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December 17, 2014 / 25 Kislev, 5775
 
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Muslim Forced Marriages in Spain

Mosque in Spain

Mosque in Spain
Photo Credit: Luis García/Wikimedia Commons

Police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia have intervened to prevent the forced marriage of a 13-year-old girl belonging to a Muslim immigrant family from Morocco.

The girl was one of nine reported victims of forced marriage in Catalonia during the first six months of 2012. Seven of the reported cases involved minors, but in several instances when police were alerted, they were unable to intervene in time to prevent the marriages from taking place.

Catalan police, known locally as Mossos d’Esquadra, have reported a cumulative total of more than 50 forced marriages involving minors since the regional government began compiling official data in 2009. Police, however, say this figure represents only “the tip of the iceberg“; many victims are unaware of their rights and most of the cases go unreported.

The issue of forced marriage is especially acute in Catalonia, where the Muslim population has skyrocketed in recent years. Catalonia, a region with 7.5 million inhabitants, is now home to an estimated 400,000 Muslims, up from 30,000 in the 1980s.

The Muslim population in many Catalan towns and cities now exceeds 20%; and the town of Salt, near Barcelona, where Muslim immigrants now make up 40% of the population, has been dubbed the “new Mecca of the most radical Islamism” because of efforts by Muslims to enforce Islamic Sharia law there.

According to Catalan officials, the majority of forced marriages in Catalonia involve Muslim girls from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The majority of the cases involve immigrants from Morocco, followed by Pakistan, Gambia, Guinea and Senegal. Marriages are often arranged with a cousin or another family member to continue the tradition, to prevent the Europeanization of the girls, or to pay outstanding debts.

According to Catalan police, four of the cases of forced marriages during the first six months of 2012 occurred in the Catalan province of Gerona, one of the most heavily Islamized regions of Spain. Police say they were able to prevent only two of the four weddings. Three of the others occurred in the city of Barcelona, and two were within the province of Barcelona. All nine involved Muslim immigrants.

Children, on their own initiative, have even approached the police for help. The situation involving the 13-year-old girl, for example, began in January 2012, when the girl’s mother, with whom the child had been living in Gerona, died, and the father, who was residing in neighboring France, took the girl to live with him in Toulouse.

Once in France, the girl discovered that her father was planning to marry her off to a man in Morocco in early July. The girl alerted police in Toulouse, who transmitted the information to the Spanish consulate in the city. Spanish authorities then devised a scheme in which the girl persuaded her father to take her to Gerona on the pretext of completing some official paperwork. Once across the border in Spain, police arrested the father, and the girl was transferred to a foster home in Gerona.

As forced marriage is not an offense under the Spanish Criminal Code, police have been trying to use other legal avenues such as pursuing crimes involving sexual assault, unlawful detention, gender violence and kidnapping. In the instance of the 13-year-old, police determined that the girl was being subjected to physical violence, and arrested the father for child abuse. But as is often happens in Spain, the judge overseeing the case ordered the father to be released from jail.

Many reports of forced marriages of children reach police through schools: victims often confide in a trusted teacher. In one such case in 2011, police in the Barcelona suburb of L’Hospitalet arrested a 27 year old Moroccan man for forcibly marrying a minor.

The case came to public attention after a former teacher of the girl, who lives in the same apartment complex as she, alerted the police. A subsequent investigation found that the girl’s family had taken a trip to Morocco where the child was forced to marry against her will. Once back in Spain, the girl contacted the teacher, who then called the police.

Investigators found that the girl was being detained in her new husband’s apartment against her will and that she was a victim of rape. Once again, the judge hearing the case ordered the husband released from jail.

About the Author: The writer is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.


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9 Responses to “Muslim Forced Marriages in Spain”

  1. Mary Ryan says:

    What does "Almighty God, creator of heaven & earth have to say about this abomination…"But whoever causes one of these little ones, who believe in me to sin (do wrong), it would be better for him if a millstone wre hung around his neck, and he be cast into the sea…Woe to the world because of offenses! For the offenses must come but woe to that man/woman by whom the offense comes..Matt.18:6-7 Can't get much plainer then that…

  2. ITS ALL ABOUT NUMBERS…YOUNG FERTILE GIRLS, MAKE MORE MUSLIMS

  3. Forced marriage and honour killing is nothing to do with Islam. If you do not want to see and hear about forced marriages and honour killing than you must provide faciltities for all Muslim children to be educated in state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.

