Disturbed by cases of honour killing in Britain, Nadira Naipaul, wife of celebrated Indian origin writer V S Naipal, says that she sees here the same “horror” that made her flee Pakistan.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Sunday, Nadira, says: “I can still see the horror that made me flee Pakistan - in the haunted eyes of girls raised here...When I married V S Naipaul and moved to England in 1996, I thought I had left the horror behind“.

She adds: “Pakistan had drained my resolve, and I was tired of fighting a losing battle. To me, England, for all its ills, was the promised land. Instead, I have found the horror I fled has followed me here. It is all around, eroding the very core of everything Britain believes in“.

“I see it everywhere. In the haunted eyes of young Pakistani girls, brought up in Britain, who know nothing but a Westernised life: young women who work happily behind beauty counters in our department stores, yet must return home to parents who refuse to emerge from their cultural ghettos“.

Cases of honour killings and forced marriages are reported from communities with origins in the Indian sub-continent.

British authorities have taken several steps to prevent forced marriages, including the setting up of a Forced Marriages Unit in the Foreign Office.

However, such cases continue to be reported, including the recent widely followed case of Shafilea Ahmed, who was killed by her parents for having westernised lifestyle.

Mentioning examples, Nadira writes: “These are extreme examples, but stark reminders of the hold these beliefs have on entrenched communities — communities that have, for five decades, been relocating to Britain“.

She adds: “So why, then, have successive Governments refused to acknowledge the incestuous cultures that have evolved in these ghettos? Why does no one challenge the existence of the so-called ‘Islamic Parliaments’, with their retrogressive laws, that exist in cities such as Bradford and Leicester?”

Asking liberal Muslims “to speak out”, Nadira writes that her message to those who promote these entrenched ghetto ideas are: “(Go) home if you want to practise your form of Islam.

There is no place for it here”.

(This article was published on August 19, 2012)
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