Police Muslims UK
The Muslim community in Rotherham are boycotting South Yorkshire Police for 'demonising' MuslimsGetty

The Muslim community of Rotherham have voted to "cut all lines of engagement and communication" with South Yorkshire Police in protest against police treatment in the aftermath of the report into Child Sex Exploitation (CSE) in the area.

The damning findings by Professor Alexis Jay, published in August 2014, revealed how more than 1,400 children suffered "horrific" abuse at the hands of paedophile gangs over a 16-year period, with a majority of the perpetrators being men of Pakistani origin.

The report highlighted a series of collective failures which resulted in the abuse suffered by the children going undetected, including how police wanted to "play down" the "ethnic dimensions" of the sexual exploitation, for fear of being labelled racist.

The British Muslim Youth have now voted to boycott South Yorkshire Police after accusing the force of "piggybacking" on the hostile attitude towards the Muslim community who have been under "perpetual attack and demonisation", since the report was published.

The boycott does not mean Muslims in Rotherham will no longer dial 999 in an emergency or stop reporting crimes, but rather will no longer provide support towards general policing and welfare of the Muslim community, including allowing officers to deliver talks or provide Muslim groups with training at a mosque.

A spokesperson for British Muslim Youth said: "Over the last fourteen months, the Muslim community has time and again condemned the wholesale CSE that was brought to light. Whether in the form of a community conference; or a rally held outside of Town Hall – we have called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted.

"However despite this we, the entire Muslim community, have been tarred with the same brush. There is a perception in the minds of many ordinary people that all Muslims are now potential child abusers, or that they have been involved in some sort of a cover-up. This is further perpetuated by 14 far-right demonstrations in our town that have zapped poison into our local community.

"In turn our women have been threatened with rape, children attacked, Mosques vandalised, men physically assaulted whilst out earning their livelihood and an elderly man being murdered. The marginalisation and dehumanisation of the Muslim community has been in full swing.

"During this whole period the Muslim community have been made prisoners in their own homes. South Yorkshire Police have piggybacked on this hostile environment towards the Muslim community by deflecting the attention of their own failures by scapegoating us."

Rotherham
More than 1,400 children and young people were abused by peadophile gangs in Rotherham for 16 yearsGetty

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation is one of those who are backing the boycott, he said: "South Yorkshire Police failed the victims of the groomers, none of the police have been held responsible for their complicity and now they have turned on the Pakistani community. You cannot hold the whole Pakistani community responsible for the groomers."

British Muslim Youth said that as well as boycotting South Yorkshire Police, any Muslim groups or institutions in Rotherham that "do not adhere to this policy of disengagement" will also be shunned by the Muslim community.

According to Tell Mama, a group which records and measures anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK, there have been 27 attacks on Muslims in Rotherham over the last 12 months.

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, commander for Rotherham's Local Policing Unit, said: "We are aware that there have been increased tensions in Rotherham since the publication of the Jay report last year.

"We have not had any formal approach from British Muslim Youth to address the issues raised in their meeting, which is disappointing because we are in regular contact with representatives from the Muslim community to discuss issues affecting Rotherham.

"I am making efforts to speak to the group urgently to resolve this matter, as disengagement potentially puts the community at risk if an individual or a section of society feels they cannot speak to police about issues that concern them.

"We appreciate the frustrations of the Rotherham public in relation to continued demonstrations, which do have an impact on the local economy and community cohesion. We have made representations to the Home Office and are seeking legal advice to see what our options are for future demonstrations.

"We work closely with the Muslim community and join them in their condemnation of all forms of child sexual exploitation. We accept that we have made mistakes in the past but we are absolutely committed to identifying those who commit this despicable crime and bringing them before the courts."