Forced Marriages in the West
Forcing someone into marriage in England and Wales now carries a maximum of a seven-year jail sentence under a new law that went into effect in June. It also criminalizes forcing a British national into marriage outside of the United Kingdom. This is to prevent families from taking their children to other nations and forcing them to marry. The new law is a result of estimates contained in a consultation paper published in 2011, which estimated there were at least 5,000 to 8,000 cases of forced marriage occurring each year.
A study in Ontario, Canada found 219 cases of forced marriage in a two-year period with a ¼ of the marriages involving people under the age of 18.
We often believe forced marriage is not an issue in more westernized nations, however a report by 60 Minutes in Australia revealed that over the last three years there have been 60 reported cases of forced marriage in Sydney. The Herald Sun reports there are as many as 1,000 forced marriages a year in Australia.
Rania Farrah thought she was going on an exciting vacation with her older brother traveling from her native home of Australia to the pyramids of Egypt, but her vacation turned into a five year nightmare. 60 Minutes of Australia recently featured Rania’s story.
At age 13, her father’s family took Rania captive. One week into the trip, Rania found herself first in Jordan and then eventually in Syria. During her time with her father’s family, Rania was subjected to a virginity test since her father knew that she had started smoking cigarettes and talking to boys. Despite the fact that she was a virgin, she was still beaten by her father and brother. When she told her brother that she had never been with a man, her brother replied, “your dad knows because if he hadn’t believed you, he would have killed you. …it’s common practice over there [Middle East]….it’s quite a normal thing to kill your daughter for not being a virgin.” She describes her father as “the most evil person I have ever met…he’s an awful, awful, awful man.”
Rania was forced into an Islamic lifestyle, going to an Islamic school and learning how to fast during Ramadan. She learned to shut down her emotions and play along with her family. She repeatedly asked her Australian mother to bring her home, only to be repeatedly told to wait. She was engaged to her second cousin that she barely knew.
Eventually she decided to try an escape. A friend gave her the phone number of the British Embassy. The Embassy said they could not help her until she was 18, so on her 18th birthday, Rania crept out of the house while her grandmother slept. She took a taxi to a hotel and met a representative of the British Embassy. She said, “If I didn’t get out I was going to kill myself that day.”
Thankfully after Rania was able to escape back to Australia where she resides today. She remains terrified of her father who has now also returned to Australia with his new wife and children. She has a restraining order against her father who has threatened to kill her, her mother and her sister.
Countless children in Western nations are potential victims of forced marriages. Despite laws in many western nations, numerous parents such as Rania’s father still attempt to preserve family honor by arranging marriages for their daughters. Pray that God will show these parents that just as God chose to love us, people make a choice to love each other. Love cannot be forced.
Many young women who have experienced forced marriage are not as fortunate as Rania and never have the opportunity to leave – rather they are most often subjected to a life of control and hardship. Pray that women in this situation will have opportunities to hear the gospel of Christ and learn of His love for them.
Matt. 9:38 (NIV) directs us to “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Those in forced marriages are part of the Lord’s harvest of souls. Pray and ask Him to open doors and send forth workers to share the truths of God’s kingdom with them – resulting in the salvation of many and lives redeemed for His purposes.
Summer – The “Cutting Season”
Summer break is the time when most children enjoy time away from school. Many of us have happy memories of those days from our childhoods. However, with increased immigration of Muslims into western nations, there is a growing population of schoolgirls that will not remember their summer as a time of happiness. In fact, for some young girls the summer holiday is known as the “cutting season,” because it is the time of year when many young girls undergo FGM – female genital mutilation. FGM refers to the practice of partially or totally removing the external female genitalia, for non-medical reasons.
The procedure is frequently performed without anesthesia by people without any medical training, and with instruments such as scalpels, pieces of broken glass and tin can lids. The practice has no health benefits and can cause health problems including “severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth,” according to the World Health Organization.
One young Kenyan woman describes her experience; “Innocently like a sheep to be taken to a slaughter house, one woman came and told me that I should wake up as it was my day to become a woman…. By that time my mother was nowhere to be seen, at least to see the state I was in and to help me. … According to my community during this fateful day, your mother is not supposed to be present as they believe you will cry and call her for help and as a woman who bears the pain of giving birth, a mother can’t stand to see the pain that you are going through. …they took a piece of cloth, tied it around my eyes and held my head back and then they gave me another piece which they put in my mouth so that I could bite it during the whole process to ease the pain. Two women held my legs and hands so tight that I could not move. Then I felt a very sharp pain between my legs. This was a turning point in my life. The pain I felt can’t be described; thinking of it brings cold shivers inside me.”
Worldwide the UN estimates that 6,000 girls and women are circumcised every day with 140 million women currently living with the consequences of FGM. The countries with the highest rates of FGM are Muslim majority countries even though the practice predates Islam, and is practiced by people from other religious backgrounds.
