Members of grooming gangs should not be considered Muslim due to the un-Islamic nature of their vile actions, a high profile member of the community has claimed.
In an impassioned Newsnight debate on the role of the Islamic community after the heinous incidents, one-panel member protested at blame being levelled at British Muslims.
It follows a court hearing earlier this week which saw 17 men and one woman convicted of rape, sexual assault, human trafficking and inciting prostitution as the city of Newcastle was added to the growing list of UK towns blighted by the evil grooming gangs.
Muhbeen Hussain, founder of the group British Muslim Youth, claimed the sex gang incident was not a Muslim problem in an emotional speech which brought on criticism from controversial columnist Katie Hopkins.
Speaking on Newsnight Mr Hussain said: “Islam is a religion of all cultures.
“You find Japanese Muslims, you find Indonesian Muslims, in fact, the largest Muslim population in the world is in Indonesia, and to say somehow this is a Muslim problem?
“Let’s have a look at these grooming gangs.
“These grooming gangs were individuals that were using alcohol, using drugs and actually having ‘sessions’ exploiting these young girls.
“I don’t know what’s Islamic about drinking alcohol, drugs and exploiting young girls.”
Shortly after the show, Katie Hopkins tweeted: “Breaking, Muslims say Muslim grooming gangs are not a Muslim issue”
But Mr Hussein doubled down on his statements, replying: “I stand by my words. There is nothing Islamic about these vile criminals”
Filmmaker Mobeen Azhar, who also appeared on the show, said it was time for the Muslim community to address issues surrounding women, sex and sexuality.
In response to Mr Hussain, he said: “When you hear these stories emerging you wince when you hear Muslim names.
“And as a community, we are really uncomfortable and we are really used to reacting.
“We are really used to reacting and saying ‘this has nothing to do with us, this has nothing to do with our community’.
“And I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say ‘ this is a theological issue, they’re doing this because they are good Muslims’.
“Of course no one would say that. Having said that we have to acknowledge that sex and sexuality and gender and respect for the opposite gender are issues within certain parts of the diaspora.
“That’s the south Asian community, the Arab community and large sections of the Muslim community.
“These are things that we have to discuss within our communities and we’ve seen this pattern in Newcastle and in Rotherham and we can’t shy away from these issues.”