a small minority of its men were abusing white children.
He also criticised the custom of seeking brides from Pakistan, suggesting this was motivated by a wish to have “subservient” women in the household.
But earlier this week he was challenged by Zafar Ali, chairman of the Keighley central branch of the Keighley and Ilkley Conservative Association.
Mr Ali, a former Conservative district councillor, said: “Islam is a global religion and draws its congregation from around the world.
“To taint Islam by association with paedophile gangs and child abusers is completely wrong and Kris Hopkins should come forward within the Islamic community and apologise for this misguided generalisation.
“I do not and cannot stand by and condone abuse in any form, particularly one which robs a child of all innocence.
“But Mr Hopkins has, unfortunately, taken away from this most important debate on how we address child sexual exploitation by muddying the waters with a number of other issues that add little to the subject of the debate.”
Mosque leaders in Bradford have accused Mr Hopkins of overstepping his remit.
However, Mr Hopkins said he was disappointed to learn of Mr Ali’s comments.
He said: “If Mr Ali had taken the time and trouble to read a full transcript of my speech, which very few of my critics appear to have done, he would have seen that I was not making sweeping generalisations about anybody.
“I stressed the reality that ‘the vast majority of child abusers in this country are white.’ I said that ‘not all British Pakistani men are abusing white kids,’ but I added ‘There is a minority, though.’ “I did use the term ‘Muslim’ elsewhere in my remarks but this was not in any way meant as an attack on Islam, which anyone who reads my speech will appreciate.”