UK Asian girls and forced marriages Do not contact the parents

This story appeared yesterday in the Guardian’s education supplement and concerns young Asian girls (often Muslims) taken out of school to go “back home” to get married, often to someone they have never met. The article gives advice on the warning signs, but then, as with John Reid’s “warning signs of terrorism”, the same signs could point to other problems, and advises against contacting parents over such concerns (in one notorious case of an honour killing in London, the school had contacted the girl’s parents about her relationship with a boy and its effect on her schoolwork).

One thing that sticks out here, though, is that the women’s organisation mentioned is called Karma Nirvana, which is a Hindu-based name which may well be off-putting to Muslims, and a source of shame to the women involved, even if Hindus and Sikhs are affected by this issue as well. The article states that honour killing “can occur in strict Muslim and also Sikh families”, even though the practice is forbidden by Islam and the people involved may not be particularly strict; the woman shown in the picture in the print edition, described as a Karma Nirvana service user, is wearing shalwar kameez and not hijab.

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