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British Govt. Considers Banning Forced Marriages


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http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?ID=9316

October 6, 2005

British Government Considers Banning Forced Marriages

The British government is considering a proposal to ban forced marriages, making clerics, imams, and parents liable for prosecution. The proposal comes in response to the estimated hundreds of British Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu women forced into arranged marriages each year.

Currently, British parents who force their children into marriage can be prosecuted on counts of kidnapping and assault. But the British police says that specific laws targeting forced marriage are needed to ease prosecution and send a clear message to young people about their rights, according to Garavi Gujarat, an Asian newsweekly.

Supporters of such laws call forced marriages a human rights violation that often is accompanied by physical abuse. Sixty percent of women who seek refuge at Ashiana, a London service for Asian domestic violence victims, come fleeing forced marriages, according to the Christian Science Monitor. "We hear stories of rapes, abductions, beatings, forced abortions, and forced pregnancies," says Vinay Talwar, the head of the British Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit, according to BBC News. The Unit has dealt with 1,000 cases of forced marriage in its five years of existence, according to the Guardian.

Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor 10/5/05; The Times (UK) 9/25/05; BBC News 9/5/05; Garavi Gujarat 9/6/05; The Guardian 9/6/05

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I don't think forced marriages are a problem in the Sikh & Hindu communities in the UK. Unfortunatley by lumping all the south asians together they give this impression. This occurs mainly in the Muslim community.

Also the media often confuses arranged and forced marriages. Arranged marriages are not bad, but forced marraiges are.

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Good move! Forced marriages should be banned. I didnt think it happened as much anymore but maybe I was wrong.

Sag-roti, forced marriages are actually forbidden in Islam. If a marriage is done without the girl or woman's consent it is considered to be an illegal marriage and is null and void according to Shariah law. But then again people who proclam to be muslims or hindu or sikh dont always follow their religion and let their culture overide the teachings of their proclaimed faith.

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