28/06/2013 Newsnight


After the Oxford abuse case, can the Imans offer a solution? The bling ring that stole from Hollywood celebs. And the Rohinngya of Burma. With Jeremy Paxman.

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Imams appeal to plaums to help prevent child abuse and sexual


exploitation. It is a crime of a twisted bunch of people who are


sick to the core, staying silent about T it is in itself a sin.


is hard to imagine the Church of England doing anything similar,


well intentioned though the appeal may be, is it an acknowledgement


that the community has a particular problem? The man who wrote the


sermon will be joining us. And then this... Paris Hilton is hosting a


party tonight. Where does she live, could we find a way in. Let's go to


Paris's, I want to rob. But it is more than robbery, it is greed, it


is stupidity and homeage. The The Bling Ring is based on a true story


of teenage worship of celebrity and fashion. We will be talking to the


writer of this tale of our times. We report from Burma about how a


year on from the fighting which drove them from their homes and


despite British aid, the Rohingya people are still desperate.


Prominent Muslims in Britain used today's weekly worship to try to


get a message through the mosques that certain sorts of behaviour,


notably criminal and sexual behaviour, were not acceptable. It


was claimed earlier that the message it be read out at 500


mosques. Organisations keen to promote good community relations


talked up the claim that the figure is a figment of someone's


imagination and in Oxford, where this week a gang was sentenced for


a series of child sex offences, various mosques refused to read it


out at all. So what did happen? you and me what's happened by those


criminals, those thugs is totally condemned. They have no space in


our religion, they have no space in our community. So those who think


that sex cannot be talked about in our mosques, and I need you to wake


up and smell the coffee. Of course you can, there are no topics in


Islam that is taboo. The message was hard-hitting, there must be


change now and Muslims need to act. Yesterday saw the jailing of seven


men from Oxford who plied girls with drugs and alcohol before


forcing them to perform sexual acts. As in other cases the abuse was


largely perpetrated by Asian men. Sometimes in full view of


bystanders. Today was an attempt by religious leaders to urge fellow


Muslims not to turn a blind eye but to confront the problems in their


midst. What has happened by those criminals and those thugs is


totally condemned. Staying silent about it, covering it up is in


itself a sin. But the reporting of it doesn't always happen, as an


anonymous contributor told a BBC Asian Network debate this morning.


How many people in your social circle knew that these guys were


bad guys? All of my friends knew that these guys were bad, to be


honest. Do you think there were people who actually genuinely knew


what they were doing? Yeah.And didn't say anything? Yeah, I think


so. I definitely think so. Why do you think that? The group of


friends is quite big and obviously as a group of friends boys together


they talk. So I'm a sure other people did know. So it wasn't a


secret? In the sense it wasn't hidden away. Everybody in the


community knows they were bad people. Today's sermons also linked


sex before marriage to abuse. Anyone who abuses children, anyone


who has sex outside marriage, anyone who exploits other people


for sexual favours for us it is all wrong, it is all sins. As far as we


are concerned we need to have a holistic and healthy approach to


this whole topic otherwise we are sleepwalking into self-destruction.


Islam was today described as suffering from a crisis in


masculinity. In which distorted views about women had been allowed


to develop unchallenged. So was the sermon a good idea? I'm very


impressed of the way he actually expressed the idea of sex and


sexuality among our youth and the fact that sometimes the community,


the Muslim community doesn't usually talk about sex. But he


actually expressed it, we are free to talk about it. To speak about it


but not in the mosque. I think it should be at a forum, go to the


schools, meetings and so on. And discuss it properly, but to come


into the mosque and what he's saying to me it is like, it is


tantermount to distortion. Street grooming is not something usually


spoken about in mosques during Friday prayers. Today many have


condemned it saying that it is wrong and society needs to work


harder to combat it. Some Muslims say it marks an important moment


and a shift in attitude in Islam, but for many others it is something


the religion has always spoken out against and ceremony Mondays like


this perhaps give the impression -- sermons like this perhaps give the


impression this is the first time it has been addressed. It seems it


assume that some how Muslims don't know this is a wicked and evil


crime. I mean from a very, very early age every Muslim is taught


that anything to do with sexual exploitation of children or alcohol


or drugs is, you know it is a sinful activity, and it is not


something that one should participate in. It is not clear how


many mosques delivered the sermon today. The language was certainly


bold, but there is no guarantee it will have reached those that need


to hear it most. We are joined now from Leeds by Alyas Karmani who


wrote today's sermon, and is also a Respect Councillor in Bradford. Can


you tell us roughly how many mosques read out this sermon?


