UK: Gay Muslims suffer forced marriages, honor violence

UK: Gay Muslims suffer forced marriages, honor violence

A UK charity is dealing with an increasing number of young gay Muslims becoming homeless after fleeing forced marriages and so-called honour violence.


Trust worker Annie Southerst said in the past six months there has been an increase in the number of Muslims coming to them for help.

"They face threats of physical violence, actual violence and restriction of liberties," she said.

"We've had people chased out of the house with knives and we have had issues around young people who had exorcisms planned to get rid of the gay demons, I suppose.

"They come to us because they're homeless, or in danger of being homeless imminently. We sort out emergency accommodation for them.

"But the biggest loss they face is the loss of their families.

"I can't imagine what it must be like to suddenly in your late teens, early 20s suddenly not to have a family anymore."

Using laws introduced by the government in November 2008, the charity has taken out four Forced Marriage Protection orders in the past few months.

The orders were introduced after ministers dropped plans to make forcing someone to marry a crime.

More than 80 have been imposed so far. Breaching one is contempt of court and can carry a two-year jail term.

Fazal Mahmood runs a support group for South Asian and Middle Eastern gay men, called Himat, which means strength in Urdu.

"I've got about 150 people on my mail out list.

"About 80%... have been coerced into marriage or been forced into marriage or are being forced into marriage," he said.

Mr Mahmood says homosexuality is considered a taboo issue within close-knit Muslim communities in areas such as London, Bradford and Manchester.

"I'm proud to be a Muslim, I'm proud to be South Asian, Pakistani and I'm proud to be gay as well.

"Unfortunately a lot of parents don't see that. All they see is 'what is my community going to feel like when they find out my son or daughter is gay?'."


Source: BBC

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