The Independent London Newspaper


Islington girls forced into marriage at the age of nine

Dianna Nammi of the The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

TRIBUNE INVESTIGATION: Imam condemns ordeal of youngsters still in primary school amid alarming number of abuse cases

Finsbury Park Mosque imam Ahmed Saad

Published: January 27, 2012

AN alarming number of under-age girls – some as young as nine – are being forced into marriage in Islington, according to a leading campaign group.

The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) claim that at least 30 girls in the borough  were forced into marriage in 2010.

The practice was condemned by the Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, who said such marriages were against Islam and “unacceptable”.

He pledged to invalidate any marriage which he said were carried out by “back-street Imams”.

IKWRO, which made headlines last month when they revealed there had been almost 3,000 “honour-based” violence cases in 2010, has shown the Tribune records which revealed at least three 11-year-old girls and two nine-year-olds had been forced into marriage with older men within Islington. The oldest girls involved were 16.

They have warned that hundreds of Islington girls could be suffering sexual, emotional and physical scars as a result of the child marriages every year and are calling for teachers, social workers and police to be better trained to spot and manage the abuse.

Information from the Ministry of Justice, following a Freedom of Information request, revealed that 32 Forced Marriage Protection Order applications were made for children under 16 in Britain last year.

Six of these were made for under-16s within Islington at the Royal Courts of Justice, although these were not necessarily made for Islington residents.

At the Islington court, “five or fewer” orders were made to protect children between the ages of 9-11.

The orders are a form of injunction that threaten legal punishment if marriage takes place due to emotional or physical force.

In most cases, the children fear they will be killed if they reveal the truth to anybody, while others believe they will be separated from their families and taken into social services’ care.

Dianna Nammi, director of IKWRO, explained that the girls are married in a mosque’s sharia court. This means they are not legally married according to British law, rendering the Home Office unable to recognise or prove the abuse.

“They are still expected to carry out their wifely duties, though, and that includes sleeping with their husband,” she said.

“They have to cook for them, wash their clothes, everything. They are still attending schools in Islington, struggling to do their primary school homework, and at the same time being practically raped by a middle-aged man regularly and being abused by their families. So they are a wife, but in a primary school uniform.

“The reason it doesn’t get out is because they are too terrified to speak out, and also the control their families have over them is impossible to imagine if you’re not going through it. The way it is covered up is so precise, almost unspeakable.”

Ms Nammi said that one 13-year-old had to sneak out of a maths lesson to contact the group, because she was being monitored so closely by her family.

“Her teacher didn’t notice because she said she’d gone to the toilet, but when she got home that day she was beaten,” she said.

“Her father knew she hadn’t been in maths because he had sent an uncle to spy on who she was talking to through the classroom window.”

Ms Nammi said that the girls are married off to family friends or family members to stop them from losing their virginity to anyone not chosen by their father.

However, the incentive is also often financial.

“The girl automatically becomes her husband’s property, so he takes financial responsibility for her,” said Ms Nammi.

“In fact, often the husband has to start contributing to the girl’s family, so it becomes a way of bringing in another salary.

“Who are girls going to tell? Often they feel like teachers at school won’t understand what their families are like. They will think they’re like Western families, and won’t understand that if they pass on anything at all that they’ve been told to the family, then the girl will be killed. So they just chose not to tell at all.”

IKWRO offers counselling and support to the children, but does not force them to take any action until they are ready. Often, that involves being placed in social services’ care.

Finsbury Park Mosque imam Ahmed Saad said he was glad the issue was being highlighted, and stressed that it was not an Islamic problem, but a cultural one.

“This is down to ignorance, and ignorant people who will use any excuse they can to do this to their children,” he said.

“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.

“My own grandmother was married at the age of 11, but that was in 1907 in Egypt when lifespans were much shorter.

“I have heard of this happening in Islington by back-street imams. They are imams who have little knowledge of Islam – they are not educated, and they simply lead prayers, and yes they will do this and it is very quietly kept a secret with no one admitting to it.

“Islam says both parties must truly consent in their hearts, and if the girl was forced into it in any way then she can invalidate her Sharia marriage with or without the husband’s permission.

“I will personally do that for anyone who comes to me. This is simply child abuse, as a child does not know what they are doing.

“My heart goes out to the girls.”

Imam Saad explained that Sharia law stated an individual can marry when they begin puberty, with the most important stipulation being that they are “rushd”, or mature enough to understand marriage.

A spokesman for the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said he was “unsure” whether the lack of legal status of the marriages affected whether the they could intervene or not, but directed the Tribune to government practice guidelines on dealing with forced marriage.

