Forcing A Marriage


the first conviction of a mother who forced her thirteen year old daughter to a marriage , she took her for a holiday to Pakistan ,where she was given in marriage to a man old enough to be her father.

I wrote a blog on a website called Asians in Media in the late 1990s and then on the sister site of the Daily Telegraph ,called My Telegraph and constantly ranted on this subject.

The Asian website ,the readers of that site responded by sending me abusive emails. telling me I have sold out to the White culture ,hence the rant against our “culture practice”, the abuse got so bad that  the editor of the site Sunny closed comments at times .

There were good things too, a lot of young women got in touch with me, I have met some of them and a few are still in touch , there was a lady who was an anchor for a certain t.v.channels, educated, beautiful and intelligent. She feared that she will be married off to her cousins her parents have “promised” her to the mother of the would be groom, who happens to be her paternal aunt.

I lost touch with her, I hope she didn’t give in, I often think her .

for a western mind it is hard to get their head around this idea ,that a girl or a boy can be forced into marriage. But why do they agree, am often asked.

You have to go back to the upbringing and the culture for this . In Asia , right from the start a child is doctrinated that his /her parents are the font of all knowledge, that you must always surrender to the wishes of your parents. Mother is given a special place, in Islam it is said that Heaven lies under your mothers feet, ( somebody tell that to my kids!). There is no salvation without your mother forgiving you for all the trouble she went through for you, carrying you for nine months and then breast feeding you. Religious texts teach you that should you disobey your parents, or go against their wishes ,you are a candidate for the hell fire!

Asians, even the ones living in this country ,especially those living in this country are very trapped in this. it is anathema for them to go against their wishes. For years , especially the Muslims of Pakistani origin have been the biggest practitioner of this. Those young men/women who refuse , have been taken to that country on the pretext of a holiday, once they are there, the whole clan pressures them , telling them of the fires of  hell and damnation awaits them.

it is emotional blackmail of the worst kind. For a very long time the authorities ignored this practice, the police or the Home office didn’t want to know, it was said of be “cultural practice”, part of the country where these communities were /are the majority ,were almost considered a foreign country, any MP or journalist who tried to speak up was quickly branded racist ,and the practice continued for years.

They came the high profile murders of young women, one of them was Shafilla Ahmed, who was killed by her parents because she dared to fall in love with someone out of her religion and family , and refused an arranged marriage.

Even then it took years before the legislation was passed, and then there were those who were certain that no child will ever testify against their parents /community,thank God that was not wholly  true, someone did and we have a conviction and hurray for that.

I get very angry how cowed the country and the authorities have been and still are when it comes to certain religions and practices. Who can forget how the MP Anne Cryer was vilified for raising the issue of child grooming by Pakistani men , and how many years it took to bring that to justice and how many vulnerable young women had their lives ruined by these posters.

If you call yourself citizen of a country and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, you have no right to carry on objectionable practices and call it you culture.

It is criminal.

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