Thursday 2nd April 2009

The London Muslim Centre this evening hosted a seminar on the issue of forced marriage.

Organised by ‘Pro Bono in the LMC’, the free legal advice service based at the London Muslim Centre, it was attended by 350 people from the legal, charity and community sectors as well as members of the public who have an interest in the issue.

The seminar featured a distinguished panel: Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice in England and Wales; Mr Justice Munby, a Senior Family Judge in the Judiciary of England and Wales; family lawyer Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE; and Shaykh Abdul Qayum, Imam of the East London Mosque. They answered questions from the audience and gave their views on the issue of forced marriage from legal and Islamic perspectives.

Points covered in the seminar included:

  • The distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage
  • The prohibition of forced marriage in Islam
  • The role of the mosque in preventing forced marriages and the support services available for victims
  • How the Forced Marriage Act 2007 supports victims of forced marriage in the UK and British citizens who are abroad
  • The important role that faith and educational institutions play in informing the community about the reality of forced marriages

Mr Justice Munby commented, “It is important the education provided by schools and religious institutions reaches the community first hand. All communities and faiths must send out the message that forced marriage is unacceptable.”

Shaykh Abdul Qayum noted, “Marriage is an important part of Islam; a free and willing contract between a man and woman to spend their lives together. Islam teaches us that parents are the guardians of their children's welfare and security; forced marriages go against this teaching.”

Chairman of ‘Pro Bono in the LMC’, Robin Knowles CBE GC, closed proceedings saying, “The legacy of this seminar is that these three points have been agreed by the leading Islamic institutions in UK: that forced marriages are wrong, that they should be condemned by all and that individuals have to give their consent before marriage.”


Notes for Editors

‘Pro Bono in the LMC’ is a service which provides free legal advice from its offices in the London Muslim Centre.

For more information contact Mohammad Shakir on 020 7650 3006/07708 681 014 or email [email protected]