in category Sociology

Is Islam the cause of sexual grooming crimes in the UK?

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In a Nutshell:
Regular reports on "Asian Grooming Gangs" by UK media have stirred up anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. Arguing Islam is why some Muslims commit crimes is simply unpersuasive and unsubstantiated.

So why is this claim being made?

Firstly, for American readers, the term "Asians" in the statistics referenced below refer to those from the Indian Sub-continent.

Selectivist research and new arbitrary definitions of various groups of crimes (for instance street grooming) claim Asians and Muslims make up the majority of criminals in sexual group crimes involving minors.

Statistics allegedly show crimes committed by paedophiles online targeting under-11 minors who are almost all "White English" are ignored. This has been pointed out and critiqued by many researchers [1].

This then leads to desired predetermined ends, Islam as causal to Asian Muslim men grooming young non-Muslim women, typically white, through alcohol, drugs and fornication, often passing them around between friends.

It is then alleged Islam commands Muslim men to sexually assault white women. I'll now consider if the statistics provide evidence for such claims.

Assessing the Statistics
If Islam compels Muslims to commit more crimes than others, the statistics should reflect Muslims as over-represented in sexual offences.

Reviewing the statistics reported in the UK population census (2011):

The UK population comprises: 87% White 8% Asian

Government statistics published by the Ministry of Justice (2018):

Convictions for all crimes: 82% White 5% Asian

Convicted and sentenced:

Sexual offences: 81% White 9% Asian

Violence against a person: 85% White 5% Asian

Those sentenced with prison custody:

Violence against a person 83% White 5.5% Asian

Sexual offences: 81% White 8.6% Asian

The statistical review does not show Asians commit more crimes than Whites, in fact Asians appear underrepresented and much less likely to commit violence against others.


1) Whilst all Asians in the UK are not Muslims, it is possible Muslims are responsible for more crimes

Most Asians are Muslims in the UK however the statistics do not show a disproportionality one would expect to see.

Muslim Asians proportionately commit the same or less crime than their white non-Muslim counterparts.

2) Why do Muslims comprise 15% of the prison population?

Prison conversions to Islam is well-documented, a multivariate explanation would suggest there would be other reasons, such as defendants with Islamic sounding names receiving more severe sentences when compared to other demographics. The US for instance shows African Americans receive more severe sentencing than their white American counterparts.

In 2002, prior to the War on Terror and wars in Muslim countries, the percentage of Muslims in prison was 8%, following which it has grown to 15%.Secondly, in the UK the stats report "Black or Black British" to be almost three times more represented in prisons than exist in the population at large.

Few would argue there to be an innateness in blacks causing crimes or a propensity for crime. It is equally absurd to claim there is something innate in Islam or Muslims.

A better explanation is economic in nature, disenfranchisement due to poverty. There is often lower public spending in areas of ethnic majorities. The British Union of Fascists historically argued Jewish areas in East London were causal to a disproportionate volume of crimes. The fascist tactics blamed Judaism whilst the true causes were found to relate to poverty.

3) Why don't we see similar patterns amongst Sikhs and Hindus in Grooming gangs?

In the UK there are more Pakistanis and Bangladeshis than Sikh or Hindu Indians. Immigrants from the subcontinent came from different socio-economic backgrounds. Most Hindus and Sikhs were allowed into the country following WW2 help rebuilding efforts. They came from the relatively affluent and professional classes [3] whilst early Muslim migrants were from poorer, less educated rural areas. Poverty and lack of education has been short to correlate with crime.

There are over 3 million Muslims living in the USA, more affluent and accomplished than UK Muslims, with grooming gangs are virtually unheard of.

4) Given Muslims comprise around 4-5% of UK population, excluding women and children it is around 1.5% making crime statistics alarming

The UK population comprises 41% males who are above the age of 15. Males however make up around 95% of the prison population and the majority of individuals who commit sexual crimes. To claim Muslim men are somehow more disproportionately represented in crime motivated by Islam makes no sense.


Conspiracy theories claiming whatever a Muslim does is because they are Muslim is mistaken. It would be absurd to claim Catholicism is why priests commit child sexual abuse. Arguing Islam is why some Muslims commit crimes is simply unpersuasive and unsubstantiated.


[1] https://medium.com/@Reg_Left_Media/grooming-gangs-quilliam-the-myth-of-the-84-percent-cc834b57fcf3

[2] https://granger.com/results.asp?inline=true&image=0090094

[3] Statistics on Crime & Race, Ministry of Justice https://data.gov.uk/.../f3c612d5-aed4-4764-937b-59dac20185fc

[4] https://www.demos.co.uk/blog/why-are-british-indians-more-successful-than-pakistanis/

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