Forced marriage is an issue that unfortunately affects the lives of a significant number of women in the UK. The impact of forced marriage is often so severe that it can leave lasting emotional – and sometimes physical - scars on its victims. While the lines between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage are often blurred, it is important to understand the difference. An arranged marriage is a cultural practice, involving the voluntary union of a man and a woman. Forced marriage lacks any sort of choice. A forced marriage is a clear violation of the human rights of those coerced into a union they did not choose.
Survivors have reported feeling trapped between two cultures and being made to feel like a source of shame to their family and their community if they seek to end their marriage. And if they do not manage to overcome these feelings, they often end up staying in what can be an abusive marriage.
The fight against forced marriage
Within Islam, however, the line is clear; forced marriage is wholly incompatible with the principles of Islam. In the Qur’an, God instructed Muslims that women should not be ‘inherited’ against their will, while the prophet (PBUH) also made clear that women must be consulted on their marriage and must give their permission.
At WARN, we want to help all women in the fight against forced marriage. Your parents or your family might be forcing you to marry because they believe this is the best thing for you and for them; this does not make it right and you can always get help. Our workshops on the ‘Right to Say No’ will show you how. We delve deeper into case studies and looking closely at Qur’anic verses, jurisprudence (fiqh) and crucial historical examples of female role models in Islam. This includes Khadija Bint Khuwalid, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammed, who exercised her own choice of a spouse, among many other strong female figures. We’re here to equip you with the information you need to defend your human rights.
All women must be able to make a choice about their lives and their future. And this is our mission.
At WARN, our mission is to fight radicalisation through education, empowerment and engagement. Women have the power to educate future generations, inspire change and protect vulnerable people against the evils of radicalisation.