The spokesman added that due to the lack of legal status the marriages may be a “criminal matter that only the police can deal with”, but admitted to it being "”a very grey area”.

The FMU guidelines state: “It is probable that children’s social care will play a key role in protecting the interests of the child or young person. This can be achieved not only by arranging practical help such as accommodation and financial support, but also by co-operating and working with other agencies such as police, health and education professionals.”

A Turkish and Farsi speaking adviser at IKWRO, said while that the Islington Police’s domestic violence co-ordinators were “brilliant” at dealing with the cases, front-line officers “can make things worse by not being sensitive because they don’t really understand what’s going on”.

“When they try and speak to the child’s parents they often have a language barrier,” she said.

“Too often they don’t bother to call an interpreter so they don’t talk to the parents at all about what they’re doing, until it goes to court much later. A common complaint we have is that it depends on who you are, too – some women say that when they’re from poorer families the police don’t take them as seriously.”

Bride at 12 – ‘I have to be a wife to him...’

ROJIN – this is not her real name – told a Tribune reporter how she had been forcibly married at the age of 12 to a 32 year-old man. She said she grew up in Finsbury Park where she lived with her parents from the Middle East.

After her “marriage” she said she was placed in care and then allowed to live with friends.

“I was forced by my dad,” she said. “He didn’t beat me or anything, he told me I was useless, no one would ever accept me anyway so I’d better just marry while someone wanted me because it wouldn’t happen again.

“I thought that if I didn’t do it I would just be taken away and married anyway, so it was better to co-operate and at least get to stay in England.

“Also, if I co-operated then if my husband treated me badly at least my family would support me against him. But if I said no, they’d say I was bringing shame on the family and wouldn’t support me no matter what he did, because I would have made them angry.

“My parents sorted out an imam to marry us quite quickly. The first one they approached said no, the next one said yes, and this was in Islington. I met my husband three days before my wedding, which only my close family was invited to.

“We were married in my parents’ house.

“He was a 37-year-old man from Birmingham [the Tribune understands he had come from the Middle East]. I told my parents that I had fallen in love with him and I was doing it for myself because my mum felt bad about what they were doing to me. That night I had to go to his flat and sleep with him because that’s what marriage is.

“But I didn’t want to. After that I told my husband I didn’t want to look at him or talk to him. I didn’t want him sitting next to me, standing next to me, nothing. He got frustrated and said that I had to sleep with him because I was his wife, but I said if he forced himself on me then I would call the police and tell them everything.

“After my mum died I was taken into care. I told my social worker about everything, but I missed out the bit about sleeping with him.

“Social services have no understanding of Islam, and they don’t know that for me, as a Muslim, I am still his wife because we were married by an imam and we have not divorced. So I still text him and want to go to see him because I have to as a wife.

“This is more of a marriage to me than a legal one because it’s by Allah. In my mind I know I have to still be a wife to him till he finally divorces me or I feel something bad will happen to me, or my mum, who is now dead, will have shame on her name.

“He refuses to divorce me, though. Friends have said they’d be happy to come with me to the mosque for a divorce to say yes to it.

“I live with friends so I don’t have to sleep with him, cook for him, nothing like that. He can’t beat me, and no one can kill me here, but I am trapped as his wife.

“Even when I am an adult and leave, I’ll have to go back to him as his wife until one day he finally grants me a divorce.”

The Tribune has been unable to authenticate what this girl told us.
We have seen a record kept by the Women’s Rights body (IKWRO) stating she had been placed in care but there did not appear to be independent evidence that this had taken place.
We stress this is the story of a 12-year-old girl as told to this newspaper.


Islamic Pedophilia.

Is this England or some backward 3rd world country? Pretty soon it will hard to tell them apart!!!!!

How on earth would you allow

How on earth would you allow this?? All in the name of "religion" Strange world we live in!
Woman should get more freedom and that counts for every religion in the world, not only islam!
Why are men so afraid and try to hold woman down ...

