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Islam The Bigger Tragedy Behind the Assault on Afshan Azad

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    The story of young actress Afshan Azad, assaulted by her brother because her boyfriend was not Muslim, has hit the headlines because she starred in Harry Potter.

    But there are thousands of girls like her every year who aren’t able to tell anyone their story. They don’t just face domestic violence, but are sometimes forced into marriages to avoid any further such embarrassments. In extreme cases she could also be the victim of “shame” based violence.

    Afshan Azad’s ordeal is common, and not just prevalent among Muslims.

    When my mother found out I was dating a Muslim girl while at university, I faced a stern, disapproving talk about how she wouldn’t tolerate me marrying a Muslim girl (yes,most Asian parents are obsessed with marriage). But I got off lightly.

    One night a group of Sikh guys came to our university and stabbed (in the leg) a Muslim guy who had been going out with a Sikh girl. In stark terms they told him to ‘leave our women alone.’

    Indeed, there were gangs of Sikh and Muslim youths who wanted to ‘protect our women’ and aimed to destroy inter-religious relationships. Other Asians kept silent, partly out of fear and partly out of the belief that they had it coming anyway. The Chalvley Boys in Slough and Shere Panjab in Southall, or at least people purporting to belong to them, were a big part of this problem.

    Though prejudice between some Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims goes back decades, even centuries, many of the flashpoints came through urban myths. This was a key one: which apparently urged Muslim men to convert Sikh and Hindu girls in return for money. I suspect it was Al-Muhajiroun. Nevertheless, the myth comes up constantly, sometimes thanks to a compliant media, even though the police claim they’ve never found one such case.

    So there’s little doubt that age-old bigotry is behind this. There are no doubt several cases of Sikh and Hindu girls also being beaten by their brothers for dating Muslim men.

    But the bigger problem is the deeply entrenched misogyny in Asian culture. This isn’t about protecting them, this is about controlling them. It’s always the girls who are asked to remain pure. It’s always the girls who are meant to stay true to the culture while the men can do what they want. It is always the girls who get assaulted for dating men of different religions; the most guys will get are disapproving talks.

    Most Asians don’t want to wake up to this deeply ingrained sexism. Hell, our mothers are as bad as the fathers in mollycoddling the boys while treating the girls as objects who must not sully their reputations by doing anything the community disapproves of.

    Religion is part of the problem too. Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims constantly cite scriptures that say that women are held in the highest regard in their religion. But that is used to simply perpetuate male dominance. The attitude is: ‘look, women are so important to our religion that we must ensure they remain pure. But boys will be boys, right?’

    This attitude was widely prevalent even during the Partition of India and Pakistan.

    So what can be done about it? At its root, very little because attitudes take generations to shift and it is an tricky area to legislate in. But just as successive governments have belatedly woken up to the forced marriage problem, they also need to offer such victims of domestic violence more protection. It is much harder for women to walk away in these cases and the chances of subsequent pressure, threats of violence or forced marriage is high.

    Afshan Azad was brave to report her brother and father to the police because they could have done much worse. But I’ve known of cases where police have ignored pleas by women that they are being threatened with violence. It now looks like the perpetrators are being let off lightly too. This is a disgrace. Unless the law is used to send a message to families, attitudes will take generations to change. There also needs to be better funding for domestic violence crisis centres, which currently face severe funding shortages.

    Lastly, I will point out that domestic violence isn’t just relegated to minorities: it is an endemic problem (along with rape) for our society more broadly. This is one area where the CPS and police need to go further to protect women.

    Nevertheless, these incidents are underpinned by disgusting, sexist cultural attitudes, and it’s about time more of our generation speak out against it.

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/11140


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    Background details: Harry Potter Actress Afshan Azad's Brother Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Her (December 19)

    Kevin Hayes

    LONDON (CBS/AP) The brother of actress Afshan Azad, best known for playing Padma Patil in the Harry Potter movies, has pleaded guilty to assaulting her, allegedly after she met a man who was not Muslim.

    Prosecutor Richard Vardon told Manchester Crown Court that Azad's elder brother, 28-year-old Ashraf, assaulted her apparently over her association with a Hindu man.

    Azad, 22, fled her home after her brother and father threatened to kill her, Vardon said. According to the Daily Mail, Azad was so frightened that she escaped out of her bedroom window.

    According to the paper, Azad refused to testify at the trial.

    Ashraf Azad pleaded guilty for assault and was granted bail on condition he not contact his sister. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21.

    A judge ruled both men were not guilty of threatening to kill the actress.

    http://www.nine-news.net/finance-news/us-breaking-news.php?ex=102[/SIZE]
     

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  3. passingby

    passingby
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    The problem here is that some people expect all the members of their community or group to follow a single norm. All the members of a community which numbers several crores cannot be expected to follow the norm. By very definition a norm is that which is average, it is not the whole.
    The Sikh community now is spread out globally. The girls and boys go out into the world and interact with girls and boys of other communities. Is it reasonable to expect that all of them will have a mental resolve to never let their hearts go out to a person from other community?

    Incidents of romance occurring between Sikh girls and non-sikh boys will continue to take place no matter what we do. What is happening in these cases is a natural phenomenon and we are interpreting it as an aberration.

    What do we do about this in our personal lives? I think the best thing we can do is to bring up our children as responsible, sincere and perceptive beings. Controlling them too much would be wrong. Making them mature, sincere and responsible so that they can take their decisions and accept responsibility for their actions would be the right thing.
     
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Does this person has any knowledge of Sikhism? or he is writing his own fantasies.There are thousands of Sikh Guys who keep uncut hair and wear turban and beard just for the sake of family.Just remove the family pressure in Urban Indian sikh community and You will find barely handful of youth choosing to wear turban Just like what happened in Punjab.So cultural pressure is on both sexes not only on Girls.


    No where in among practising Sikhs prefer that their sons date or marry non sikh women.
    so it goes both ways.
     
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Very good thought from passingby ji

     

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