Muslim men have been told to marry women born in Scotland rather than import wives from Pakistan and India.
Shaykh Amer Jamil, a Glasgow-born Islamic scholar, warned that Asian women who have grown up in Scotland are being left on the shelf in favour of wives from outside the country.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
Parents often prefer their sons to have arranged marriages with women who grew up in the Indian sub-continent, as they are seen as better partners. But this means there are increasing numbers of British women unable to find a husband.
Islamic dating events have been set up to try and address the situation, but the balance is so heavily weighted towards women that few marriages result from these events.
Shaykh Jamil, an Islamic scholar who set up a family counselling service called Unity Family Services, said: “I would say the situation is at a critical level. There are many well-educated women up and down the country who want to get married but are not finding the right match. There is an acute shortage of suitable male options and the ones who are available are getting married from back home.
“Consequently, this leads to many women reluctantly having to bring someone over from south Asia and that can lead to problems. The men coming over have a different mentality and are not used to seeing a female working or having a life outside of the home. It makes sense to marry from within the UK as both partners will speak English and will be familiar with British culture. This will also make raising children much easier.”
There are also community cohesion implications to the trend, as women come over from Pakistan who cannot speak English and are unused to the culture.
Figures from the Home Office show that 12,700 husbands or fiances were admitted in 2008, a 16% reduction from 2007. Almost twice the number of wives or fiancees were admitted, with 24,100 in 2008, although this still represents a 14% decrease from 2007. A high proportion of these partners were from Asia.