Archive for the 'bangladesh' Category

25
May
08

BANGLADESH: PASTOR’S 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER GANG-RAPED

BANGLADESH: PASTOR’S 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER GANG-RAPED

Thursday May 08, 2008

Area Muslims bent on driving Christian expansion from northern part of country.

DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 8 (Compass Direct News) – Muslim villagers in Mymensingh district eager to rid the area of the Christian work of a local pastor have gang-raped his 13-year-old daughter, the girl’s father said.

Pastor Motilal Das of United Bethany Church said that at around 3 a.m. on Friday (May 2) the villagers sexually assaulted his daughter, Elina Das, and left her unconscious in front of his house in an attempt to drive him and his Christian ministry out of Laksmipur village in Fulbaria sub-district, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the capital.

Local residents have long been angry with him for his ministry and evangelism, he said, and he has received death threats.

“I did not pay attention to any of the threats or hindrances – I continued evangelical and pastoral activities with prayer,” Das told Compass. “They targeted me to evict from this area to stop the Christian activities. When nothing stopped me, then they wanted to leave me scarred for life, so that I would be upset and not be able to show my face to the society for shame, and therefore I would leave the village.”

Das, who became the first Christian in the area in 1986 and has been key in an increase to more than 250 Christians and the emergence of 12 churches, said the brutal attack was pre-planned and calculated to stop further expansion of Christianity in northern Bangladesh.

“Otherwise, why would they rape such a minor girl?” he said.

Elina Das is the only Christian student at her school, he said. “Always local boys used to tease her on her way to school,” he said, “and used to tell her filthy words against Christianity and western culture.”

Five villagers attacked her when she went from her thatched house to an outdoor latrine, said investigating officer Sanwar Hossen of Fulbaria police station.

“Five people lying in ambush in the pitch-dark near the toilet snatched her by gagging her mouth with her body scarf [and taking her] to a nearby tea stall, 400 meters from the house, where they gang-raped her,” Hossen said.

Besides the religious opposition of some residents, the officer said villagers had no personal or commercial conflicts with the Das family that could serve as a motive for the assault.

“There was no family vendetta or personal clash or enmity of Motilal with the local people for which his daughter would be raped,” Hossen said. “There was even no land dispute between him and the neighbors, because he does not have any land.”

Family members found Elina Das lying unconscious in front of the house that morning.

“When I woke up in the early morning, I saw my daughter lying unconscious in front of my house,” Das said. “ A few hours after the gang rape, they had left her in front of my house.”

Das said he suspected friends of the rapists and perhaps some of the rapists themselves observed them as they went to the police station to file charges, as they later threatened to harm them if they did not withdraw the case, he said.

“I have received death threats against my entire family if I do not withdraw the case,” Das told Compass. “We, all the family members, were afraid and took shelter in the same police station, where my wife, daughter, son and I stayed for two days and one night.”

Elina Das has identified two of the rapists and could identify the others if she saw them or their pictures, said Das. Police have arrested Shebul Miah, 22. The girl identified another suspect, 32-year-old Dulal Miah, alias Dulu, who remains at large.

Fearful of his life if he returned to his home, Das relocated to the home of a friend in Dhaka on Saturday (May 3).

Derelict Police

When Das initially went to police to file charges, he said, police were reluctant to register the case.

“Police told me that it was a false case,” Das said. “They also said that it was a fabricated drama. Police spoke with my daughter in filthy language and showed prurient interest in the details of the incident in front of us rather than filing the case quickly.”

Area Assembly of God (AG) pastor Sento Mir requested that the local denominational chairman encourage police to file charges. Following a phone call from him on Friday (May 2), police immediately agreed to investigate the incident and filed a rape case in the afternoon.

Area Muslims expressed their outrage at the brutal incident, and they are afraid that the assailants are backed by powerful people, Das said.

“We know Motilal Das as a good man in the locality, though he is a Christian,” said a Muslim neighbor, 42-year-old Ruhul Amin, who owns a tea stall in the nearby area. “He had not any personal clash or enmity with others in the village.”

Mir, the AG pastor, said Das will not be able to return to the area unless justice is served.

“If the arrested rapist is not judged properly and is released from jail without any judgment, Motilal Das cannot live in this area,” Mir said. “He along with his family members should leave the village, otherwise they will be in serious trouble.”

Likewise, he added, if the identified absconding rapist is not caught and convicted, the family will no longer be able to live in the area.

Bangladesh on ‘Watch List’

The day of the rape, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced annual recommendations for countries to be designated “Countries of Particular Concern,” but it did not include Bangladesh.

Rather, the commission put Bangladesh on its “Watch List” due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the government. Other countries on the Watch List are Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

According to USCIRF, Islamist radicalism and violence, the threat of serious violence and continued discrimination against members of religious minority communities remain significant concerns in Bangladesh.

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05
Jan
08

Britain: Third Party Forced Marriage Protection Order In The Works

Teachers could get power to stop forced marriages

January 4, 2008

Teachers, social workers, women’s rights groups and local councils may be given the power to stop forced marriages, under government plans to protect vulnerable teenagers.