Even though the practice predates Islam and is practiced by people from other religious backgrounds, the highest incidence of FGM is in Muslim majority countries such as Indonesia (86%), Sudan (89%), and Egypt (90%).
It is important to realize that many of the victims in western nations are immigrants who had the procedure done while still living in their former nation. British authorities estimate that more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at high risk of FGM (female genital mutilation) in England and Wales. The European parliament estimates that 500,000 girls and women in the European Union are living with FGM with approximately another 180,000 girls in Europe at risk of undergoing the procedure. Britain has had at least 66,000 women and girls who have experienced this practice and Australia’s Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital reported approximately 700 cases of FGM. Between 150-200,000 of women and girls in the United States are at risk of having this done. The practice has increased by 35% in the U.S. since 1996. Again, the majority has experienced this procedure before they immigrated to the western nation.
Most Western nations have laws against the practice of FGM, and the United States and Britain have laws prohibiting the transporting of a girl abroad for the purpose of undergoing FGM.
As difficult as it is to hear of this, it is so important that we as believers declare that communities will be awakened to the horrors of this cultural practice and realize the harm this procedure can cause women. Pray that those who have undergone the procedure will have the courage to speak out clearly so others do not have to suffer.
Pray that the authorities in western nations will have the necessary laws in place to be able to stop those who attempt to take their daughters abroad to be circumcised.
This procedure is physically painful and emotionally traumatizing. God has promised them in Psalm 147:3 that, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Ask the Lord to bring His healing and comfort to the victims of FGM and reveal His Son Jesus to their hearts.
Ramadan 2013 – Day 7 – An Epidemic of Rape
Last month six teenage boys, aged 15 to 17 from a Muslim community in Sweden were sentenced for the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in a Stockholm. Because the perpetrators were minors, they received a very light sentence of community service and the payment of damages ($8,500 each) to the victim. Four of the boys confessed, but they denied they had committed any crime. In another Swedish gang rape, a 29-year-old mother of two ended up in an asylum in a wheelchair suffering from “mental distress” and fecal incontinence after having endured a rape marathon that lasted for seven hours. The convicted rapists were seven Muslim Afghan refugees who repeatedly raped her vaginally, anally and orally while cheering and calling her “slut” and “whore.” Their sentences ranged only from 4 to 6 years.
Sweden is the second highest rape capital of the world, and it is estimated that 1 out of every 4 Swedish women will be raped. Last summer in Stockholm, there was an average of five rapes reported each day. These statistics have skyrocketed with the increase of immigrants from Islamic countries. Muslims make up only about 6% of the Swedish population, but statistics reveal they commit 77.6% of all crimes.
This epidemic is not limited to Sweden. In Oslo, Norway 100% of all rape cases solved by the police from 2007-2010 were committed by immigrant Muslim men, and nine out of ten of their victims were native Norwegians. In June, Scottish police made 37 arrests and identified 108 further potential victims and perpetrators of two “large scale” child sex rings. The police report a “significant proportion” of “ethnic minority offenders” which is oftentimes how Muslims offenders are identified due to fear of offending Muslim populations. This case follows the May conviction of seven Muslim men for being a part of a child sex trafficking ring that lasted over eight years in Britain.
The Sydney gang rapes by a group of up to 14 Lebanese Australian Muslims in 2000 prompted the passage of new laws increasing the sentences for gang rapists. In another case of gang rape by Pakistani Muslims in Australia, one rapist serving a 22 year long sentence admitted, “…at that time when I commit these offences I come from such a background which led me to.” According to FrontPage Magazine, “In the view of Islam, when a man rapes an immodestly dressed woman, the rape isn’t his fault but hers; and when a Muslim rapes an infidel in the ‘House of War,’ it’s recognized as a form of jihad.”
Immigrant Muslim males have been raised since birth to think of women as inferior. Overall women are given a low status in the Qur’an. PoliticalIslam.com estimates that 71% of the Qur’an and 93% of the Hadith subjects women to a lower status than men. In addition when Muhammad would conquer other people, he allowed his followers to take women as prisoners of war. These women became slaves and as such Muslim men were allowed to have sex with them. (Sura 70:22-30, Sura 23:5,6; Sura 4:24; Sura 33:50).
For those who respect and value women it is difficult to read this information. However, it is very important to understand what many women, even those in western nations are facing so we can speak out on their behalf and protect them.
Pray for the victims of this violent trauma – for healing of not only their physical bodies, but for their hearts and emotions. Pray that God will raise up Christian counselors to help these women walk through the healing process.
Pray also for the perpetrators – those violating the women and committing these acts of violence. Though they must be held accountable for their actions, they need to hear His truth on how women are to be treated. Ask God to reveal Himself to them, lead them to Christ and teach them His ways.
Pray that western media and governments will be honest and expose this root of rape jihad taking place in their nations.