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Muslim Child Brides in Britain
by Hege Storhaug
It is heartbreaking, even as it is unsurprising. In Britain, the authorities are now reporting the forced marriage of girls as young as nine years old on British soil. We are not talking about one case, but several, which take place under official protection. We are not speaking, then, about parents or "husbands" who are being charged with a criminal offense. The situation, in other words, is completely unacceptable and makes clear that we have a crying need for a new approach to these matters. Government must put its foot down – and powerfully so – so that there will be no doubt as to the way in which such grotesque crimes will be addressed.
First, when I say that the marriage of nine-year-old girls in today's Britain (and the rest of the EU, for that matter) is unsurprising, my statement is based on my own 17 years of experience in the field of immigration: forms of assault based on tradition and religion – including child marriage, forced marriage, genital mutilation, so-called honor-related offenses such as rape and murder – have become established here as a result of immigration, mostly from Muslim countries. Instances of these offenses have been documented in countries such as Norway (where, to be sure, there have been no recorded cases of marriage to girls as young as nine, but where the marriage of an 11-year-old came to light in a TV documentary that I worked on as journalist; such cases have also been known in Sweden). The only phenomenon that has not been documented in Norway thus far is forced eating by girls before they are to be married off. I was told about this practice by feminists in Paris in 2003, and the phenomenon had been imported into France by immigrants, mostly from Mali. Girls are locked up and fed like geese before being married, because in their culture being fat is considered beautiful.
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