“It is estimated that between 5,000 and 8,000 cases of forced marriage occurred in Britain last year, according to the Department for Children, Schools, and Families.”
Forced marriage is one of the most effective means of resisting integration. It serves to reconstitute an un-British mini-society on the household level by keeping women tethered to domineering husbands and in-laws determined to preserve a social order foreign to Western values. Their children grow up believing the environment is “normal,” growing accustomed to the treatment of women as inferiors and possessions (see Qur’an 4:34), and the cycle repeats itself until someone has the wherewithal to rebel. “British warning: Summer is forced marriage season,” by Aidan Jones for the Christian Science Monitor, July 2:
London — The first time Shazia Qayum met her husband was on their wedding day.
Duped by her parents into visiting the poor, pious, hilly district of Mirpur in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, she arrived to a village abuzz with preparations for her wedding — a ceremony she knew nothing about.
Seventeen years old, she had already refused to marry her first cousin two years earlier — an act of defiance that resulted in her being withdrawn from school by her parents.
“I couldn’t believe they had brought me from Birmingham to Pakistan on such a huge lie,” she says. “It crushed me.”
That was more than decade ago, but government figures released today suggest the true scale of Britain’s forced-marriage problem is only now beginning to emerge. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 8,000 cases of forced marriage occurred in Britain last year, according to the Department for Children, Schools, and Families. […]
“Nobody should be forced into marriage against their will or without their free and open consent,” says Chris Bryant, a minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “There is no culture in which this is acceptable in the modern world, and we are determined to do everything we can to put a stop to it.”
Guidelines for police, teachers, doctors
The report is accompanied by new guidelines issued to police, teachers, and family doctors on recognizing the warning signs of a forced marriage.
The guidelines were released ahead of the school summer holidays — a period when hundreds of children are known to be taken abroad and married off, some never to return to Britain.
Advocates say it is effectively child abuse, and the real figures are much higher, but unreported.
Ms. Qayum says the issue turns on misplaced notions of honor among some South Asian communities.
“Refusing to marry the person they have chosen is perhaps the worst you can do in the eyes of the community,” she says. “I was left with the choice of living out a lie for my parents’ sake or leaving, starting with nothing, and losing my family. I choose to leave.”
She hasn’t seen her family since.
Part of a Western European push back?
Several hotlines across the country field calls from people fearing they will be married against their will. A number staffed by Britain’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has received 770 calls so far this year. The FMU is a team run jointly by the Foreign and Home offices.
“We took a call from a women in the toilet at Heathrow Airport,” says Sarah Russell, head of the unit. “We managed to get the police to her before she was flown out of the country, but there are many others out of our reach.” […]
Nazir Afzal, the lead lawyer for London’s CPS, says the issue boils down to the power relations within male-dominated societies.
“It is not just the elders who may believe women are inferior,” he says.
“I met a 21-year-old Muslim boy, who told me ‘man is a piece of gold, women are silver. If you drop gold in mud it can be cleaned; drop silver and it is worthless.’