Child Rape

By the way there are 12-13 having sex before marriage and getting pregnant all over the country. Just another angle to the arguement that's all. Is this any worse than those 11/12 year olds, some even younger, unmarried but having children?? By the way these 12-13 yr old kids are native Brits and not Muslims. Shock shock horror! Its interesting that there is outrage and rightly so but underage sex is virtually the norm in the country.Just look at the number of kids having sex and teenage pregnancies. Why the hypocrisy. So if chav teenagers want to start having sex at 12 and then have new sexual partners every few weeks for years and years until they have lost count, that's fine, but if a girl consents to marry at 12 that's somehow evil? Sorry, I don't buy that. If being with a person of the same sex is fine then why is it wrong to be with a person under 16? I thought it was live and let live? Has any parent who has allowed their under-16 daughter to sleep with her boyfriend in their home ever been prosecuted, even though there must be thousands of examples occurring every night? Every day numerous teenagers are allowed into each others bedrooms by liberal parents without an eyelid being batted. Teenagers are having sex the choice is whether it is on wedlock or not.
People complaining about this when British teens get pregnant at 15 not knowing who the father is? Hypocrites.

What about the 12/13 year olds who get pregnant and have babies? What about gypsy brides who marry at a young age.. Yet again you uneducated, negative miserable Brits are so quick to pass judgement and make negative comments .. The lowest age in Christian marriage was 4 it was performed in the early 1800s. When teens get pregnant at 15 not knowing who the father is, a lot of the time the act of sleeping with someone was their choice.

Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution beg to differ. Plenty of young girls have had, are having and will continue to have babies, enough of them will be pushing prams down your high street this morning, most of whom will not be Muslim. If they weren't capable, they wouldn't be able to have them. As for being psychologically prepared - what has age to do with psychology? Don't forget, the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10 - which means, that were a ten year old to commit an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, they would be deemed culpable. So, please don't start talking about biology, psychology or anything scientific. This is not about science, it is about the Law and religion.
I don't see any uproar when people of that age have sex.

British girls can have have sex have abortions have alcohol problmes behaviour problems but muslims girls decide to get married respectfully and have sex and have children and be happy with both families is a problem in Britian? If Muslim parents would make their daughters think this is right thing to is still much better than what British teenage girls do with their lives. I don't think of British people to be so double standard and with such a little intelllect? hmmm..

Many Muslims do not see the issue of forced or child marriage as a 'debatable' Sharia issue at all, but a Muslim's right or even his obligation. Opinions vary between Sects and Imams. One Muslim cannot speak for all Muslims it would appear as the Muslims on this site have said 'this is not Islam'. Well clearly it is. Maybe not your Islam but others are lining up waving flags for these ideas.
Iftikhar Ahmad

The Problem

The problem with legitimising paedophilia by writing it into the law of some culture and then legitimising its wholesale practice as normal by referring to specifics of unacceptable practices in other cultures is that it leaves those who believe the teachers of the culture confused, as the internet is now here and there are so many live videos etc of the true nature of what the culture is and the young ones over time will wake up to what it is all about and seek for the real meaning of life and the one true deity.

Muslim girls 'decide' to get

Muslim girls 'decide' to get married at 9? Really? Do they make such life-changing decisions at that pre-pubescent age? The fact that a few natives may get pregnant early doesn't detract from the fact that marrying a minor in this country is ILLEGAL. Until Sharia Law is applied over here (God forbid!) it will remain illegal. You don't seem to be able to see the huge difference between allowing for mistakes and legalizing paedophilia.
"the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10". Yes. And the age of consent is 16. And no religious belief will change that. Teenagers are allowed in each other's bedroom: maybe, but at least they are amongs themselves. Also, in case you don't know, a teenager -as the name suggests- is someone aged between 13 and 19. So, 9 to 12 years old are not regarded as a teenagers.
I don't deny there is a problem of young single mothers in this country, but the issue here is completely different. The article talks about 9 and 11 years old girls (again, not teenagers and way beneath the age of consent) being ''forced into marriage with older men" and that "in most cases, the children fear they will be killed if they reveal the truth to anybody". Spot the difference.
The Finsbury Park Mosque imam Ahmed Saad said “This is down to ignorance, and ignorant people who will use any excuse they can to do this to their children,” and “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." Really? Where does it say that in the Quran? Because I thought Mohammed married his 3rd wife Aisha when she was 6 and the marriage was consummated when she was 9. Still talking about teenagers?

sharia law books discuss sex with pre-pubescent girls.

"Really? Where does it say that in the Quran? "

Muslim PR spokesmen will play games of half-truths. He is right that it does not say it in the koran. However, islam is more than the koran (a koran-only muslim cannot even do Ramadan, as the details for calculating that are murky and found in ahadiths, not the koran). WHENEVER you hear a muslim say something "is not in islamic because it is not in the koran" you are being misled.

Indeed, the "moderate" Imam says 'Sharia law stated an individual can marry when they begin puberty, with the most important stipulation being that they are “rushd”, or mature enough to understand marriage.' So, here he is contradicting himself. 40% of young muslims in Britain want sharia law. Let's assume these muslims are as educated about islam as an atheist such as I. That means 40% of young British muslims approve of such child-rape-in-forced-marriage.

