The sentencing of Asian sex groomers in Oxford yesterday is important. It nails the fate of anyone who thinks there can be any justification for treating girls like dehumanised tradable commodities.

Not only does it expose the shocking reality of sex grooming, but it also shines a now inextinguishable light on human trafficking of any sort. And there is a shocking incidence of this phenomenon going on under our noses.

So, what do we do about it?

This is a human problem, a male problem, a predominantly white problem. But, it always has a culture-specific manifestation to it. The evidence is clear: most online grooming is by white males, most street grooming is by Asian males. (The reasons for this might be obvious, given who runs the nighttime economy in many cities.) And where it is an Asian problem, what do we want to see happen?

Well, we must applaud the initiative of Alyas Karmani who got around 500 imams to read a sermon today in their mosques in which this behaviour is condemned unequivocally. Following on from initiatives such as CAASE (which was launched in Bradford several weeks ago), this represents a community taking responsibility.

Of course, it begs the question why Asian Muslims have to take this responsibility when white Christians do not feel the same obligation when the ‘white’ grooming phenomenon hits the headlines.

What was done today forms part of a mosaic of responsible initiatives that together will build into something wider and stronger. Whatever else happens, grooming will not be tolerated even when ethnic, religious or community bonds are threatened by its exposure.

This has to be a good thing.

Mention the word 'race' at the moment and all eyes turn to the Olympics in London. But, it is another form of race that preoccupies my mind today.

Yesterday the parents of Shafilea Ahmed were jailed for life for murdering their own daughter who had – by her westernised independence – offended their cultural and community sensibilities. The case has been well publicised and I don't need to go into detail here.

However, there is a very good and clear response to some of the issues raised by Sara Khan in the Guardian this morning. She might also have questioned whether the inhibition of social and health services to protect and advocate for vulnerable arises not from misguided racism, but rather from cultural ignorance and fear of 'getting it wrong'.

Yes, this is sensitive stuff. Muslim leaders in Bradford have no truck with religious or 'cultural' excuses for criminal or violent behaviour. No question – and I know because we speak openly, frankly and without inhibition about these and other matters. And it is not simply about race.

Today the English Defence League is due to demonstrate in West Yorkshire – Keighley, to be precise – and at the same time demonstrate its crassly simplistic (and selectively perverse) focus on missing the point. It is right that people should protest about the horror that is sex-grooming of vulnerable young girls. It is barely believable that men can do this in the first place and it demands condemnation and punishment. But – and this is the brutal point – it is not primarily a racial issue.

Sex-grooming of vulnerable girls is a male issue, not a race issue. It is an Asian male problem and it is a Muslim male issue… because it is a generic male issue. When white Anglo-Saxon men commit these crimes we don't write off 'white' 'non-Muslim' 'non-Asian' cultures as being inherently corrupt or dangerous. If this is an Asian problem, it is only so because it is a male problem. Of course, there will be factors peculiar to Asian culture and the Asian community – just as there will be factors unique to the phenomenon in other cultural communities – and these need to be addressed. But, to target Asians is misguided, to say the least.

In a conversation recently my Muslim interlocutors acknowledged straight up the fact that “this is our problem”; but, we followed this up with the recognition that it is also OUR problem. If the problem of such appalling criminality is to be properly addressed, we need to recognise the 'maleness' of the phenomenon and not simply target religious or cultural scapegoats whilst quietly ignoring the facts or the cultural ubiquity of the behaviour.

The best way to handle the EDL is simply to ignore them and not honour their case with attention.