Muslim community leaders in Leicester will today support a national campaign to denounce the evil of grooming and sexual exploitation of young women.
The campaign – Together Against Grooming – will see imams tackle the issue in their Friday sermons at about 500 mosques across the country.
It has been launched in the wake of a number of high-profile cases which involved Asian men sexually exploiting and abusing girls.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, a Leicester imam and assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said many mosques in Leicestershire would be supporting today's campaign.
He said: "We have not had a chance to collect numbers, but the momentum has been growing for the past few days.
"Any imam worth his salt would always use Friday sermons to talk about evils and forms of criminality which are prevalent in society.
"The difference here is that, for the first time, we have gone out to ensure the same message is given out throughout the country on the same Friday.
"The hope is that the impact of this message will be felt nationwide.
"At the same time, we are being careful to make the point that this is not a Muslim or racial issue.
"It is an evil which the whole of society has to tackle."
As well as mosques in towns and cities across the country, imams who work in prisons have also signed up to take part.
Ansar Ali, spokesman for the campaign, said: "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 campaign is unprecedented – we have brought together mosques and imams from all over the UK, irrespective of differences, to collectively deliver a hard-hitting sermon on a single issue.
"We are united in our stand against sexual grooming and are leading the effort to rid society of this crime."
Mr Ali said the campaign would continue beyond today's sermons.
He said: "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."