There is a very real issue of violence towards women in British Asian society, but let’s not dress it up as something cultural.
This week’s Panorama, Britain’s Crimes of Honour, made for harrowing viewing. In the space of 30 minutes, the programme recounted horrific murders of women in the UK. There was video footage of Banaz Mahmod, the young Iraqi Kurdish woman from south London whose family murdered her and buried her in a suitcase after she was spotted kissing her boyfriend outside a tube station. There was the grieving mother of Laura Wilson, the teenager from Rotherham who was knifed repeatedly by her boyfriend, Ashtiaq Asghar. Then there was the wedding clip of Nosheen Azam, who came to Sheffield from Pakistan as a young bride and was trapped in an abusive marriage. She was found in her back garden, aflame. Nosheen survived but is brain dead, her body badly burnt. No one knows whether she set herself alight to commit suicide or whether it was attempted murder. Her father, who visits her in a care home, wiped tears from his eyes as he recalled telling her not to leave her husband, for the sake of her family’s pride.