Birmingham Central Mosque heard details of a teenager’s horrific forced marriage last year it has emerged – days after trustees denied dealing with any such cases.
The 18-year-old had been ordered to marry her 30-year-old cousin in Pakistan after being repeatedly being beaten by her parents and was warned she would die unless she agreed. But the brave victim later managed to escape the marriage and enlisted the help of the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) to represent her at a Sharia divorce hearing, based at the mosque.
Yet mosque trustees denied dealing with any forced marriage cases this week in a statement defending its under-fire Chairman Muhammad Afzal.
The statement followed a complaint from Shaista Gohir, chair of MWNUK, who said Mr Afzal had denied forced marriages were an issue during a meeting with her group in December. She also alleged he stated more men than women were victims of domestic violence. City councillor Mr Afzal was forced to stand down as Lord Mayor elect on Monday after being caught on tape calling David Cameron an Islamophobe at a protest meeting about Prevent terrorism legislation and planned Ofsted inspections of madrassas.