we haven't got precise numbers but we know it is certainly in the


hundreds. If I can give you an example all present Imams were


urged to read the sermon today. That is just 200 Imams and we know


there were several hundred around the country. How many did read it


out? We have the got an exact number in that how many mosques did


it. We know there was overwhelming support. All the leading Islamic


umbrella organisations have endorsed the sermon, that is across


all denominations there is overwhelming support for the


project. This is a long-term project. Not just a one-off event.


The mosques who chose not to read it out, three out of four in Oxford


where the latest crimes were committed or the men were sentenced,


of the mosques which chose not to read it out, did they tell you why


they wouldn't read it out? I can understand in Oxford there are


sensitivites given the verdicts this week. But I think people have


to realign back on to the core issue. This is the fact that the


victims of this crime are children, 11, 12-year-olds whose lives have


been irrevocably destroyed. Sometimes we are forgetting that.


We can't be silent when it comes to child abuse, whatever community. If


anything the Koran is very explicit about the issues, about child


protection and protecting children from all kinds of abuse, whether it


is physical or sexual. That Muslims have to be proactive on this issue.


The mosque is the perfect place to have that discussion and the Friday


prayers is the perfect vehicle for that. Of course there has been some


criticisms. But I actually invite and I'm thinking it is really


positive that we are having this debate and this discussion and we


are all moving forward together. This is an issue that affects


everyone in society. It is not just a Muslim issue, that is really


important. We need to focus on the criminality, not faith, race and


culture. And Muslims are giving leadership and direction to many,


many other faith groups in society. A crime is a crime is a crime. Is


there a particular problem in your community? In certain sections of


the Muslim community due to organised crime groups, yes young


men from Muslim backgrounds then do get involved in this reprehensible


behaviour, but it is not unique of people of Muslim or south Asian


background, our work nationally identifies that the similar kind of


gangs operate in all cities and areas around the country, and


obviously the Children's Commissioner's report identified


that street grooming in inner city deprived areas as well as in leafy


suburbs, we all have to be vigilent in terms of identifying those


particular, that particular pattern. Your sermon was intended for a


particular community. Does that community have a particular


problem? Look I think you know we have to sub sume this into a bigger


issue. When we talk about crisis of masculinity, this isn't just around


Muslims, this is a global issue. How we are constructing masculinity


today in society. You know the World Health Organisation brought


out a report just recent low that identified one in three women


globally experienced sexual and physical violence, that is a global


epidemic that has been identified. It is the way that masculinity has


been constructed, based on extreme pat arky, misogyny, vie --


patriarchy, misogyny, violence, it creates a rape culture, we are


seeing it in many parts of the world. It is not unique to Muslims


or people of Muslim background. me be quite explicit, I'm not


suggesting that for a second. We know this happens in all sorts of


communities, I'm asking you because you spoke to your community today,


or tried to, what particular problems there are you think in


your community? I think there are particular problems in the


Pakistani community and in the Muslim community. As I said they


are related to organised crime groups that are involved in drug


supply, trafficking, kidnapping and pimping. I think in areas where


there is large sections of the Muslim community we know it that


this behaviour takes place as your report said people were aware of


abuse in Oxford, yet they didn't do anything about it. One of the


strong messages we put out is where we know that abuse is taking place


we have got to speak about it. We have got to challenge it and we


have got to work with the agencies to make sure those individuals,


those criminals are obviously dealt with. Let me put this very bluntly,


this is an accusation I have heard in the white community. That is


that some how there are elements of your community, who think if it is


done to a white girl it is some how less of a crime? Well absolutely,


