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.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — Sometimes Jennifer Bradshaw dreams of a job in finance, and last year she thought about going back to school to become a nurse. She would do anything, she said, that would give her the chance to get ahead — and to meet the bills that seem to weigh more heavily on her family every month.
As it is, she works 16 hours a week in a clerical job at a local supermarket, and her earnings go to paying off loans she and her fiancé are carrying. She would love to go full time, working days instead of evenings and getting a handle on their spiraling debt.
It feels as if, for 20 years, the only argument occurring about feminism has been whether or not it has a point – hadn't its purpose already been served, all its battles won? And when young women eschew feminism, thinking it to describe an uneven temper and hairy armpits, does it have any reliable meaning or future?
Roj Women’s Association has just published its last Annual Activities Report that maps out the organization’s campaigning and community work from April 2010 until March 2011. Field research in Kurdish regions of the world, community research among the Kurdish Diaspora, lobbying meetings at British, European and United Nations forums, grassroots groups capacity-building, seminars for university students and communities, to mention a few, are the activities that materialize a wider strategy that seeks to improve the lives of women in Kurdish regions and communities of the world.
A recent hate campaign has been waged against the London-based academic and imam, Dr Usama Hasan. He has been victimised, accused of apostasy and has received death threats for his comments on evolution and the woman's right to choose whether or not to wear hijab. The Board of the Muslim Women’s Network-UK (http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/) strongly condemns the bullying and harassment of Dr Hasan.
[Statement from City Circle] In recent months, it has been very distressing for us to watch Dr Usama Hasan, a core member of City Circle's management team who has also served with distinction as our Director, endure a nasty, intolerant campaign to remove him as an imam from his boyhood mosque and to cast him outside of the fold of Islam on account of views he has expressed as a scholar and a scientist in good faith and conviction.
An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women's right to refuse the veil. Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution. A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in "considerable antagonism" from the community and for his "belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public".