Government targets forced marriages

Increased punishment and the expulsion of imams among the efforts aimed at curbing forced religious marriages

November 26th, 2012 8:59 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Updated: 28/11/2012, 13:16. After government's final announcement some of the facts have been changed. The headline was also changed to reflect that the government was targeting forced marriages, not simply religious Muslim marriages.

TV2 News reported this evening that the government will announce a package tomorrow aimed at curbing forced Muslim marriages.

The legislation will make it easier to expel imams who carry out forced religious marriages, and increase the maximum sentence to four years for those found guilty of forcing others to marry.

TV2 News interviewed a Danish citizen of Moroccan decent, 'Sarah', who revealed how she had been taken to Morocco at the age of 15 and forced to marry her cousin.

"I was totally dead during that period; I wasn't myself," Sarah told TV2, adding that she was forced to engage in intercourse with her new husband on their wedding night. "My aunt told me that the guests would not go home until they saw blood on the sheets." 

Sarah, however, warned against associating forced marriages with Islam, saying: "In Islam, it says in black and white that one must not force a person to marry another."

Still, her experience is one of the reasons the government is pushing for tougher legislation. 

"Everyone should have the same rights when they live in Denmark, regardless of whether they have Muslim parents," the social affairs and integration minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), told TV2 News. "Everyone should have the same rights to freedom, and that is what we want to help people achieve."

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt foreshadowed the proposal during her opening speech to parliament in October, saying that the government would increase punishments for forced marriages to "show young people that we are on their side". 

Although it was reported earlier this year that there had not been a single conviction for forced marriages since the former Venstre-Konservative government increased the punishment in 2008, LOKK, the association of women’s crisis centres, said that the number of women seeking help – either because of a pending forced marriage or the threat of one – rose six-fold between 2005 and 2010 from 101 women to 660.

A representative for the Dansk Islamisk Center told TV2 that his organisation welcomed the government's proposal. 

Boat with syrian refugees off the coast of Sicily. (Photo: Vito Manzari from Martina Franca)
This Week’s Editorial: Tricky law followed by a piece of cake
Integration is the name of the game. The refugees are here – or on their ...
Fairies, batmen and ninjas gathered to participate in the old Danish tradition of beating the barrel
Kids Corner: Faster prep might be needed for the annual kids shinding
Fastelavn on 7 February is extremely early this year – actually the earli...
Christianity's most revered warrior tends to be Archangel Michael (photo: Luca Giordano (1632–1705)
How Christianity portrayed Jesus as a warrior to woo the Vikings
Despite more than 80 percent of Danes associating themselves with the Evang...
Snowden's trip back to the US had been arranged (photo: Elena Polio)
Justice minister admits that rendition plane was sent for Snowden
The justice minister, Søren Pind, has admitted for the first time that Cop...
YouSee goes full digital on February 9 (photo: YouSee)
YouSee haemorrhaging customers
Due to steep prices and better streaming offers elsewhere, the TV and inter...
In the period between 1978 and 2010, some 104 transgender Danes were approved for a sex reassignment surgery by the Sexological Clinic at Rigshospital (photo: iStock)
Waiting for surgery puts transgender people in Denmark under extreme pressure
A study published in the scientific magazine Journal of Sexual Medicine has...