UK failing Asian girls vulnerable to “honour crime”

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007. 8:29am

David Howarth (Cambridge MP),

I was listening to “File on Four” on Radio Four on Sunday afternoon. It was about “Honour Crime” against British Asian/Muslim women and girls in Britain, what I heard shocked and appalled me and has driven me to write to you.

The programme revealed that the UK state (Police and Education Authorities) are discriminating against women and girls on the basis of race / religion / culture and not protecting Asian/Muslim women against abduction, murder, violence and harassment in the same way as they would white British women and girls.

I believe “honour killings” are murder. According to the programme Inspector Brent Hyatt of the Metropolitan Police was stopped from saying “honour killings are murder” for a time in case it was seen as Islamophobic, and an interviewee on the show said that the police are unwilling to “interfere in families”. I think the police should give preventing murder high propriety regardless of the culture of those under threat (I can hardly believe I’ve got to write that sentence).

I think the UK is failing Asian/Muslim girls who are allowed to “disappear”.

Ann Cryer MP said on the programme: “I really can’t understand why nothing is being done about this, I have had people in the education department saying to me: ‘well you know we can’t be made responsible for girls and their welfare across the globe’, I think they’re all so worried about offending sensitive areas within the Asian community, they’re scared stiff of being called racist or Islamophobic. But for me the most important point of all this is the welfare of young women, and young men for that matter, who were been born and bread in this country. If a white girl was removed from school her parents would be before the courts for aiding and abetting her truancy. I think we should be taking that same line with Asian parents. We shouldn’t be kowtowing to cultural differences. We have to have some system of reporting by the schools to the police to social services and if they’ve been sort of whisked off to Pakistan or wherever I think they have to be brought back actually.”

I generally agree with her point of view, there is certainly a need to look into the cases of those who go missing from school, and to find out if they are safe.

I think there is a need for action at the level of the Westminster Parliament, and I would like to suggest David Howarth supports those MPs already trying to do something to protect these vulnerable people the state is currently abandoning and does all he can to ensure everyone in the UK is being treated as equitable as possible by the state regardless of where they live, and their and their family’s race and religion.

One particular problem highlighted was central government guidance and initiatives not getting to the front line, to teachers.

I think it is important to tackle violent and murderous extremism in all its guises, and this problem should be given a high priority.

I do not require a reply, I just wanted to add my voice to those calling for action in this area and to draw your attention it.

Richard Taylor

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