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Cherchez le musulman
In the school playground of my childhood, there was the odd fight, but I don't remember any female genital mutilation or honour killing. So I thought there was something a little odd about the latest Government initiative to curb domestic violence with lessons in schools. And sure enough, it is a case of Don't Mention the Muslims. From The Telegraph:
As part of a new strategy to tackle domestic abuse, the Government intends to introduce mandatory classroom instruction in gender equality and violence against women and girls. Children will be told from the age of five that it is wrong to hit girls (though most youngsters of that age would already know, we hope, that it is wrong to hit anybody). Teachers will be swamped with yet more paperwork explaining how to tackle "sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying", whatever that might be.
What lies behind this latest attempt to consign the concept of childhood to the wastepaper bin? While domestic violence is certainly an appalling problem, the evidence suggests that it is not a widespread one. According to the British Crime Survey, one million women are involved in an incident of domestic violence every year, or roughly one in 30. We do not intend to downplay the issue, for no level of domestic abuse is acceptable, but this scarcely warrants an elaborate new national strategy that many would see as little more than statist social engineering, intended to usurp the role of the family.
No, the Government's real motive lies hidden in some innocuous acronyms. In the strategy document supporting the policy, it claims that 750,000 children a year witness incidents of domestic violence, but then, rather cryptically, continues: "Girls may also be subjected to FGM, forced marriage, HBV and sexual abuse or exploitation." FGM refers to "female genital mutilation" and HBV to "honour-based violence". In other words, we are talking about ethnic-minority communities. And indeed, there is powerful evidence that while domestic violence occurs among all colours, creeds and social classes, it may be more prevalent and acute among ethnic-minority families.
The Government, obsessed as ever with political correctness – the new policy is, after all, part of Harriet Harman's "equality agenda" – finds itself incapable of spelling that out, and therefore of addressing the issue properly. Refuge, the domestic violence charity, said yesterday that the "particular needs" of abused women from ethnic minority backgrounds must be addressed, while the Refugee Council said there was "nothing in this strategy" to help refugee women who are "disproportionately likely to be affected by rape and sexual violence".
Instead of tackling a particular problem in particular communities, this misguided policy risks, in the words of one family campaigner, turning children into "confused mini-adults from the age of five to nine". The Government should focus its energies on those areas where these problems are most widespread, and most extreme.
"Ethnic minority backgrounds" be buggered; we're talking about Muslims here. And, since wife-beating, honour killing and FGM are all sanctioned by Islam, expect to hear cries of "Islamophobia".