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Forced Marriages in Our Own Backyard
by Phyllis Chesler
On February 22, 2011, Jessie Bender, a 13-year-old southern California girl, ran away from home. No, Jessie was not into "sex, drugs, or rock n' roll." On the contrary. Jessie was terrified that her American-born mother, Melissa, a convert to Islam, and her mother's Pakistani boyfriend and acting stepfather Mohammed "Mo" Khan, had decided to send her to Pakistan to be married against her will. Had Jessie gone, her mother and "Mo" would have received $3000.00.
Initially, her mother told police that Jessie had been abducted by a Facebook predator. Melissa, in full hijab, made a tearful plea for the television cameras. "If you are holding my daughter, please let her go…Please, I beg you to let my daughter go. She's just 13 years old."
This tearful, public, pseudo-honesty reminds me of the Afghan-Canadian Safia family who wept in public, mourning their three dead honor murdered daughters: 13 year-old Geeti, 17 year-old Sahari, and 19-year-old Zainab, and Safia's first wife, 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammed. In a bid for sympathy, and to throw the police off their trail, the three murderers shed copious tears, grieving, loudly.
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