that is absolutely wrong, and if that view exists again that is why


we needed today's sermon to completely challenge that. I began


today's sermon by saying Islam digfies all human beings. These are


not someone else's, and the "other", they are our society and our


children. They are as valuable as our own children. That is the


attitude and values we have to get across. The other thing is by


creating these stereotypes of particular victims there are other


victims that become invisible in the whole process, Asian girls,


black girls are other etnisties have been victimised by this


terrible crime as well, that is why we have to be vigilent in terms of


projecting children. Much Thank you very much indeed. Now that nice


Emma Watson, Hermione from Harry Potter told the world today she


only had eight payers of shoes. In the -- pairs of shoes. In the 21st


century that is like having a hair shirt and whipping yourself on the


saints day. A film has just opened in the states called The Bling Ring,


Emma Watson is one of its stars. But the story of a gang of vapid


spoilt teenagers who break into the homes of their heros is said to


have caught part of the zeitgeist of the trivial amoral times in


which we now live. In a moment I will be talking to the author who


has tried to tell the story of The Bling Ring. Before that here is the


shallowist man on television, Stephen Smith! Being famous for


being famous begins to look like a dig nationwide and hard-won


discipline when you see what comes next. Being famous for swiping the


clothes of the famous. I'm nick y, this is Sam. Oh my God it is Paris


Hilton. I think we wanted to be part of the lifestyle, the life


style that everybody kind of wants. But that is what happens when you


cross teenagers hooked on reality TV shows. Do you think we could


find a way in. With websites telling you where the stars live.


want to rob! Oh my God.That is a cute dress. Did you get a new


dress? It was one of those stranger than faction sales that hits the


zeitgeist at its sweet spot, the kids had been advertising their


criminal doings on Facebook, reality television and the media


itself, all wrapped up in a made for TV movie, that didn't exist yet


but it would. I watch a lot of the Kardashians and the Hills, and then


it was really trying to understand her psychology more than anything.


I thought the whole thing was so fascinating and contemporary the


story couldn't have happened ten years a I thought it was an


interesting story for a movie and said so much about our culture


today. I'm a firm believer in Karma. The teenage wannabes eventually


encountered the American judicial process in all its majesty, arrest,


charges, TV interviews. She went off the deepend. Please, this is my


interview! Fame became synonymous with wealth, success, popularity,


self-validation, and now the new generation, my teenage cousins all


want to be famous and everybody thinks they can be famous, and with


the rise of celebrities who are famous for being famous, like Paris


Hilton, there is no reason why these people can't think they can


be. Nancy Jo, this is Alexis calling. Sure enough one of The


Bling Ring went on to have a reality TV moment, calling the


journalist, Nancy Jo Sales to correct her on vital points of fact.


Like saying I four six-inch heels from Loubtin, and my tweed shirt, I


wore four-inch heels. Every time you do that I have to re-record it.


Fading star Norma Desmond said she's still back and the movies


have got small, now the stars are small. At least one of The Bling


Ring gang gets it. Paris Hilton is famous for what, a sex tape? The


values and stuff America has is so wrong, people should focus on


politics and inventors and the important things. It shouldn't be


celebrity and people famous for doing things that isn't really


important and not helping society. Damn that is perfect, check it out.


Very sportingly Paris Hilton let film makers shoot in the very


boudoir where the bling ringers were light fringeered. She was


furious after the first few burglaries when she finally noticed


her stuff was missing. I live in a gated community, that wasn't enough,


so now I have set up laser systems everywhere and security cameras and


24-hour guards I'm very safe now. No more kids breaking in. I think


that also says a lot that these people get so much free stuff that


you can just rob them and they won't even notice. The only way the


celebrities started to notice is when the teenagers got carried away


and would make a mess in the houses and take everything in the closets.


Everything about this story reflects pretty poorly on America.


