Archive for June, 2015

Why I’ve Decided to Get an Arranged Marriage

Whenever I tell my friends that I’ve thought about getting married to a guy that my parents will pick for me, I always get the same response.

“Wait a minute, an arranged marriage!?”

“But why? Aren’t you worried!?”

“Last I checked it’s not the 1900s.”

Et cetera, et cetera.

They’re right, it’s definitely not the 1900s anymore. Times are changing and society is moving forward.

Like any other woman, when I was younger I was adamant about being in a love marriage — falling in love and getting married with or without my parents’ approval was the dream, just like in the movies. Of course my parents continuously squashed that idea right out of my head.  I still remember that one day a few years ago when we went out for a lovely family dinner like we do every few weeks. Of course I, being the petulant child that I sometimes am, brought up the topic of matrimony and asked my parents outright why they wanted me to have an arranged marriage. That’s right, I came straight out and asked them. Shocker, right? But I can tell you now that this was the most informative conversation I have ever had with my parents in all my 20-something years of life.

“We just want a happy life for you,” my dad explained to me. I told him that I knew this. Every father dreams of a content life for his children. “But it’s my life. I’m the one getting married, so I should decide who I marry,” I argued back. As a born and bred Canadian, the whole concept of an arranged marriage was unsettling to me.

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A teenager from Walthamstow has been chosen to work with a charity promoting the rights of women and fighting for equality

A young campaigner has been chosen to fight for the rights of women around the world.

Arifa Nasim, 18, is going global to help an international children’s charity after being selected to join the Advisory Panel (YAP) of Plan UK. Eighteen youths from across the UK have been selected to advise the charity on their projects.

The group have a special focus on the organisation’s Because I am a Girl campaign, which focuses on achieving equality. Arifa said: “I want to speak up against honour based violence such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

“I am hugely passionate about educating women as I believe education is an incredibly powerful tool to unlock the infinite potential we have as young women.”

Arifa has already been campaigning in Waltham Forest for a number of years to help end #forcedmarriage, speaking in schools and delivering child protection training.

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The workshops helping women stand up to forced marriage

The Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) is holding workshops across England in an attempt to come up with ideas on how to eradicate the problem.

The Birmingham-based charity, which aims to empower women and girls, is concerned that it still receives calls from teenagers who are being pressurised to marry against their will.

“It is still a huge problem, it is entrenched in culture,” said Faeeza Vaid, MWNUK executive director.

“We all need to be unified to say it [forced marriage] is against the law, human rights and an injustice.” Forced marriage was outlawed in June 2014 in England and Wales. Scotland passed similar legislation in September 2014 and it was made an offence in Northern Ireland in January this year.

Anyone found guilty of forcing a person to wed could face up to seven years in prison. But MWNUK says young people are still being coerced into marriage and incidents are hugely under-reported.

The government’s Forced Marriage Unit says it dealt with 1,267 cases in the UK last year.

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