    This type of crime has nothing at all to do with Islam. This disgusting murder was not based on Islam and things like forced marriages and honour killings are usually cultural. This murder was all because the parents were embarrassed that their daughter didn’t want to conform to their culture which is is probably one of the worst killings as it just shows the lack of love you show to the people you’re supposed to have unconditional love for. Islam would never allow this sort of killing. As a Muslim, I can truthfully say honor killings and arranged marriages are not allowed in Islam. Permission is needed from both parties before a marriage to make it valid in Islam. People in all sections of the society are trapped in their cultural past. Some cope with it better than others. In Christianity punishment for adultery is stoning. Our society and the legal system has adapted to the life of sin which is now a norm and so is the same sex marriages. It is a sad story. The society’s should have been geared up to resolve these conflicts to save these tragedies.

    In short, you are using a regretable incident and exagerate its importance and its impact on society to slander a whole ethnic group. I bet you couldn’t care less about these poor girls: all you are interested in is to spread you hatred message day after day on this forum.

    Anti Islam propoganda in the Western media for the past 20 years, which accellerated after the 911, is having the opposite effect. Some educated people in the West mainly out of curiosity want to learn what Islam is about. When they approach their research with an open mind, probably most of them form positive impressions about Islam and some of whom rightfully convert. In the USA after the events of 911, convertions to Islam pheonominally increased maily in amongst the educated white community and a large majority of them were females.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  4. Honour killing and female infanticide come from Pagan-Hindu-Judeo-Christian traditions. Hindus idolise women as Goddesses on one hand, while downgrading them on the sly at the same time. There is nothing in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths that may encourage people to kill their daughters. Infact, Islam came to abolish the dark ages of Pagan- Hindu –Judeo- Christian traditions. Islam is a matter of choice and there is no compulsion at all. It is a misconception that forced marriage and honour killing are part of Muslim culture. Forced marriage, honour killing and genital mutilation are rare practices among migrant communities. Muslim migrants are worried about institutional racism, binge drinking, drug addiction, incivility, gun and knife crimes, high rate of abortions and teen age pregnancies. An average of 20 English girls under the age of 16 falls pregnant every day. Muslim parents do not want their children to be integrated into such barbarity. Muslim women feel torn between two cultures, thanks to the British education system with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. It makes their lives very confusing.

    The tragedy of forced marriage and honour killing could have been avoided if the poor girls were educated in a single sex state funded Muslim schools by female Muslim teachers. Educational attainment rises quite significantly if boys and girls are educated separately. The tragedies are an eye opener for all those Muslim parents who send their children to state schools where they are exposed to non-Muslim teachers who have no respect for Islamic faith and Muslim community and do not understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children. Muslim schools are crucial for Muslim children because western education makes a man/woman stupid. The hypocrisy of the Western society is clearly seen whereas an Australian Judge failed to jail nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year old aborigine girl in 2005, saying the victim probably agreed to have sex with them and a UNICEF Photo of the year shows, a bridegroom, 40, with his 11-year old bride in Afghanistan. In my opinion, a UNICEF photo of the year must show a nine year British girl having a baby and another photo showing a gang of teenage girls with anti-social behaviour and vomiting out side a pub, thanks to binge drinking. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslim schools are the solutions and not a problem. They help to strengthen community cohesion, not undermine it. Muslim schools stand as shining beacons of light, serving as one of the most crucial factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Eurocentricism, homosexuality, racism and secular values and traditions. They need to be well versed in Standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. At the same time they need to be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Muslim schools are not only faith schools but also bilingual schools. Infact, bilingualism is an asset and not a problem as perceived by the British education system. There is a positive co-relation between language and culture. English language is associated with western culture.

    The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to Muslim schools but there are not enough schools to go by. The only alternative left is either British Government should introduce voucher system for parents to choose the school of their choice or designate all those state schools as Muslim community schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslims are in majority. Such schools may be handed over to Muslim educational Trusts or charities for their management. They are in a better position to educate Muslim children in accordance with their needs and demands. This demand is in accordance with the law of the land because there are state schools already managed by private companies. Muslim community is not asking for a favour. It is their legal right.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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