Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Human rights come before religion or culture

It had been my intention to comment of the headline story of The Times today about the man who ran off from a West London mosque in a burka as it raised all sorts of questions that we need to discuss. However as I read on in the paper it was another story that caught my attention which in my view takes priority.

Judge cannot help Muslim girl forced to wed at gunpoint

A judge has said that he is powerless to nullify the marriage of a British Muslim girl who says she was taken to Pakistan and forced into the union at gunpoint at the age of 14.

Instead the girl must seek nullification herself, he said.

The girl, who now has a one-year old child, says that she was subjected to harrowing violence and threatened with a gun before the ceremony, which was arranged by her father. She and her child are now in council care. 

But that's not even the half of it:

The girl was accompanied to Pakistan by her father who has been a British citizen  for three decades, and her elder brother.

The Judge said the girl had been threatened to make her have sex with her husband. "The marriage was consummated about two weeks later after further threats to her if she did not permit her husband to have sexual intercourse with her" he said.

Apparently her marriage is void under English law according to his honour.

I would have thought the "marriage" should be the least of the concerns that either the Judge or the court should have considered.

This case involves the rape of a child, violence and frankly human trafficking or slavery to give it its real name.

As far as I am concerned the father, brother and husband have committed crimes against this girl which go beyond validating any so-called marriage. Forced marriage is not yet illegal and legislation is being considered by the current Government.

But we are talking about a 14 year old child here. What about all the other crimes committed against her? I have to ask the obvious question about whether this case would have been dealt with differently if the girl had been white?

Why have the parents, family and "husband" not been arrested?

The "husbands whereabouts are unknown, but reading between the lines is probably in the UK. With all the fallout over the historical crimes of Saville and other celebrities can we really allow these men to have their crimes unpunished.

The law has let this child (and probably many others in similar circumstances) down.

There is one law in this country and it must be applied equally to all.

Religion and culture are no excuse.

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