A sermon going out to congregations in mosques today has warned that a "major challenge" will be created for the Muslim community in the wake of the sentencing of a paedophile ring made up of seven Asian men and the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
The sermon will also focus on the responsibility placed on Muslims to ensure they do all they can to safeguard children and vulnerable people in their communities.
Today I will speak to you about the subject of 'Sexual Grooming' that has been in the news a lot recently with many cases involving mainly men of Pakistani/South Asian background in Derby, Rochdale, Telford, Oxford and West Yorkshire who have been convicted of this wicked and evil crime. Unfortunately there are many other such cases pending which will mean that this issue will continue to be in the headlines for some time to come.
The combination of publicity from a number of these cases hitting the headlines in a short space of time and the fallout from the Woolwich case will create a major challenge for the Muslim community.
We wholeheartedly condemn the disgraceful actions of those involved in these cases and welcome the convictions in the cases that have been through the courts.
We wish to show our support for the victims (madhloom) of this terrible crime, many of whom are innocent children and we wish to affirm that Islam as a religion of mercy and compassion places a strong obligation on safeguarding and protecting the weak and vulnerable from oppression (dhulm) and abuse, particularly of women and children."
Around 500 mosques across Britain will deliver sermons today to hundreds of thousands of Muslims condemning street grooming by gangs. Imams and religious leaders will address congregations to highlight how the Koran condemns all forms of sexual indecency.
The campaign has been organised by Together Against Grooming, an organisation set up to tackle street grooming by gangs.
We have been horrified by the details that have emerged from recent court cases and as Muslims we feel a natural responsibility to condemn and tackle this crime.
Sexual grooming and child abuse afflicts all sections of society and is perpetrated by people of all ethnic groups.
The Koran and traditions of our Prophet exhort us to act against evil and injustice, and create just societies. This is the start of what will be a nationwide project in which we seek to work with others to eradicate this practice from all communities.
We wish to show our support for the victims (madhloom) of this terrible crime, many of whom are innocent children and we wish to affirm that Islam as a religion of mercy and compassion places a strong obligation on safeguarding and protecting the weak and vulnerable from oppression (dhulm) and abuse particularly of women and children.
We must work towards preventing such actions from occurring in the future as this action is reprehensible and forbidden according to the teachings of Islam.