24 June 2017

Muslim women reject sexism in fight to be heard

.... Ms Saleem knows how dangerous the tolerance of intolerance can be. As a schoolgirl, she lost five years of her life at an Islamic boarding school in Nottingham. Its narrow curriculum and strict Sharia-inspired rules promised to make alimas (Islamic scholars) of its young charges. Instead, Ms Saleem believes it stunted her education and left young girls like her at serious risk of radicalisation.

.... She is astounded at how politicians can talk about tackling extremism but support the segregation of Muslim children along the lines of gender and ethnicity. “Enough is enough?” she scoffs. “Not if you’re alienating and segregating Muslim children — often poor, vulnerable Muslim children, in faith schools.”

.... Ms Khan learnt to her cost the danger of not registering her Islamic marriage at a British register office. A few years later her husband was pressurised by his family to take a teenage cousin from Kashmir as a second wife. “My husband was crying in my arms the night before his wedding,” she said.

After the relationship became violent, she said it took her two years to be granted an Islamic divorce. “I put the blame on the doorsteps of the mosques. All these men, sitting on chairs, acting in judgment. I went around all the Sharia courts — I remember sitting crying in front of the imams after all the beatings and black eyes — but all they wanted was money. We [Muslim women] end up sitting in front of extremists to get a divorce. It makes me very angry.” [The Times (£)] Read more