This June 2013, Women Living Under Muslim Laws traveled to Nottingham for the 2013 Feminist and Women’s Studies Association conference. In the course of a lively discussion about religion, secularism, law and gender discrimination ignited by our name and history we found itself at the centre of what one member of the audience called the most exciting debate of the day.
One such incident is of a young 15-year-old girl, Aliya*. The eldest of seven children, her mother and father had their hands full with the younger children. Aliya was neglected emotionally, and in order to grasp the attention of her parents or to find someone to appreciate or love her she began to play truant.
Jasvinder Sanghera was eight years old when she was promised in marriage to a man she had never met. When, six years later, her mother showed Sanghera a photograph of her intended husband, the 14-year-old reacted with horror.
The parents of a 17-year-old girl who was killed nine years ago in the UK have been convicted of her murder and jailed for life.Iftikhar Ahmed and his wife Farzana were told on Friday that they were to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison after a jury at Chester Crown Court found them guilty of their daughter Shafilea's murder.
WLUML has joined numerous rights groups, including Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, DAWN, the International Women's Health Coalition and RESURJ in supporting the following statement "Rights must be at the centre of the Family Planning Summit", to be presented to the organizers of the DFID/Gates Family Planning Summit which will be held in London on 11 July 2012.
The forced marriage of under-age girls is prevalent in many countries, with an estimated 25,000 young girls forced into marriage each day. The issue is becoming an increasing concern in the U.K., and in the London Borough of Islington. Girls as young as nine-years-old are being forced into marriage in the London Borough of Islington, with marriages carried out by back street Imans. Although child marriage is illegal in Britain, families circumvent the law by conducting marriages in shariah courts attached to mosques.
This week's Panorama, Britain's Crimes of Honour, made for harrowing viewing. In the space of 30 minutes, the programme recounted horrific murders of women in the UK. There was video footage of Banaz Mahmod, the young Iraqi Kurdish woman from south London whose family murdered her and buried her in a suitcase after she was spotted kissing her boyfriend outside a tube station. There was the grieving mother of Laura Wilson, the teenager from Rotherham who was knifed repeatedly by her boyfriend, Ashtiaq Asghar. Then there was the wedding clip of Nosheen Azam, who came to Sheffield from Pakistan as a young bride and was trapped in an abusive marriage. She was found in her back garden, aflame. Nosheen survived but is brain dead, her body badly burnt. No one knows whether she set herself alight to commit suicide or whether it was attempted murder. Her father, who visits her in a care home, wiped tears from his eyes as he recalled telling her not to leave her husband, for the sake of her family's pride.