Imams in Britain do not know about Britain’s laws against martial rape, according to the findings of an academic at Hull University who has concluded a study into “Preventing Sexual Violence in South Asian Communities”
The report also states that South Asian women are not finding justice for crimes committed against them because of “cultural norms” and “honour”, which results in crimes going unreported.
“Rape for women was if their father-in-law or brother-in-law or someone in the extended family was the perpetrator. Nor had the Imams we spoke too ever heard of marital rape; they weren’t aware it was against British law,” Harrison told The Guardian.
Statistically, rates of sexual crime suffered by South Asian women in the UK are low. However, the research found this to be highly unlikely, as many Asian women live under fear and intimidation – or “modesty,” as come call it.
The news comes shortly after a glowing reference by a UK Imam for a rapist who is said to have taken advantage of young girls. As reported by Breitbart London, letters of reference were written on rapist Adbul Fulat’s behalf by an imam, family members and friends were presented to Leeds Crown Court.
The new research was carried out across England and Wales, and the findings included that a lack of awareness about what constitutes criminal behaviour was endemic among first generation immigrant families from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
“There was certainly no awareness that there could be rape within a marriage,” said Dr. Karen Harrison of Hull University who co-author the study with Dr. Aisha Gill of the University of Roehampton. Over two-years they held focus groups and spoke to women, charities, the police and religious leaders.
“There was far greater awareness of the laws on female genital mutilation or forced marriage. It was shocking to hear so many women who did not have the support of their families after abuse had taken place.
“In cases of historical abuse, where women had been abused as children, the parents had protected them by taking them away from the situation, but were too worried about the consequences for the family, the shame and the dishonour, to report the abuser.”
One of the women who spoke to researchers and a victim of abuse as a child said: “There is no unconditional love in Asian families. Honour is more important to them than their own child’s happiness. It’s down to the woman to keep her own dignity. The concept of honour is about honouring the family and the community at the cost of the individual.”
In 2007, researchers found that many British Muslims held intolerant views at odds with Western society, including 36 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds believing that if a Muslim converted to another religion they should be punished by death. Shockingly, 74 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds said they would prefer Muslim women to choose to wear the veil.
The research was presented during conference hosted last week by the University of Hull, called “Preventing Sexual Violence in South Asian Communities” and was funded by the British Academy.