Thousands of Bradford Muslims will hear a hard-hitting sermon today condemning child sexual grooming.

The majority of the district's 70-plus mosques have pledged to deliver a special sermon drafted by the mainly Bradford-based Together Against Grooming (TAG) project.

They will be among a total of 500 mosques UK-wide which have backed the TAG initiative – formed as a grass-roots response to recent high-profile court cases and a West Yorkshire Police announcement in March that it had arrested 54 suspects of sexual grooming over a five month period in the Bradford district.

The sermon at Friday prayers will urge Muslims to safeguard the young and vulnerable and highlight how the Qur’an condemns all forms of sexual indecency. The TAG project has already generated support from the Muslim Council of Britain, the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board, the Islamic Society of Britain and other independent mosques. Imams working in prisons have also said they will deliver the sermon.

It opens with a quotation from the Qur’an which forbids Muslims from “sexual indecency, wickedness and oppression of others” and finishes with a call for action and words of the Prophet Mohammed that: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand (by taking action); if he cannot, then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot, then with his heart (by hating it and feeling that it is wrong) – and that is the weakest of faith.”

The sermon is only the first stage of a TAG campaign, said group spokesman Ansar Ali, who is also chief executive of Bradford-based Manningham Housing Association. “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,” he said.

“Sexual grooming and child abuse afflicts all sections of society and is perpetrated by people of all ethnic groups. The Qur’an 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.

“The 28/06 Together Against Grooming campaign is unprecedented. We are united in our stand against sexual grooming and, as Muslims, we are leading the effort to rid society of this crime.”

Mr Ali said it is early days for the project, but he hopes it will work in partnership with other organisations who campaign against gang and sexual grooming with a view to developing information packs for imams, youth workers and other people with responsibilities in the community so they can recognise a vulnerable person or a perpetrator.