Ministers are preparing a list of third parties who would have the authority to go to court to try to prevent families from forcing children into marriage in Britain and abroad.

Eighty-five per cent of victims of forced marriages are women, most are aged 15-24, 90 per cent are Muslim and 90 per cent are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage.

The plan is aimed at helping those who are too young, too unwilling or too frightened to go to court to stop their families from marrying them out.

A third party seeking to prevent a forced marriage would be able to ask the courts for a forced marriage protection order, which would result in a jail sentence if broken.

“An application made on a victim’s behalf allows the victim to be one step removed from the court proceedings,” according to a paper drawn up by the Ministry of Justice.

“Victims may feel unwilling or unable to take action against the perpetrators who may be members of their family.”

Those served with a forced marriage protection order would be required to stop the marriage and keep away from the victim, and may also be required to hand over their passports to the courts.

Police would have the power of arrest where there was a risk of significant harm to the victim. Anyone breaching the order would be in contempt of court and liable to a heavy fine or up to two years in jail.

The third party would not need to get the victim’s permission before going to court to ask for the order.

Bridget Prentice, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, said: “This is really vital work. When you look at the situations some of the people affected by forced marriages will be in, it is clear that not all of them will be able to apply personally to the courts for protection. And some victims might not want to take court actions against members of their own family.”

Among the organisations the Ministry of Justice has indicated could act as third parties are Victim Support, Asian women’s groups, women’s refuges, groups that help victims of domestic violence and the local authorities.

The ministry’s consultation paper said: “There are many people and organisations that support victims of forced marriage. There are voluntary and charitable organisations dedicated to offering support and assistance to forced marriage victims. They often work closely with local communities and offer frontline practical support.”

Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, a London-based organisation that helps black and Asian victims of domestic violence, said that the change to the law was absolutely necessary. “We are looking to help people who might not have the confidence to seek help. We are talking about young girls, sometimes held against their will and some in isolated places,” Ms Patel said.

“They may be being monitored by their family and members of the extended family which makes it very difficult for them to go and get help for themselves”. The consultation paper contains an analysis of the likely effects of the legal change. This suggests that between 5 and 50 cases a year would end up in court.

The Government’s Forced Marriage Unit receives about 5,000 calls for advice annually. Of these about 300 become cases, with a quarter resulting in overseas rescue of victims and their return to Britain.

Latest figures published by the Home Office show that 15 per cent of the 300 cases involved men and 30 per cent minors.

A total of 250 girls aged between 13-16 were taken off the school rolls in Bradford last year because they failed to return from a trip abroad. (one town!)

In conjunction with the introduction of the forced marriage protection order, the Home Office plans to raise from 18 years to 21 the minimum age at which someone can sponsor a spouse or be brought to the UK as a spouse.

The Home Office has also outlined a plan that would allow young men and women who were sponsoring a foreigner’s trip to Britain for the purpose of marriage to make a confidential statement about the motives for the visa application. This would give the sponsor the chance to express reservations and allow immigration authorities to turn down a visa without other members of the family being alienated.

The forced marriage protection order will come into force later this year and will give the civil courts much stronger powers than they have already. At the moment courts can ban a person from molesting someone but the forced marriage protection order will go much farther in the restrictions it will be able to make.

An order can be made against a wide range of people including a person who is in England and Wales; who is outside England and Wales; who is or may become involved in other respects as well as the person who is trying to or has forced another into marriage and other persons who are, or may become, involved in other respects of any kind such as relatives.

Unlike other orders in the 1996 Family Law Act, an application for a forced marriage protection order can be made by an “interested party” such as a teacher.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3129016.ece

Chew on that MCB!

“FORCED MARRIAGE – A Wrong not a Right”
Thu 08 Dec 2005
MCB Response to Consultation Paper[doc.]
The MCB welcomes this opportunity to respond to the Home Office consultation document – “Forced Marriage” – Wrong not Right”.
The response is based upon wide consultation amongst out affiliates and reflects a strong consensus of views amongst the Muslim community in Britain.

The practice of, “arranged marriages” has sometimes been confused by the media and ill intentioned persons as “forced marriages”. An arranged marriage is one where the marriage is facilitated and certainly not forced upon parties.

The consultation paper attempts to address the problem of forced marriages in the United Kingdom and as we understand it does not raise any concerns on the practice of arranged marriages followed in some cultures

MCB is of the firm opinion that, as appears acknowledged in the paper, there are already laws in place to prosecute the perpetrators of this offence. In the circumstances the MCB sees no justification for a new law in this regard.

In the view of the MCB the solution to this evil act is to raise awareness in the communities of the existing laws that apply to situations of forced marriages rather than create a new law.

A new law on forced marriages will have the real risk of being seen to target ethnic minorities.

Any law in this regard which is promoted as a tool to help the victims and deter the offenders is most unlikely to be effective because of the nature of the problem and the cultural as well as familial sensitivities involved. A coercive tool in a family and cultural setting is rarely, if ever successful

The family bond and loyalty will deter many from using the law. The tool when used will in effect tear the family unit and create division and distress.

Shameless…

Related: Forced Marriages: Sexual Slavery Rape Child Molestation




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