Child marriage in Britain

Maryam reports that there’s growing evidence that very young girls are being “married” to much older men in Sharia courts in the UK. Girls as young as five.

A recent undercover investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls, provided this was carried out in secret. The imams had been approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married, to prevent her from being tempted in to a “western lifestyle”.

Imam Mohammed Kassamali, of the Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough, sanctioned the marriage, but stressed the need for total secrecy. He stated: “I would love the girl to go to her husband’s houses (sic) as soon as possible, the younger the better. Under sharia (Islamic law) there is no problem. It is said she should see her first sign of puberty at the house of her husband. The problem is that we cannot explain such things (the marriage) if the girl went tomorrow (to the authorities).”

Clearly “married” means “imprisoned” and “prevented from ever having adult autonomy and freedom.” It means being cut off from adulthood before it starts.

Maryam’s One Law for All is helping to stop this; you can help One Law for All.

One important way to tackle this matter is to galvanise support for the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill introduced to the House of Lords last year by crossbench peer, Baroness Caroline Cox. The Bill is due for a second reading in October.

The Government has so far declined to support Cox’s Bill. They do not believe there is a parallel legal system in operation. They also insist that everyone has full right of access to the British courts. This is simply not the case. There are many with little or no English language skills, trapped by community pressure, who believe Sharia courts operate as real courts and who regard their decisions as legally binding. The idea that they can easily instruct a high street solicitor to help them access their full rights under UK law is far from reality.

The Government must be pressured into taking immediate action, including by supporting Cox’s Bill, and shutting down Sharia and religious courts. If child welfare takes precedence then the Government is duty-bound to take action.

Sign our new petition in support of Baroness Cox’s Bill; tell the Government that enough is enough! Please sign it now.

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