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Death sentence: Banoz Mahmod (right) was raped and strangeld by two of her cousins in 2006. The murder was ordered by her father (left)

If white British women were being forced to marry men they had never met, in a country they had never visited, there would be a national outcry. We would call it trafficking. But some liberals justify the practice as "cultural" when it involves Muslims and oppose making it a criminal offence.  

Meena was forced into marriage with her 30-year-old cousin when she was 18 and planning to go to university. "I think I cried for five years, every day," she says. "My father begged me when I refused to marry him, so in the end I caved in. My mother was terrified I would bring shame to the family." Meena, now 23 and living in a refuge for women escaping domestic violence, tells me that, at the time, she did not think she was being coerced, and believed her parents had her best interests at heart.

"I now think completely differently," she says. "They just wanted to save face and look good to the imam and other elders. It was so I would not go to university and become ‘Westernised'. I hate them for what they did and think they should pay a price." Meena is in favour of a law that would criminalise forced marriage "because it will make some of them think twice before they do the same to other girls and women".

In November, a new law on forced marriage was introduced in Scotland. Its courts can now issue protection orders to those at risk, as in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, in addition, if breached the Scottish orders could carry a two-year prison sentence. David Cameron has described forced marriage as "little more than slavery" and, together with his Home Secretary Theresa May, is keen to criminalise the practice (though the Lib Dem Home Office minister claims it is not on the department's agenda).

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May 23rd, 2012
10:05 PM
"...liberals sympathetic to some forms of Sharia law" if they are moral relativists, then they are NOT liberals, the liberal position is that we are all equal before the law, NOT separate laws for different cultures. Moral relativists are just that: moral relativists. Moral relativists are not liberals.

April 21st, 2012
3:04 PM
The European Court also overruled a British Law restricting forced marriages seemingly on the grounds that the right of men to a family life overrides the right of young women to be abducted.

January 21st, 2012
6:01 PM
Tell the liberals that the religion is christianity and the women are being sent to Utah and they'll do everything they can to stop it.

January 20th, 2012
2:01 AM
No surprises that white "feminists" are more than ready to throw women under the bus when a non-Western tradition or culture is involved. Similarly, in the US, NOW deserted Nicole Brown & sided with the black "leadership" consensus that OJ was targeted by the "racist" LAPD. This is where moral relativism leads the ironic sight of morally-righteous "progressives" sacrificing those they claim to champion. The same people who wouldn't countenance certain behaviors by their native citizenry, look the other way or merely pay lip service when such behaviors are committed by the "other." Multicultural piety serves as penitence for Western liberal guilt.

January 19th, 2012
2:01 PM
The study by Aisha Gill is misrepresented as "evidence" in this article. In fact, it is just a survey of the viewpoints expressed by the women's organisations that responded. Several of these organisations have insisted for years that criminalising forced marriage will put victims off reporting, but their assumptions are not backed up by any actual evidence from victims. In fact, as the young woman quoted in your article shows, some victims are strongly in favour of criminalisation. This point is also made in this blog Secondly, something like 44 per cent of organisations surveyed were actually in favour of criminalisation, which is a sizeable chunk. It's a shame those voices weren't heard in this article. Karma Nirvana, a charity which helps hundreds of victims of forced marriage each year, is among those in favour of forced marriage, as is the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation which also helps forced marriage victims and honour violence. For those victims who don't want to prosecute their parents, they don't have to. As with domestic violence, if a woman decides not to cooperate with the police or to withdraw a statement a prosecution rarely goes ahead.

January 15th, 2012
9:01 PM
Wow, what a totally one dimensional way of thinking. The long and short of it is: if you are moving to or living in a western country you have the right as an individual to choose whether you want to participate in forced marriages or not. Quite obviously, your family or anyone else in your community may not agree with your decision and you as an indivudal will have to deal with that. You will probably be disowned and bring shame to your family but that is the consequence for bucking the cultural trend. The law should be there to protect your decision but should never enforce the widespread abolition of forced marriages. That is where our western bias oversteps its boundaries and imposes itself upon foreign "barbaric" cultural traditions, despite support or denouncement of multiculturalism. Either way, what a horrible article.

Sakib Hameed
January 8th, 2012
10:01 PM
what a daft article! This article completely dodged the notion that 'honour' killings happen globally under different guises. There are men who murder their daughter's boyfriends and in one case in Canada, killed a lesbian daughter and her mother! Yet their religion is not mentioned at all and nor is their ethnic background! The term 'honour' is only attached to crimes committed by Asian and African ethnic minorities and particularly Muslims despite the world saying otherwise. Also, to blame this on 'shariah' despite the fact that Islam doesn't permit forced marriages combined with the fact that forced marriages happen in plenty of non Muslim communities too, proved that this author really doesn't seem to know what she is talking about!

December 22nd, 2011
11:12 AM
This is a good move forward. All females of society should be protected at all levels.

December 21st, 2011
4:12 PM
Brave lady!!

December 21st, 2011
3:12 PM
Good article!

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