Rape: is it a cultural problem ?

A crime that dare not speak its name ?

This article is best read in conjunction with the preceding topic Norway, Rape and Multi-culturalism”

by Robert Whiston FRSA  Jan 11th 2011

Women’s rights campaigners fall ominously silent just when you want them not to. Why are they not actively protecting their Norwegian ‘sisters’ from this alleged Islamic oppression ? Is it because they too want to preserve their ‘minority’ status and maintain the Great Satan as an epithet fit only for their own nationals ? Or is it because their twisted doctrine sees patriarchy only in terms of white males regardless of nationality ?

 Norwegians awoke in 2001 to find the number of rapes in their country of 4 million had unexpectedly increased. In the capital city, Oslo, the ratio of rapes to size population was 6 times that of New York.

Apart from Norway’s Minister of Justice,  Odd Einar Dørum ( 2001 to 2005), mentioning the problem in 2001 reportedly all references to the issue have since quietly faded away.

The reason offered for this increase at the time was that 23.8% of the population in the Oslo area (where most rapes happened) have foreign background, and someone had calculated that ‘a foreigner’ is 8.55 times more likely to commit a rape crime.

Can this be true ?

Two of Norway’s three largest newspapers (the Aftenposten and Dagbladet), initially covered the story alleging that most of those charged with rape involved an immigrant perpetrator but both newspapers have subsequently lost interest.

Fig 1.

More recently figures show that 72.8% of rapists (in 2007) had what Norwegians term a “foreign background” – this compares with  63.2% of rapists in 2004, and 53% in 2001.

The inference seems to be that most offenders are immigrant Muslims with men of African background allegedly increasing their “share” of rapes from 10% in 2001, 19.1% in 2004 and now 30.5% in 2007. [1]

Rape victims who had Norwegian backgrounds numbered 73% in 2007 – presumably these were indigenous Norwegians ? Fig 1 (above) shows the steady increase in reported rapes since 1993 to 2005 per 100,000 of the population.

Ten years later and politics in Britain finally feels itself bold enough to ask the same question;

  • “Why are non-Europeans disproportionately more engaged in these sorts of sex abuses and crimes ?”

Even raising the subject on tippy toes stirs up a hornets nest amongst the righteous in the media (Jan 8th 20111). But for the redeeming feature of the topic being broached by Jack Straw MP, consequent upon a particularly nasty trial itemising systematic rape of white teenage girls by Pakistani men, anyone else would have been castigated as a far right fascist (see Appendix A).

In Norway this same question has been smouldering for 10 years and one wonders why Women’s Rights campaigners have been so silent on the issue ?

Fig 2.

Translating the data into graph format it can be seen that overall sex-related offences declined from a high in 1996 (approx 3,500) to a trough in 2000-01 of approx 2,700. In the corresponding years rapes rose from around 490 to just over 500 (Fig 2, left).

The claim that ‘a foreigner is 8.55 times more likely to commit a rape crime’ is examined in Fig 3 (below) which displays the percentage of Muslims in each of Norway’s counties. At over 7% Oslo is by far the most favoured city in which Muslims chose to settle down. However, Muslims is a very generic term applying to a variety of nationalities.

Statistics Norway reported in Jan 1st 2010 that it played host nation to immigrants from 216 countries most were in Oslo. Of the capital’s 587 000 inhabitants, 160 500 (which is 27%), were immigrants or were Norwegian-born to immigrant parents.[2]

The effect on Norway’s demographics is startling, if not worrying. In Fig 3 the number of inhabitant from Nordic countries compared with those from Western Europe (shaded in red), Eastern Europe (shaded in blue), and ‘Asia, Turkey, Africa’ (shaded in grey). Asia and Africa outnumber the combined totals of all other groups

Fig 3.

Though not stated in official statistics, this last category is likely to be the only one containing a substantial proportion of Muslims referred to in Norwegian newspapers.

It is very clear that immigrants from Nordic countries are at a numerical standstill and the only other immigrant impetus of note is from Eastern Europe, eg Poland, Bulgaria etc, which Statistics Norway notes is a sector which does not stay very long.

Statistics Norway also provides data on what this means in terms of percentages (see Fig 4, below). Of the population of Oslo in 2010, 27 % were immigrants of born in immigrant parents with 20% coming from Africa, Asia, Latin America etc. only about 8% of immigrants came from the EU, New Zealand, America and Australia.

