A group of healthcare professionals have demanded that England’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman issue an apology to British Pakistanis for levelling baseless accusations of racism, Islamophobia and other falsehoods against them, endangering their safety in the UK, Murtaza Ali Shah has reported for Geo.

Several healthcare organizations, comprising a significant number of healthcare professionals from diverse backgrounds, have appealed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to acknowledge the unfounded and discriminatory accusations made by the Home Secretary, connecting Pakistanis to sexual grooming gangs, despite contradicting evidence from the government.

During an interview with Sky News last week, Braverman claimed that British Pakistani men were involved in child abuse rings or networks that specifically targeted vulnerable white English girls.

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“(We see) a practice whereby vulnerable white English girls – sometimes in care, sometimes in challenging circumstances – being pursued, raped, drugged, and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men, who work in child abuse rings or networks,” Braverman said while speaking to the news channel.

These professionals have cited a Home Office-commissioned report from 2020, which stated that “research has shown that white individuals are the most common perpetrators of group-based child sexual exploitation,” and that it could not be determined that any specific ethnic group was significantly overrepresented.

The letter further states, “We demand an apology from the Home Secretary and an honest commitment to meaningfully tackling this vital issue which has ruined the lives of thousands of young people. We must also remind the Home Secretary that words have consequences; in 2014, Boris Johnson’s comments on women in niqabs resembling letterboxes directly resulted in a 375% increase in hate crimes targeting Muslim women.”

“Language that empowers racist hate crime has no place in modern British society. We urge the Home Secretary to reflect on her grossly irresponsible framing of this complex and serious issue and commit to working with members from all communities to address the urgent issue of CSE together. A retraction of her statement and apology is sought.”

Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign office also criticised Suella Braverman for “discriminatory and xenophobic” comments.