You can't steal her dog. But he likes me! We're joined now from New


York by Nancy Jo Sales, the Vanity Fair journalist who wrote about


those wannabe celebrities and has written the book The Bling Ring and


was the recipient of the absurd phone call of complaint. What do


you think these kids were doing, were they trying to harm their hero


or paying them homeage? I think they wanted their stuff! They


wanted to live the lifestyle of these celebrities and that involved


having the things that the celebrities had. So they were in a


sense paying them homeage. This is a belief that some how if you d


homeage, this is a belief that if you wear certain clothes you some


how become a celebrity, what? are growing up in an age when


celebrity news, if you can call it that, has really exploded. We have


blogs 24- 7 and magazines, they are surrounded by images of celebrities


all the time. There is a value promoted by celebrity culture


saying this is great, this is the lifestyle we should all want to


live. You quoted in the piece that being said to me in my book. So I


think that where as every kid doesn't walk into a house and steal


their stuff. I think that not just in America, but I think in the


globalised celebrity culture that we do have, I think a lot of kids


are unhelpfully feeling these are things I must have in order to live


a good life. Why do you think they feel that. What is the void that it


some how would fill for them? I think that these things are


glamorised. We live in a very different time than say when I was


growing up and there were different values being promoted by television


shows and by movies. Now these kids have grown up with shows promoting


wealth and a luxury lifestyle and celebrity Gossip Girl, Entourage


The Hills, even shows for younger children, Hannah Montana seems to


glamorise the celebrity lifestyle being really great and we should


all want that. This is a real shift in our values that is really


affecting kids. There have always been celebrities, it didn't matter


once upon a time they were generals and other times they were sports


figures. Sometimes they were industrialists or other wealthy


figures. But there is a difference here in the sort of person who


becomes a celebrity, isn't there? think there is a bunch of


differences, one is that I just spoke about is the amount of


exposure to the stuff, to celebrity culture, and then I think there is


also a difference, as you say, in who becomes a celebrity. How the


celebrity and not celebrity. I mean people now are self-promoting on


Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all these different places,


that used to be the privvy of celebrities to promote your image


all the time. This is now what regular people are doing. With


reality TV there is this idea that anybody can become a celebrity. The


most successful shows on television ever are the celebrity contestant


shows like The Voice and American Idol, these are the most popular


shows in television history where you are watching fame happen in


real-time. People are absolutely fascinated. By this idea that this


could happen to me. There is a sort of circularity to it isn't there?


There certainly was in The Bling Ring story. These were kids who


wanted to be famous and idolise these other, not really much older


than kid like Paris and Lindsay who also really desperately wanted to


be famous, and had a lot of the same problems and the same lives


that these kids did. When I started to research the book I realised


there was a weird mirroring between the victims and the robbers. They


had a in common, actually. I said earlier this is a sort of tale of


our times, but I wonder actual le if we are already getting slightly


beyond the sort of world that is pictured in The Bling Ring, it is


almost yesterday's story. Is there any sign of that? I don't think so.


I think that Paris and Lindsay are the names connected with the story.


This only happened three years ago. But I think if you are talking


about celebrity culture it is only becoming more a part of our lives


in the way that we all are sort of engaged in a celebrification of


ourselves all the time. I don't think my book or movie sells it at


all, these are things we need to talk about and I'm glad we are


talking about. Thank you very much indeed. Now to


Burma which in moving out of military rule with a terrible human


rights reputation has been generally seen as earning the right


to readmission to the community of nations. But since then ethnic


tensions have exploded in various places, especially in the south of


the country. The British have been running an overseas aid programme


to try to help many of the Rohingya people who are driven from their


homes in their fight. They are Muslims driven out by Buddhists.


And a year on, they are still displaced. The camps that sprang up


across this water-logged landscape a year ago are still there. As are


the people who fled to them, nearly all of them Rohingya Muslims. Last


year's sectarian fighting has a long history behind it. A legacy of


fear and discrimination that smoldered and of Burma's military


Governments. Many of the Buddhists, the majority are determined to


drive out the Rohingya, saying they don't belong. So they have been


banished to the margins. Unwanted, unrecognised. At least the official


camps are getting help. The International Development Minister


Alan Duncan came last week to see how British aid is being spent and


to assess the prospects of reconciliation. The Rohingya were


quite clear about what they would like. TRANSLATION: We just want to


return to our homes. We want our old lives back. But the Burmese


authorities are just as clear that this won't happen. Strict


segregation, they say, is the safest option. It is a profoundly


unequal segregation, that denies only the Rohingya's freedom of


movement. But the Government argues that pressure from local Buddhists


has forced its hand. It is very easy to say the Government should


let as say give them citizenship, or treat them absolutely equally,


the trouble is we are looking at an indigenous Burmese population who,


I think, have an attitude which is going to take a long time to


overcome. They have got a sense of identity that doesn't easily


accommodate in comers, even though they have been here for generations.