Furthermore, this Imam is not even being totally honest about sharia law and puberty. Manuals of sharia law (recommended by muslims on islamic websites, and found in public libraries in muslim enclaves of England) make it clear that there are rules regarding a man divorcing a PRE-PUBESCENT wife. These rules ONLY apply if he has had sex with her. Prove it to yourself by finding a free PDF copy of "Reliance of the Traveller" on the internet. Go and look at section n9.1 and n9.2.

Have you noticed, that despite these horrific religiously-motivated child-rapes happening only 5 miles from Westminster, in a borough with many media-luvvies, the story has been totally suppressed from the national news.

If these...

If these people want to live in England, or America, or any modern, civilized society, they need to follow the laws of that society, or get out. Child abuse is not legal...we can't do anything about what they do in their homelands.

Religion is not above the law...

"A spokesman for the Forced

"A spokesman for the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said he was “unsure” whether the lack of legal status of the marriages affected whether the they could intervene or not"

Surely this spokesman would know that anyone sleeping with an under 16 year-old is committing an offence? So why didn't the reporter challenge this point, rather than report it without question?

This is lazy journalism of the worst kind.

Islington girls forced into marriage at the age of nine

Not only lazy journalism, which has become the norm when trying to avoid mention of the ever-growing elephant in the room which is the influence of Islam on UK society, but certainly very lazy and stupid policing. This attitude has been partly responsible for the police's failure to act in Muslim-perpetrated child grooming cases.

If we are forbidden by stupid interpretation of political correctness and multiculturalism from NAMING what is going on in no uncertain times, then the pluralistic UK is finished.

NAME it for heaven's sake! It's true so don't be gagged!

Underage brides

How on earth can Ahmed Saad say this is a cultural issue and not an Islamic one when these marraiges are carried out by Imams, or in Sharia courts?

It's not an Islamic one,

It's not an Islamic one, forced marriage is prohibited in Islam

The Forced Marriage Unit says

The Forced Marriage Unit says these are not "forced marriages" because they are not recognised as marriages.

16 is the age of consent in the UK. These girls are being raped. And the socialist and feminist luvvies are standing by and allowing it to happen, because it's not happening to their kids.

It is a form of racism to allow these things to happen.

Child rapists

"They are still attending schools in Islington, struggling to do their primary school homework, and at the same time being practically raped by a middle-aged man regularly"

Not "practically raped". That IS rape: the ongoing, monstrous rape of a child.

Words practically fail me. That this is happening under noses must shame our authorities.

And why is it that child abuse and religion invariably go hand in glove?

Sad for these young child brides.

The same reason that religion and oppresison of women go hand in hand. There is something wrong and broken with the system. I am sure God has no interest in marrying Underage girls to pedophiles in the name of Islam and I am equally certain God has no interest in allowing the Catholic Church to absolve its Priests of raping Alter Boys.

child rape

and where are the child protection police and social services

forced marriage

Oh, the social services are 'PC'! They have no clue and worse they really don't care...they say "Oh, that's their way, their culture, their religion". How sad. This is what it has come to and worse...'honour' abuse and killings.

Child Marriage

This is awful. How sad for this young girl to face such an ordeal. The man responsible needs to be charged with abducting a minor. Marriage of a person under 16 years of age is unlawful and anyway marriage must be by free consent of the individuals concerned. The law is for the protection of society, then use it.

Stuart Broughton

I can't see a 12 year old

I can't see a 12 year old making this up?

Protecting Children is a Nation's Responsibility

I am grateful that in the Bible, God gives women a place of respect and honor. Women, as well as men, are also leaders in the Bible.

I am grateful that in the Bible, children are regarded as gifts from God - to be PROTECTED.

Islington Girls Forced Marriages

So the FMU doesn't feel able to intervene - where are the social workers who are so zealous in other areas?

Thank you, Iman Saad. You

Thank you, Iman Saad. You sound like a decent chap.

How do the Lefties like them apples?

What excuses we will hear next from the Cultural Marxists within the Upper Middle Class Liberal Intellectual Ruling Elite who forced political correctness on this country along with unlimited mass migrations of alien unassimilable cultures?

Clearly not all cultures are equal; some are more equal than others.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, will doubtless be response of said Lefties I'm sure...


I don't know why we Western countries continue to import those whose values are so alien to us.

Child Rape

This is child rape in any civilized society and the penalties should be harsh. A slap on the wrist won't put an end to it.

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