Saturday, 21 November 2009


There’s good news, and then there’s bad news.

Mrs. Northwester brought this to my attention while incandescent about the sentence.

I’ll try (relative) brevity in my commentary for once.

Spared jail, the forced marriage case father who told wife: 'I'll cut out your tongue'

By James Tozer

A muslim who threatened to kill his wife and cut out her tongue after she blocked an arranged marriage for their daughter has been banned from seeing his family.


In the first prosecution of its kind, Aurang Zeb has been convicted of breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order taken out to stop him taking Rozina Akhtar out of Britain to marry.

Also good. Nice precedent. Practical.

But despite his chilling threats he escaped imprisonment and was given community service.

If it’s not shoveling it into wheel barrows on a pig farm while wearing a pink tutu and a yarmulke I’m going to be very, very disappointed.

Last night campaigners condemned the sentence, saying it sent out the wrong message.

'There's clear evidence that this man threatened to kill his wife, so how can he be given community service?' said Shazia Qayum of Karma Nirvana, a group which helps victims of forced marriage.

Yey, Karma Nirvana. Here they are.


'He should have been locked up. The law just isn't strong enough at the moment, and it's time the Government made forced marriage a criminal offence.'

Or just one sensible prosecutor could use the existing laws on rape and false imprisonment. Whatever happened to one law for all, I wonder?

Zeb, a former builder, set up a marriage between Rozina and his brother's son while visiting their native Pakistan when she was just 19.

After returning home to Blackburn, his daughter decided she did not want to go through with it.

His wife, Parveen Akhtar, stepped in, explaining she had been pushed into an unhappy marriage to Zeb 24 years ago and did not want their daughter to suffer the same fate.

Brave woman.

But he insisted Rozina had no choice, saying she was 'dishonouring' the family, magistrates heard.

Using laws on forced marriage introduced last November, police secured one of Britain's first FMPOs against Zeb, 43.

A new but useful thing, it seems. A conservative’s dream.

He was ordered to forfeit his passport and barred from taking Rozina, now 23, to Pakistan.

How about simply marking it ‘For outbound travel only?’

But though he moved out of the family home after February's ruling, he continued stalking them, Blackburn magistrates were told.

He would wait for Parveen in his car outside the house to accuse her of having an affair - which she denied, said Catherine Allan, prosecuting.

The father of two also harassed his son, Nasir Khan, almost running him off the road and demanding he attack Parveen and Rozina.

In one conversation, Zeb said that if Nasir killed them he would 'only get five to seven years' in jail.

Then last month, he rang his wife and told her in a 'very chilling voice' she 'wouldn't dream of what I would do to you', threatening: 'I'm going to kill you and chop off your tongue.'

Miss Allan said: 'Parveen was under no doubts that he would kill her. He became more threatening and unpredictable towards her and the children, and made her life a misery.'

Zeb was arrested and pleaded guilty to harassing his wife, daughter and son.

Okay, that’s enough. Such behaviour is immoral from anyone.

But his solicitor, Basharat Ditta, denied he had tried to make Rozina marry against her will, insisting he had 'traditional Asian' values.

And that’s a defence? I repeat; Such behaviour is immoral from anyone. Daughter tongue-removal has a long and honourable tradition and they’ve go to take it into account in Blackburn? But it didn’t work, so that’s good.

The law 1, cultural relativism 0.

One hand clapping.

Zeb was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work, placed under a 12-month community supervision order and told to pay £85 costs.

Oddly enough, I am indeed very, very disappointed.

Magistrates also imposed a restraining order barring him from contacting his family indefinitely.

Still and all, I could be wrong.

Perhaps he’ll give up harassing them now, and maybe the sentence was enough to deter him. There’s no sign from this article that he might do such things to people other than his family, e.g. a crime passionel that has no chance of occurring under other circumstances. He may have learned his lesson.

Rozina and her mother remained too fearful to speak yesterday.

Or maybe not, it seems.

But Detective Inspector Claire Holbrook, of Lancashire Police, said: 'I hope this sends a very clear message that we will use everything in our power to protect victims who are in fear of being forced into a marriage.'

On balance, though, the principles of punishment and deterrence might have been better served by… well… punishment and deterrence.

While arranged marriages are traditional in many cultures, forced marriage carrying the threat of intimidation or violence is outlawed by Muslim leaders.

That should read: forced marriage carrying the threat of intimidation or violence is outlawed by some exceptional Muslim leaders, and quite a few official pronouncements for the media but everyone knows that it goes on a lot and many tolerate or even approve of it. Actually, it’s all part of a rich and diverse culture that’s enriching our society, and it was brought to Britain on purpose to prove that multiculturalism really works. Plus when they get you to Pakistan or somewhere, all bets are off.

The system of orders was introduced after ministers dropped plans to make forcing someone to marry a crime. More than 70 have been imposed so far.

So a good idea in the circumstances in New Labour’s Britain.

Breaching one is contempt of court and can carry a two-year jail term.

…Or not even 200 days on pig farm given the absence of prison space thanks to Labour’s anti-prison bias and, let’s say, judges’ reluctance to play hardball. So, half-arsed as usual, or a worthy start?


Oh, and as a bonus you can read further analysis of his story from both feminist and moral perspectives in two of our finest tellers of truth here and here.


Edwin Greenwood said...

"If it’s not shoveling it into wheel barrows on a pig farm while wearing a pink tutu and a yarmulke I’m going to be very, very disappointed."

Now look what you've done. I will be reminded of that image each time I pass one of the bearded men in frocks in the street, going about his self-righteous business, as involuntarily as Reggie Perrin associating mention of his mother-in-law with a gambolling hippopotamus.

I wonder if giggling at Muslims in a public place is a hate crime. If it isn't, I'm sure our leaders will promptly stop that gap in the law.

North Northwester said...

"as involuntarily as Reggie Perrin associating mention of his mother-in-law with a gambolling hippopotamus."

Bit of a cock up on the becoming British front?...

DJ said...

'Forced marriage'? Pretty sure we already have a word for when a guy sells somebody to someone else.


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