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Abandon term ‘Asian’ and call a spade a spade for the sake of child victims

August 29, 2014 | By

London, United States (August 27, 2014): Ever since 9/11 and the term Islamophobia was invented public bodies and the media in the UK have been reluctant to call a spade a spade. For reasons of excessive political correctness and possible claims of racism the broader term ‘Asian’ has been and continues to be incorrectly used although it in inappropriate.

The report by Professor Alexis Jay on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has made clear the ‘majority’ of known perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage. Yet the police and council workers downplayed the ethnic dimension, an approach that she describes as ‘ill-judged’ and they failed to tackle such appalling crimes.

Jahangir Akhtar, the former deputy leader of the council, has been accused in the report of naivety and potentially ‘ignoring a politically inconvenient truth’ by insisting there was not a deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators. Jay states he was one of the elected members who said they thought the criminal convictions in 2010 were ‘a one-off, isolated case’. Police told the inquiry that some influential Pakistani councillors in Rotherham acted as barriers to communication on grooming issues.

Organisations like the Sikh Federation (UK) have been campaigning for the term ‘Asian’ to be abandoned for over a decade. The Sikh campaign for proper ‘identification’ initially came to the fore following cases of attacks on turban wearing Sikhs through what became popularly known as ‘mistaken identity’ following 9/11. However, it has been frustrating for far too long for Sikhs and others who might be seen as ‘Asian’ that virtually every time a negative story appeared in the press, often involving Muslims, the media and those in positions of authority preferred to use the term ‘Asian’.

The widespread outrage following Professor Jay’s report has again highlighted the problem with the non-specific term Asian.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

‘It is time for the media, police, local authorities and others to abandon political correctness and stop using the throwaway term ‘Asian’.

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