The state capital is now an almost exclusively Buddhist town.


Rohingyas need permission to come here, few would dare any way. In


the town's main gym I watched young men training. Some are hoping to


represent their country when it hosts this year's south-east Asian


games. Another milestone on Burma's journey away from its former


isolation. But it is not a jouorny they are willing to share with


their one-time -- journey they are willing to share with their one-


time Muslim neighbours. TRANSLATION: It is not possible to


live with them, we don't want to. They invaded our country. It is not


just me saying this, if you ask any rakine Buddhist, they would say the


same thing. These are the last Rohingyas living inside the town,


they are barred from leaving so they have no access to work, food


or medical treatment almost. They are in fact imprisoned in what has


become a Rohingya ghetto. We were the first foreigners allowed into


the town for several weeks. And those who do get out cannot come


back. This man is one of the most outspoken Rohingya leaders. A I met


him last year when still living in the ghetto. But after being


arrested in February he fled here to the outskirts of town. Nearly


five months I was separated from my family. That is your wife?Also in


the ghetto. So I'm very sorrowful because my own father is 95 years


old. So I want to meet him, you know. You didn't get permission?I


didn't get permission from the security forces. We travelled two


hours north of the town to see how more isolated Muslim communities


are coping. Here this ter greatly out-- here they are greatly


outnumbered by rakine Buddhists and the tension has increased to


violence. This is the last of a ring of Buddhist villages that


completely surround a single Muslim community, it is just ahead of us


and it leaves the Muslims there completely isolated, cut off and


unable to move. The Rohingyas who live here say their village dates


back 200 years. They are not, they insist, illegal Bengali immigrant,


as most Burmese buddists believe. Ali has been designated the


village's medical expert, he's not a doctor. He claimed how the


clashes last year had affected his commune toe. They lost all their


livestock, he said, and their boats. And now they can't travel, even to


reach a clinic or hospital. 18- year-old Morianne has been


seriously ill sense the birth of had her son six months ago. Her


house was burnt down in the violence and her husband is among


170 men from the village who have been imprisoned since the clashes.


TRANSLATION: Please someone help cure me from this pain, I have no


husband, no money, no-one to care for me.


Among the many difficulty these villagers face was the one that all


Rohingyas complain about, their lack of citizenship. TRANSLATION:


This is so important for us because without proper ID kartdz we can't


go anywhere, not even -- cards we can't go anywhere, not even in our


own states. We have been given white ID cards but with those we


get arrested. There are Buddhists too who suffered last year, who


lost their homes. Their numbers are small, the Government has built


solid new houses for them to move in to in time for the rainy season.


It is in stark contrast to the way the displaced Rohingyas, more than


130,000 of them still have to live. An injustice that must cast doubt


on the hopes of a better future for this country.


Now the Arctic Monkeys, like many of you are waiting for me to shut


up so they can start at Glastonbury, we will leave you with something


more ethereal. Some of the entrance in the royal observe trees


Astronomer of the Year. -- some of the entries for the Royal


Observatory's Astronomer of the More cloud than sunshine it has to


More cloud than sunshine it has to be said on Saturday. Patchy light


rain into Scotland and drizzle into the North West of England and Wales


too. Conditions will improve in Northern Ireland but any sunshine


will be late in the day. The rain in Scotland will push to eastern


areas of the country. We could see low cloud and drizzle coming into


the North West of England. Chiefly the Cumbrian fells and always


brighter and that bit warmer to the east of the Pennines, in East


Anglia we will see a little sunshine at times, it will feel


pleasant, 21 not out of the question, it should be dry at


Wimbledon as well. We will see a little sunshine now and again in


the south west of England, there will be times where we will have


low cloud, drizzle for western parts of Wales later on in the day.


Brighter skies remaining towards the east. If we look elsewhere


across Europe it has been rather cool across central Europe, maybe


warming up a touch for our city forecasts by the end of the weekend.


The hot weather has been across Spain and Portugal and likely to


remain there. 38 degrees in Lisbon. We will warm up on Sunday, not as


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