United Kingdom: Girls Forced into Underage Marriages
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:25 PM

In the London Borough of Islington, girls as young as nine are being forced into marriages. Even though child marriage is illegal in Britain, these marriages are commonly performed by Imams in shariah courts attached to mosques. At least thirty underage girls were forced into marriages in Islington in 2010 according to the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO). The UK's Forced Marriage Unit reported that at least 3,000 girls are forced into marriage every year, especially during summer school holidays. The holidays are also the most common time for girls to be taken abroad for female genital mutilation procedures. The girls are expected to act as wives while continuing to attend primary school. Child brides are more likely to suffer from domestic violence and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the International Center for Research on Women.

Imam Ahmed Saad of Finsbury Park Mosque said, “This is down to ignorance, and ignorant people…It is the practice in their home countries and they don’t want to stop that here, so they will say it’s in the Koran, when it is not. According to Islam, it is entirely unacceptable.”A spokesperson for the Forced Marriage Unit notes that forced marriages of minor children is a criminal matter.


Compiled from: Young girls forced into under-age marriages in London, Digital Journal, (28 March 2012).