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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Muslim schoolgirl married off at 14

Two reporters in the UK wanted to find out if Muslim clerics were still breaking the law by performing Islamic marriage ceremonies involving 14 year old schoolgirls.  So they cooked up a credible story.  The woman, accompanied by her brother, pretended to be looking for an imam to marry her 14 year old daughter.  Out of 56 mosques they visited, 18 clerics said they were prepared to do it.

And a Muslim cleric somewhere in Sydney agreed to do it too. 

Muslim parents arranged for their 14 year old daughter to be married to a 21 year old man.  They said her future looked bright - her new husband would take her to the movies and theme parks, and buy her lots of ice cream and lollies.  But once married, he locked her inside the house and she wasn't allowed to go out, except to school.

Twelve months later, he didn't want her going to school anymore. He burnt her schoolbooks and she had to leave. She wasn't allowed to watch her favourite shows Home and Away and Neighbours - he replaced them with violent DVDs about soldiers being taken hostage and blown up.  Then he started knocking her around.

Someone who could have helped her, chose not to and let her down very badly.  She told a teacher about her situation at home, but that person ignored the mandatory reporting law and failed to pass the information on to authorities.

So she went to her father and told him about how her husband was bashing her and her daughter, but he wasn't moved.  He said that having a violent husband wasn't a good enough reason to leave him. "The only way you can come back to me is in a coffin for me to pray over you" he said.

Last week, Judge Jo Harman described the man as "a most heinous, capricious and revolting misogynist."  He said the woman had been kicked, punched, stamped on and thrown into walls.  

The court heard the man was a drug dealer and involved in criminal activity.  Judge Harman awarded her sole custody and ordered the father be restrained from having all contact with mother and child.

The couple separated in 2009 and she has since found a new partner.