Oxford child rape case: prosecution blames Asians, but sensitive media disagrees
REPORTING on the alleged Oxford child sex abusers – nine men stand accused of raping and sexually abusing children – has been restricted by the ongoing trial. But what has not been said can be as illuminating as what has been said.
Seven of the nine male defendants are of Pakistani origin and two are North African. All the alleged victims are white.
The Times does report those facts.
The men are aged between 24 to 38. The children were aged between 11 and 15 when the alleged abuse occurred.
In 2006, one of the children went to the police. Aged 14, she claimed to have been “held against her will by two Asian men” at a house in Oxford. Police recorded her testimony on video. She claimed Akhtar Dogar, now aged 32, attacked her.
The accused are:
Kamar Jamil, 27, Akhtar Dogar, 32, Anjum Dogar, 30, Assad Hussain, 32, Mohammed Karrar, 38, Bassam Karrar, 33, Mohammed Hussain, 24, Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, and Bilal Ahmed, 26. All deny any wrongdoing.
The Guardian’s report makes no mention of race:
It is alleged the men targeted young girls from vulnerable and chaotic backgrounds, and over a period of eight years subjected them to extreme physical and sexual violence, sold some victims for prostitution in Oxford and trafficked others around the country.
The BBC makes no mention of race.
Does ethnicity matter. Noel Lucas, prosecuting, thinks it does. In his opening remarks he said:
“They were introduced as friends, brothers or cousins, the vast majority being Asian and the rest black. Photographs were taken of her on their mobile telephones, sometimes in the course of sexual activity. She never received any money but she saw it changing hands.”
The Daily Telegraph makes race central to the story. Its headline declares:
Asian sex gang targeted children’s home, court hears
It quotes Lucas:
Noel Lucas QC, prosecuting, said: “She didn’t want to have sex with any of the Asian men…”
The Mail says:
Nine men, mostly of Asian heritage, befriended vulnerable girls with gifts of perfume, alcohol and drugs before subjecting them to a ‘living hell’ for eight years.
The Mirror decalres:
Oxford ‘paedophile ring': ‘Girls as young as 11 sexually exploited by gang of Asian men’ court hears
It quotes Lucas in the headline. But the paper makes not a single mention the word “Asian” in its story:
Mr Lucas said the men “actively targeted vulnerable young girls from the ages of 11 or 12…There is evidence that the men deliberately targeted children who were out of control. They also targeted children who had been sent to live in care homes for precisely that reason. Some of the girls had been sexually exploited by other men, before they encountered these defendants. Some girls already being abused by the group were tasked to find other girls for the group.”
He said the girls were chosen because they had troubled upbringings which made it less likely that anyone would have parental control over them or be looking for them.
The Sun does the same as the Mirror. It mentions the word “Asian” in its headline, but not in the story beneath it:
Girls forced to perform depraved acts for Asian gang’
Why lead with the race angle if it’s not to be developed?
This is how the Express opens its story of the case:
NINE Asian men raped, abused and sold young girls for sex acts described as “perverted in the extreme”, a court heard yesterday.
Not all are of Asian origin.
Sky News notes:
The trial is both highly sensitive, because of the nature of the allegations and the links with the Asian community. There have already been small protests by members of the English Defence League.
The whole community? In being sensitive, Sky has implicated all Asians. Blimey!
So. What do you notice about the case? That the accused are all non anglo-Saxon Christians? That they are all men? That the alleged victims were all white? That the children are not racist, allegedly, able to trust Asian men as they would white men? That the children were all let down by adults..?