by Soeren Kern
Forced marriages often involve kidnapping, beatings and rape. Muslim women and girls living in the United Kingdom are often facing forced marriage, honor-based violence, female genital mutilation and domestic abuse. Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has refused to broadcast a screenplay about the threat that Islam poses to free speech.
More than 400 children were subjected to forced marriage in Britain during the past year, including a five-year-old girl who is believed to be the country’s youngest victim of the practice.
The statistics were provided by the British government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) as part of an ongoing effort to create a law that would criminalize forced marriage in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The custom is already illegal in Scotland.
Overall, the FMU said it gave advice or support related to nearly 1,500 cases of forced marriage during 2011, although experts say the vast majority of forced marriages in Britain go unreported.
Most of the instances of forced marriage in Britain involve Muslim families from South Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Many of the cases involve Muslim children who are taken abroad by their parents and forced to marry against their will. Forced marriages often involve kidnapping, beatings and rape.
Prime Minister David Cameron has compared the practice of forced marriage to modern day slavery and has said people should not “shy away” from addressing the issue because of “cultural concerns.” A new law outlawing the practice is currently being drafted and could be in place by the end of 2012.
Separately, more than 65,000 women and girls in England and Wales have been the victims of female genital mutilation, and another 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are believed to be at a high risk, according to a London-based non-profit group called Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development.
Speaking in the House of Commons on February 6, British Home Secretary Theresa May said “Sadly, what we see are too many examples of this terrible crime continuing to take place. I think most people would be shocked to know how many young girls within the United Kingdom are subjected to female genital mutilation.”
Female genital mutilation is most common among Muslim immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Although the practice is illegal under the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act, and carries a jail term of up to 14 years, no one has yet been successfully prosecuted.
In many cases, Muslim families often pool resources to fly professional “cutters” to Britain from Africa to perform mutilations on pre-pubescent girls for as little as £40 ($65), often without anesthetics, using blunt knives, razor blades or scalpels. In other cases, girls are flown abroad to their family’s native country to help minimize the risk of detection….