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Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Saturday, 12 May 2012 09:55 UK

Is grooming a race issue?

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The barrister defending the man described as the ringleader of the nine men jailed for up to 19 years for a horrific series of sexual assaults against young girls, told the court in Rochdale that the man believed he was being prosecuted because of his faith and race - a Muslim of Pakistani origin.

Is it racist to focus on the fact that nine Asian men were grooming white girls from outside their community? Are their cultural influences at play behind a series of crimes that have caused a great deal of shock because of the systematic and brutal way the girls were treated?

Shiban Akbar, of Bangladeshi origin, speaks for the Muslim Council of Britain and Alyas Karmini, an imam in Bradford, examine the controversial issue.


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