Extremists 'Are Encouraging Violence against Muslim Women'

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 26, 2007 | Go to article overview

Extremists 'Are Encouraging Violence against Muslim Women'


Byline: MARTIN BENTHAM

ISLAMIC extremists are fuelling the spread of "honour" based violence against women in Britain, the country's most senior Muslim prosecutor warned today.

Nazir Afzal, the Crown Prosecution Service's director for west London, said that foreign Islamic terror groups had been identified as the driving force behind one murder and another threat to kill.

He also highlighted two cases in which women overseas had been forced to act as suicide bombers after being accused of shaming their families, and warned that the use of the Muslim faith to justify oppression and violence was spreading in Britain.

Mr Afzal's comments came at a London conference today in which he spelt out the CPS's determination to bring the "full force of the law" to bear on the minority of Muslims who perpetrated or connived in honourbased violence.

He said that there were estimated to be about a dozen honour killings in Britain each year - and many more incidents of violence and bullying - and expressed concern that the problem was being inflamed by extremist ideology.

"When you talk to women who are victims of this type of behaviour you often find that they will say that their husbands or fathers have been radicalised in the way that they think about women," he said.

"They will use Islam as a justification for telling women how to behave and for punishing them. There is no religious justification for forcing your children to marry or harming them because they behave in a particular way, but there are people out there who are using their faith as a reason to do this.

"In the past, they might have said 'do this because I'm your dad', but when they are radicalised it is making them feel more confident about the way they behave towards the women in their family.

"It is allowing the man to say 'my religion says you must behave this way' and it puts a lot of extra pressure on the women in their families and can make them feel that they should toe the line because it is about faith and their culture. …

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Extremists 'Are Encouraging Violence against Muslim Women'
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