With the far-right ready and willing to believe anything and everything about Scary Muslims™, it goes without saying that linking Child Sexual Exploitation to followers of The Prophet is bound to inflame racial and indeed community tension. So when someone identifying as a CSA survivor comes forward, people across the spectrum pay attention.
Ella Cockbain - evidence based research challenged
Maajid Nawaz - not a disinterested party
And that is precisely why such people have to be positively identified: no, there should not be demands for those who feel they need to use a pseudonym to be unmasked, but what there has to be is certainty that the source is genuine - especially as, with the latest example, their claims are being used to denounce recent research.
A Twitter account in the name of Ella Hill has asserted “As a Rotherham grooming gang survivor I was devastated by the ‘academic’ paper produced by [Ella Cockbain] a couple of weeks ago, in which she and co-author Waquas [sic] Tufail … repeatedly deny the role of race and religion in the abuse we have had to endure”. Full thread can be seen HERE.
There was more. “The fact that these grooming gang ‘deniers’ are regarded as #CSE ‘experts’, and are advising senior Police, government, Home Office, schools and social services is absolutely shocking and disgraceful”. Lots of quote marks here.
Dr Cockbain is well known for casting doubt on the claims made by Quilliam - claims which the far-right like to cite as data. And now Maajid Nawaz was demanding a national inquiry, in response to Ella Hill. Barrister Simon Cox agreed - sort of. “There should be a national enquiry - into the 60,000 rapes each year. What it is in our culture that supports rape & why rapists aren’t deterred. Qulliam’s report made up a category and makes people ignore the largest group of rapists - white men”. He had rather more to say on the subject.
“Muslim men aren’t responsible for more rapes than the % of population that is Muslim men. But men are responsible for far more rapes than the % of population that is men”. Meanwhile, Nawaz was citing this claim from Ella Hill: “Unfortunately Dr Ella Cockbain’s ‘grooming-gang denial’ paper was trending at ‘Number 1’ in #Sociology last week, causing untold damage to grooming gang survivors”. More of those cautious quote marks.
Cox had a question for Nawaz. “Why are you retweeting this account Maajid?” In the meantime, one Tweeter responding to Ella Cockbain claimed “Perhaps you should read this - victims are appalled by what you have written”. Perhaps one victim. But it shows that we need to be certain that Ella Hill is genuine, however this is demonstrated.
As one responder has pointed out, “Ella Hill is a pseudonym. The Independent [which covered her claims] didn’t verify her story. There have been many accounts on social media purporting to be survivors who have been exposed as far right accounts. I’m not saying this is necessarily the case with ‘Ella Hill’ but please don’t be naive”. No-one is saying Ella Hill is not genuine. The problem is that we cannot yet be certain either way.
And if the likes of Maajid Nawaz are going to cite that account, then we must be certain that this is a genuine CSA survivor. There has been so much falsehood and misinformation peddled on the subject already - no-one is dismissing the claims, we just need to know.
Until we do know, no-one should be using that source to browbeat their opponents.
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