University Course in Women, Islam and the Media

19.01.2012

The University of East Anglia has developed a degree module to teach students about women, Islam and the media – topics, which are often found in close conjunction, but, as the Guardian notes, “not always in the happiest of circumstances”. The module with cover a variety of “inflammatory” topics, including veil wearing, arranged marriage and “honour” crimes. A particular focus is on the representation of Muslim women in the media and how this reflects biases in both the east and west. By offering the course, the convenor is hoping to challenge stereotypes often associated with Islam.

Rotterdam to investigate forced marriages

Rotterdam city council suspects that some girls may have been married against their will over the summer. The suggestion stems from a campaign instituted at the end of the last academic term to help girls avoid arranged marriages.

In May, Telegraaf reported that the new measures would allow girls who are worried they may be married against their will to register their concerns through their school. Prior to the school break, girls were given the option of signing a document stating that they did not want to be married. Should they fail to return to school after the break, the document could be used as a basis for formal investigation.

But just three girls made use of the opportunity to sign the document, and all returned to school after the break. According to Telegraaf, before the holiday, eight suspected cases were on the council’s books and a further seven girls have not returned to school. Rotterdam police and the Public Prosecution Office have begun an investigation.

Rotterdam begins memorandum to prevent forced marriages of young girls

The Rotterdam council has begun a trial to prevent girls from being forced into arranged marriages during religious and cultural holiday periods. It is reported that every year, dozens of Dutch girls with Moroccan, Turkish, and Pakistani backgrounds fail to return to the Netherlands after international travels during the holidays. Most of these girls, the council says, are married off in their origin countries without much choice. The council has proposed issuing a declaration in which pupils will be asked to sign indicating whether or not they wish to enter into an arranged marriage. If a pupil is forced against her signed declaration, a school can call the police to begin an investigation. The proposal is borrowed from one in Great Britain, where the initiative has been in practice for some time; if a girl is forced into an arranged marriage, immediate action is taken – the British embassy employs special staff who try to gets the girls back to Britain. While the Netherlands does not have such specialized staff as of yet, the concern over honor-related violence and marriages has been an issue for some time now in Rotterdam, says executive councilor Jantine Kriens. It is believed that dozens of girls are affected each year.

Pakistani girl who jumped from balcony in arranged marriage refusal, ‘wants Italian citizenship’

A 15-year old Pakitani girl jumped from a balcony in the northern Italian town of Alessandria. The act was reportedly connected to her refusal of an arranged marriage with her cousin, a 16-year old Pakistani boy. “My parents had already been in touch with his and told me I would be marrying him. I have nothing against him but I do not love him, the girl said. The girl’s jump was an apparent act of desperation, to escape her parents’ decision. The girl also said that she no longer wants to be Pakistani, but wants to become an Italian citizen. An investigation is being opened into the girl’s desperate attempt.

Pakistani girl who jumped from balcony in arranged marriage refusal, ‘wants Italian citizenship’

A 15-year old Pakitani girl jumped from a balcony in the northern Italian town of Alessandria. The act was reportedly connected to her refusal of an arranged marriage with her cousin, a 16-year old Pakistani boy. “My parents had already been in touch with his and told me I would be marrying him. I have nothing against him but I do not love him,” the girl said. The girl’s jump was an apparent act of desperation, to escape her parents’ decision. The girl also said that she no longer wants to be Pakistani, but wants to become an Italian citizen. An investigation is being opened into the girl’s desperate attempt.

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New help for victims of honour violence

A helpline aimed at providing support for victims of honour-based violence was launched in Huntingdon on Monday. The Choice helpline will be run by specially trained female police officers 24 hours a day and is the second of its kind in the country. Detective Inspector Melanie Dales, who is running the initiative, said “the purpose of the hotline is to provide victims with a confidential way to get in touch with specially trained officers”. Cambridgeshire police receives about eight calls related to honour-based violence each month. A victim of the violence spoke at the launch of the hotline at Cambridgeshire police headquarters in Huntingdon about her ordeal. The woman in her 20s said: “My life was planned for me. I was just waiting for it to happen. I could feel the pressure I had to be the good dutiful Muslim daughter and sister who had no choice but to accept my fate of an arranged marriage and the life that it would bring for me.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=77FB27EC69FBDA8B986DE79F&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News