Fig 4.

In terms of number of offenders and their ages, Fig 5, below, details sex offences for 2005. There were a total of 84,701 criminal offences in 2005 of which only 1,051 had a sexual content.

Fig 5.

Out of these 1,051 offences (shown in red) there were 122 reported rapes – with the age group most likely to offend being men aged 30 -39 (both for general sexual violations and specifically rape and attempted rape [shown in blue]).

Men committed 70,517 of the 84,701 crimes and women 14,184. In the specific area of crimes with a sexual connotation, men committed 1, 029 offences and women 22. Within that sub-set men committed 121 rapes and women, just one.

In recent years, immigration has accounted for more than half of Norway’s population growth. According to Statistic Norway (SSB), a record 61,200 immigrants arrived in the country in 2007. This is 35% more than 2006. At the beginning of 2010, there were 552,313 persons in Norway with an immigrant background (i.e. immigrants, or born of immigrant parents), comprising 11.4% of the total population. 210,725 were from Western countries (EU/EFTA, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and 341,588 were from other countries.

The largest immigrant groups by country of origin, in order of size, are Poles, Swedes, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Somalis, Germans, Vietnamese, and Danes.

Norwegians of Pakistani descent

This is the largest visible minority group in Norway, and totalling 31,000 is the largest Muslim grouping (see Fig 6). Almost all live in or around Oslo.

Fig 6.

The Iraqi immigrant population has shown a large increase in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, there was the same influx of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe which Britain experienced.

Muslims in Norway are a very fragmented group, coming from many different backgrounds according to Ms. Kari Vogt (Associate Professor of the History of Religions, University of Oslo).  [3]  She ‘estimated’ in 2000 that there were about 500 Norwegian converts to Islam. The rest are mostly first or second generation immigrants from a number of countries. The largest immigrant communities from Muslim countries in Norway are from Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia.

Simmering Problem

As a by-product of multi-culturalism has an unhealthy atmosphere been allowed to build-up ? Has multi-culturalism been used to deliberately suppress public debate and the publication of criminal acts and trends ? In official circles the subject is never mentioned and save for the odd newspaper story the extent is ignored and the concern discounted. 


The disparities in immigrant settlement patterns within Norway and rape offences would seem to have some foundation (see Fig 7 left). Most county areas have Muslim concentrations of less than 1% and some have only a 1% or 2% Muslim population. Oslo is alone in having over 7% (and by now, over 8%).


France has long had a large Muslim contingent in its society (remnants of its connections with Algeria, Tunisia, Syria etc.). In June 2005 a report by IslamOnline.net noted the phenomenon of around 70% of prisoners in French jails being of the Islamic persuasion. At the time chaplains and sociologists put the blame on marginalisation, high levels of poverty and unemployment rates to be found among the Muslim minority (see Mamdo Sango, a Muslim chaplain and Iranian-French researcher Farhad Khosrokhavar).

Ethnicity-based censuses are as rigorously prohibited in French jails as pork is to Muslims so no official light is being shed on this problem and ‘private’ research is all that is available. [4] 


According to Swedish Radio, statistics from Sweden’s National Council for Crime Prevention show that the number of reported rapes against children has nearly doubled in the ten years prior to 2004. In 1995 there were 258 rapes against children under the age of 15 but there were 467 such rapes in 2004. One headline case involved a 13 year old girl from Motala who was said to have been subjected to a group rape by four Kurdish Muslim men. She was raped for hours and they took photographs of the event.

In common with Norway, the past few decades have seen a massive influx of immigration into Sweden which has changed the character of Sweden’s major cities, as well as challenged the economic viability of its ‘welfare state’. In 1970 Sweden had the fourth highest GDP per capita among developed countries with income about 6% above the OECD average. By 1997 it was at fifteenth place with an average GDP per capita 14% below average.


The number of rape charges per capita in Malmö is 5 – 6 times that of Copenhagen. Although Copenhagen is a larger city than Malmö the percentage of immigrants is much lower.  According to some estimates, in less than 10 years time Malmö will have a Muslim majority.


So we are left with an enigma. If rape is not a culturally determined  crime, what role does culture and religion play in the incidence of rape ? Simply having contempt for one’s victim might be the common denominator between rape in immigrant free societies and rape where immigrants are heavily represented. There is an undecurrent of religious supremacy displayed by Islamic fundamentalists who appear to despise all other religions.

