The Foreign Office (FO) condemned British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s “discriminatory and xenophobic” remarks about Pakistani men on Wednesday, calling them “misleading.”
Braverman had previously stated that British-Pakistani men “hold cultural values at odds with British values.”
She spoke about “the predominance of British-Pakistani males who hold cultural values totally at odds with British values” during a Sky News interview about plans to combat child sexual abuse.
“[British-Pakistani men] see women in a demeaned, illegitimate way, and pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach to the way we behave,” Braverman said after learning that a Home Office report in 2020 concluded that most child sexual abuse gangs are made up of white men under the age of 30 and that there was insufficient evidence to suggest grooming gang members were disproportionately Asian or black.
Instead, Braverman cited reports from Rotherham, which was rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal in which five British-Pakistani men were found guilty of grooming, raping, and exploiting young girls.
The home secretary also cited Dame Louise Casey CB’s 2015 report, which ironically noted how the British-Pakistani community had been “harmed by association” in the scandal.
Her remarks were widely condemned as “inflammatory” and akin to starting “race wars” by political commentators and children’s charities.
In a press conference today, the FO spokesperson said that Braverman’s remarks painted a “highly misleading picture signaling the intent to target and treat British Pakistanis differently.”
According to Baloch, the UK home secretary “erroneously branded criminal behavior of some individuals as a reflection of the entire community.”
“She ignores systemic racism and ghettoization of communities, as well as the enormous cultural, economic, and political contributions that British Pakistanis continue to make in British society,” she added.
Concerns about anti-Muslim violence in India
Baloch also expressed Pakistan’s “deep concern” about India’s “alarming rise” in anti-Muslim violence.
During the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi, which commemorates the birth of the Hindu deity Ram, communal riots erupted in several states of the neighboring country last week.
More than a dozen people were injured in clashes between Hindus and Muslims in at least nine Indian states. According to local media, vehicles, houses, and shops were set on fire.
“The terrifying rise in Islamophobic and hateful acts against Muslims in India is a result of the pursuit of a majoritarian Hindutva agenda and anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric rife in Indian politics,” said the FO spokesperson today.
She also urged India to take “demonstrable steps” to stem the tide of Islamophobia, including protecting Muslims who practice their faith and holding those responsible accountable.