‘Justice for the victims of sexual exploitation, don’t let the racists divide us’

 Statement initiated by Sheffield Unite Against Fascism and One Sheffield Many Cultures.

We the undersigned condemn the declaration by the South Yorkshire Casuals (SYC) of their intention to come to Sheffield on Saturday the 27 June and the English Defence League’s (EDL) threat to return to Sheffield on Saturday 4 July. We believe they are cynical attempts by fascist groups  to use the appalling crime of child sexual exploitation to advance their own selfish ends.

We support and seek justice for all victims of sexual exploitation regardless of their social or ethnic background. We  condemn and seek prosecution of all those responsible for these crimes irrespective of their ethnicity or creed.

We reject all attempts to whip up racism and division in our city by trying to turn communities against each other.

We also reject the attempt by the EDL and SYC to use the crime of child sexual exploitation to demonise one community.

It is important to emphasise that the victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation come from all communities, regardless of class or ethnic background.

The recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Exploitation in Rotherham by Professor Alexis Jay OBE reminds us, “As has been stated many times before, there is no simple link between race and child sex exploitation….” (Pg 91)

The EDL and SYC  are racist groups dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, LGBT people, Travellers or East Europeans.

We urge people of goodwill to support the ‘EDL not welcome in Sheffield ’ statement and join the ‘Justice for the victims – We will not let the racists divide us’ unity events in the city centre on Saturday 27 June and Saturday 4 July.  More details to follow.

Signatories include: Louise Haigh MP, Clive Betts MP, Richard Corbett MEP, Linda McAvan MEP,  Chris Kitchen NUM General Secretary, Bishop Ralph Heskett, Rev. Louise Collins, St Cuthberts Church, Abdool Gooljar, Islamic Society of  Britain, Gerry Gable, Editor Searchlight, David Hayes and Penny Kay, Sheffield and District Reform Jewish Congregation (personal capacity), John Campbell, Chair Sheffield UAF, Fr Shaun Smith OSMC Chair,  Cllr Chris Peace, Cllr Gill Furniss, Neale Gibson, Director,  Sheffield LGBT, Bob Jeffrey President Sheffield TUC, Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield TUC, Sheffield, Terry Fox, NACODS,  ‘One Sheffield Many Cultures,  Sheffield Unite Against Fascism and Sheffield Trade Union Council Executive Committee.