Julie Bindel has recently published an article on forced marriages in Standpoint magazine. In it she says:

Maryam Namazie, an Iranian feminist and spokesperson for One Law For All, which campaigns against Sharia, believes that forced marriage is one of the main problems for Muslim girls and women. “In a place like Afghanistan a majority of females are in prison for ‘moral’ crimes, including refusing to marry the man chosen by their families,” she says. “This is increasingly a problem for women and girls here in Britain, especially with the rise of Sharia courts, which validate and rubber-stamp forced marriages.”

Criminalising forced marriages won’t end the practice overnight, admits Namazie but, as other supporters of the change have argued, criminalising domestic violence did not end violence against women in the home, and drink-driving still leads to death on the road despite the penalties. “But it will be an important start in battling it and making clear what is intolerable in our society. And it will help to protect countless citizens.”

To read the full article, click here.



  1. Thanks very much for the article. I’ve never liked the double standard whereby something that is considered wrong gets an exception added to it, allowing abuses of people who are immigrants or from certain ‘cultures’ or ‘religions’ — as this attitude wrongly assumes that a person’s beliefs and choices in life should be determined by the coincidence of their birth.

    @MarkNS (#4): I’ve always been doubtful about this generalization that freedom is somehow inherently Western and foreign to others in non-Western countries. While I agree that the contents of Islam, as described in the holy book, are against freedom, there are people who, despite growing up in an environment where they are taught the religion in its most strict form, come to doubt and disagree with it.

    @Martyn Hughes (#5): I agree with your point about challenging the far-right and Islamism together.

  2. Cannot disagree with Julie Bindel’s article, nor Maryams response.

    What angers me is noted at the end of Julies piece.

    ‘Therein lies the liberals’ dilemma. They don’t want to single out the Muslim community for criticism but end up supporting the patriarchs and condemning young women to a life of unhappiness and servitude. They should know better.

    Indeed, liberals should know better. But they don’t. Yet.

    They think an attack of Islamism is an attack on all muslims. Or an attack on Islamism will inevitably invite the far-right into the discussion.

    From this leftist-progressive stand-point an attack on Islamism IS NOT an attack on all muslims. Far from it. Who is likely to be forced into a marriage under islamism? Yep, muslims.

    secondly, as for the fear of inviting the far-right into the ‘discussion’ – and I have to use inverted commas here when referring to the far-right and discussion in the same sentence – The far-right are already involved.

    We cannot ignore how many women and girls and gay men are forced into marriages they do not want, for fear of stimulating a far-right response.

    We can and we will challenge the far-right and Islamism together.

    May as well, they are both one and the same after-all.

  3. Of course forced marriages, just like forcing any adult to do anything against their will, must be illegal. Unfortunately, this view is based upon the western, liberal value of individual freedom, something that is completely foreign to those raised in islamic cultures.

    1. And therein lies the problem.. it seems as though Muslims that leave Islamic countries, for Western-minded societies such as Europe, or are born there to fundamental Muslim cultures, fail to see that the non-Muslims who are (I assume still) the majority of those countries, don’t want to suddenly change their way of living to the Muslim template. They seem to want to enforce their ways on everyone else, just as it is in those Islamic countries, and damn everyone who doesn’t agree. Unfortunately, the western governments are not standing up to this idea, and saying ‘Sorry, you can be Muslim and have your culture, but we’re not all becoming Muslim to not offend you and we refuse to change our ways to yours’. And if they break the laws of the country they live in, they shouldn’t get special treatment just because of their culture which they imported from eastern Islamic regions. You move to a country, you live by it’s laws.

  4. I find the whole concept of forced marriage baffling — how can someone else choose your spouse, who you’ll hopefully live your whole adult life with, but you? But I expect such a modern American take on things rings hollow with those egotistic individuals who Think They Know Better. (I know my own mother was only reluctantly reconciled to my choice of spouse, because he wasn’t the Perfect Husband She’d Envisioned For Me since practically the day I was born.)

    I see this as partly a restriction on the activities of female parents. If a woman can have a career, have a life outside her marriage, make plans, do things, do what she enjoys, her life expands, and her ambitions for her children are not such a prominent part of her life. But if she’s restricted to the home (as my mother was, not out of a sense that women should be restricted, but because she was the billing and financial end of the family business that Dad didn’t want exposed to his employees)she starts to focus on her daughters to live life through them.

    I was married in 1980; my mother died in 2003. All through my married life, we argued over children (Husband and I chose not to have any, I’m an only child, and my mother desperately craved grandchildren), we argued over church (she could never accept my defection from Catholicism), we argued over fat and carbs and what constituted the size of a “normal” hamburger. But I was arguing with an increasingly old woman, confined for so many years to the house that she confined herself now, and it pained me.

    Nowadays I have the sense that the bulk of her life was wasted, and I don’t intend to waste what’s left of mine.

    I do shed a tear periodically for all the creative women whose lives are wasted for whatever reason — Shari’a, family business, caring for older relatives in a system without adequate support, etc. We ALL deserve more than that. We need to work so that all women have more than that.

  5. I assume you meant “a majority of imprisoned females are in prison for ‘moral’ crimes,” not that majority of the female population of the country is in the slammer for “moral” crimes, right?

  6. I agree, it won’t solve the problem, but it would show that society is against it. Laws against spousal abuse here in the States did not stop men from beating their wives, but it did put many in jail, at least overnight.

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