Whenever protests are made about claims that as much as 90% of sexual exploitation by so-called “grooming gangs” is attributable to Asian men - a claim that all too often is re-framed as being down to “Pakistani [heritage] Muslims” - the inevitable fall-back is to quote research by the Quilliam Foundation. But after recent mis-steps by co-founder Maajid Nawaz, it should surprise no-one that their research is now considered suspect.
Indeed, Dr Ella Cockbain, who has literally written the book on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), has now considered the Quilliam material and passed severely adverse comment upon it. Following LBC host Matthew Stadlen’s comment “I challenged Quilliam about their report and they stand by it”, she set out exactly why she had concluded thus.
“Any time @MatthewStadlen (or another journalist) would like, I’d be happy to go on air with @MaajidNawaz or another @QuilliamOrg representative to discuss the merits of this ‘evidence-based’ report. We can talk about science: definitions, sampling, samples, validity & inference”. That means she knows her statistics, too. And there was more.
“If I were marking @QuilliamOrg ‘s ‘research’ as a student assignment, I’d fail it twice if I could. I wouldn’t normally be so harsh but the sheer intellectual dishonesty & irresponsibility of releasing this tripe badged as ‘evidence’ means I’m not holding back”.
Ouch! Why so? Hadn’t she used the “83%” figure herself? Well … “I made the sources & their limitations explicit & specifically underlined that was incomplete picture & not generalisable. The 83% figure was, & still is, true - but as stated there came from five cases only & mustn't be generalised … Yep, that 83% figure (s)he's talking about is where I'm discussing our research: five major cases. Not the basis for generalisation”.
And the victims? “Some key messages from my presentation @ukhomeoffice today about my research on six so-callled ‘grooming gangs’. 1) Crimes horrific but offenders not very sophisticated or organised (opportunism key); 2) No evidence white girls deliberately targeted (& many victims were BME)”. No evidence white girls deliberately targeted.
As to the figures that Quilliam, Nawaz, and many others have been casting around for some months now, Dr Cockbain has yet worse news: “No reliable stats on ‘grooming gangs’ exist - but we need to ask what are we trying to measure & why … Simplistic ‘cultural’ (racial) explanations rarely explain much”. Let’s pick the bones out of that.
1 Quilliam’s claims that 83% of “grooming gang” CSE is done by Asian men is not supported by the available evidence, and is most likely totally false.
2 There is no evidence these gangs deliberately targeted white girls.
3 Quilliam has failed even to grasp basic statistical concepts.
4 This is a very small subset of CSE and to ignore the rest suggests there is an agenda at work here, especially the now disproven “83% Asian men” claim.
Instead of being evasive, Maajid Nawaz should now come forward and discuss the issue with professionals like Dr Cockbain. Ducking such a discussion further leads to the inevitable conclusion that Nawaz does not have confidence in his own research.
Until such time as Maajid Nawaz, or any of his colleagues, bring forward research to stand up their claims, in the light of what Dr Cockbain has told, they should not be relied upon as having any evidential value whatsoever. In other words, they are worthless.
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