The Problem of Forced Marriages
The UK Government has been discussing bringing in new legislation to criminalize forced marriages, since some time and this has finally come into fruition. The controversial law is aimed at deterring families from forcing couples to marry against their will and protect victims of forced marriages against retribution, should they come forward to the police.
Now on the outset this appears to be a good law, that will save some young people, some of whom have been reported to be below the age of fifteen in the past, from effectively having their lives ruined. Unlike the recent issue of the Rochdale grooming gangs, which couldn't be linked to race or religion, this is sadly a cultural issue that is associated with the Indian subcontinent, East Africa and the Arab world.
We shouldn't have needed a law to criminalise this, we, Muslims, should have been there from the beginning. We should have used our Mosques and community centres to stamp out this un-Islamic practice (volume 7 book 62 number 67), that will now be used against us. Had we have been there from the beginning trying to prevent these actions, groups like the EDL and BNP as well as Neo-Cons etc, would not have been able to add this to their arsenal to use against us and claim to be legitimately looking out for vulnerable people. This is especially a problem because it is being used as a slur against Islam, rather than cultures that span faiths.
Do not be fooled in to thinking that David Cameron, who called forced marriages “Abhorrent and is little more than slavery,” has your best interests at heart. If he did, he would not have supported an illegal invasion against an innocent Iraq, nor would we continue to give Israel a carte blanche to do what it pleases against the Palestinians.
This issue has been politicised, and when I said that this law is controversial, I was referring to the fact that there is some debate about whether this law will fulfil its aims and the fact that it may be counterproductive. One has to wonder what the motives for bringing this law in are, is it just a bid for more votes in the next elections.
In summary, we as Muslims, from various different cultures have a lot of baggage and just like anybody else, we also have problems that need to be dealt with; however, this shouldn't give others the opportunity to twist our arm or use this against us. Yet again our great institutions, namely our Mosques have failed us, at the time of the Prophet PBUH the Mosque was the centre of the community, it was a place where community problems were addressed and decisions were made. Our Mosques should have addressed this issue and it is time that they take a stand and reform to their original purpose.