Forced marriage is an intolerable abuse, says judgeI really like that stigmatising bit. What quaint little folkloristic detail will we be forced to accept next in the West in the name of non-intrusion into "minority cultures and religions"? Cannibalism?
By JAMES SLACK
09:09am 6th July 2006
A High Court judge yesterday attacked the 'intolerable' practice of forced marriage, which he said could not be justified by any religion.
Mr Justice Munby attacked the 'intolerable' practice of forced marriages
Mr Justice Munby spoke out while annulling the marriage of an English-born teenager made to marry her cousin, who was seeking a route into the UK.
He used powers that allow a wedding to be struck out if one of those involved was pressured into it.
The judge's attack is an acute embarrassment for the Home Office, which in a U-turn last month decided against making forced marriage illegal.
By contrast, Mr Justice Munby said it was 'intolerable', 'an abomination' and 'a gross abuse of human rights'.
The judge revealed the girl's brutal treatment by her family who 'lured her' to Pakistan with the promise of a holiday...
As soon as she arrived there in 2003, the girl - who cannot be named - was subjected to 'moral blackmail' by the parents, who said they would kill themselves if she did not marry the cousin she had never met before.
She was kept in a remote part of Pakistan for months and, despite begging her parents to be allowed to return to this country, she was subjected to unrelenting pressure from her mother, father and wider family.
While not suffering any physical violence, she had her passport taken from her and was told she would never return until she went through with the marriage.
She lived with her cousin for a while before returning to England with her parents.
The marriage was never consummated and her cousin admitted it was just a 'ploy' to allow him to get a visa.
The judge also revealed that he had previously dealt with a young British woman repeatedly raped by her husband in a bid to make her pregnant.
The husband believed he would not be stopped walking through UK border controls with a pregnant wife.
'Gross abuse of human rights'
The judge said: 'Forced marriage is a gross abuse of human rights. It is a form of domestic violence that dehumanises people by denying them their right to choose how to live their lives. It is an appalling practice.' 'No social or cultural imperative can extenuate and no pretended recourse to religious belief can possibly justify forced marriage. Forced marriage is intolerable. It is an abomination.'
Ministers unveiled proposals two years ago, suggesting that anyone arranging or encouraging a forced marriage should face jail sentences.
But last month the Home Office admitted it would not be pursuing the plans, and would instead encourage the police and courts to make use of existing laws, such as rape or kidnap.
The U-turn came after complaints from Muslim groups that the move would see children having to give evidence at their parents' trials, and could lead to the Muslim community being further 'stigmatised'.
Ministers said they accepted a new law would be 'resented as an intrusion into minority cultures and religions'.
And no, that is NOT over-simplistic.
It is notable, mind you, that as of now, more than five days after the publication of the article, nobody found it worthwhile to use the commenting section the Daily Mail kindly provides. Get devoured, Teabags!