The fate of hundreds of Filipina girls who moves to the Middle East in order to earn a living in a ‘dometic’ role is well documented. The abuse and degradation they suffer belongs more to the slavers of the 18th century than it does to UN member of the 21st century. The Philippine Embassy is intimidated into silence by the sheer economic dominance of the oil rich countries in the Middle East.

To make minorities feel welcomed and ‘included’, multi-cultrualism has gifted minorities a voice; this ‘sanctioned by the state’ voice has given minorities power. That small degree of power has given rise to autonomy and political clout where political activism can alter government policies.

There seem to be no easy answers.

Appendix A

Daily Telegraph (London) 8th Jan 2011 

Pakistani men see white girls as ‘easy meat’, claims Jack Straw

Former Home Secretary Jack Straw has accused some Pakistani men in Britain of seeing young white women as “easy meat” for sexual abuse.


The Blackburn MP has called on the Pakistani community to be “more open” about the issue after describing about a “specific problem” involving young Pakistani men’s attitudes towards white girls.

He was speaking after two Asian men were jailed after subjecting a series of vulnerable girls to rapes and sexual assaults.

Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, was jailed for a minimum of 11 years at Nottingham Crown Court and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28, was told he must serve at least eight years before being considered for release.

The men were the ring leaders of a gang that befriended girls aged from 12 to 18 in the Derby area and groomed them for sex.

Thirteen men were charged in relation to Operation Retriever, which Derbyshire Police set up, and 11 stood trial charged with offences relating to 26 alleged victims. Out of the original 13, a total of nine were convicted of sexual offences.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Mr Straw said:

  • “Pakistanis, let’s be clear, are not the only people who commit sexual offences, and overwhelmingly the sex offenders’ wings of prisons are full of white sex offenders.
  • “But there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men … who target vulnerable young white girls.
  • “We need to get the Pakistani community to think much more clearly about why this is going on and to be more open about the problems that are leading to a number of Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way.”

The judge said he did not believe the crimes were “racially aggravated”, but Mr Straw said he thought vulnerable white girls were at risk of being targeted by some Asian men.

  • “These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically,” he said.
  • “So they then seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care … who they think are easy meat.
  • “And because they’re vulnerable they ply them with gifts, they give them drugs, and then of course they’re trapped.”

Police in Derbyshire have insisted that the sexual abuse case should not be treated as a racial issue.

The sentencing of Saddique and Romaan came a day after Prime Minister David Cameron said “cultural sensitivities” should not hinder police action in such cases. Speaking on Friday to The Times during a visit to Oldham, Mr Cameron said:

  • “We should not be put off by cultural sensitivities or anything like that. Pursue the evidence, pursue criminality wherever it leads.”

The Guardian:


Excerpt – – The former home secretary Jack Straw has been accused of stereotyping Pakistani men in Britain after he accused some of them as regarding white girls as “easy meat” for sexual abuse. His comments were criticised by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, who said it was wrong to “stereotype a whole community”.

Straw called on the British Pakistani community to be “more open” about the issue. “These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they’re fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically,” he said.

“So they then seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care … who they think are easy meat.

Vaz told Sky News:

  • “I don’t think we can make that jump necessarily to it being a cultural problem … We want an investigation that has no fear or favour to any community. But it is important that we get this into context.”

Additional sources:

” . . .  The pair, who were both married fathers, cruised Derby’s streets for victims while their unsuspecting families waited at home for them. According to research this week, there have been 17 prosecutions of on-street grooming of girls involving at least two men since 1997. From a total of 56 convictions, 53 of the defendants were Asian and the other three white. But the judge in this latest case ruled out race as a factor.




[1] http://www.politi.no/pls/idesk/docs/…tioslo2007.pdf

[2] Statistics Norway http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/01/10/innvbef_en/

[3] Kari Vogt, University of Oslo, author of “Between Desert and City“, and co-edited a collection about Islamic Law Reform and Human Rights, including “New Directions in Islamic Thought”  (http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/qatar/cirs/HassanHanafiBrief.pdf)  looking at fundamentalism and post-fundamentalism, and “Exploring Reform and Muslim Tradition”, exploring how Muslims to reconcile their beliefs with the pressures and imperatives of the modern world and how they should handle the tension between their roles in “the West.

[4]  ‘Islam in Prisons’ by Farhad Khosrokhavar

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