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Sharia gives complete control to men
Sharia gives complete control to men
Domestic abuse is about control and Sharia law has already gifted this ‘control’ to husbands.
The papers are full of stories about how ISIS is winning control in Iraq, Syria etc. But we hear less about how the Islamist ideology is handing control to men here in Britain, and sharia law is placing victims of domestic abuse in vulnerable positions. Under sharia law, a man can utter the words ‘Talaq; Talaq; Talaq’ - meaning divorce - and the marriage contract is cancelled.
I have personally experienced how this word is used to control a woman’s actions; husbands can use the threat of divorce as a method of enforcing authority in the home and outside - a husband can order a wife to obey his rules, or find herself divorced. If I, a British born and strong minded person, can be controlled by such means, how many other women are suffering even more?
This article is not however just about sharia law, I also want to address another growing trend – that of immigration marriage fraud. I believe I was a victim of marriage fraud, and the word “Talaq” was used to control me. I was not allowed to disclose my marriage to most people or see certain friends. If I did so, I would get the Talaq.
My story begins when I lost my mother in December 2009. She left me with the responsibility of an elderly father who was approaching his 80s (and was autistic). In addition, I had to take care of the home, as well as uphold my finances. I had no other family, relatives, or friends who could have helped me.
I was in my 30s, and in Asian culture, if you are unmarried by the age of 30, you are considered a ‘faulty piece’. In May 2010, while working part-time as an exam invigilator, I met my future husband. I was attracted to his hard working and confident nature.
My husband was an overseas Pakistani student at one of the many “dodgy” private colleges. We got married in September 2011 in an Islamic ceremony, and then had a civil ceremony two months later - following changes to the work permit laws. I felt happiness had finally arrived at my doorstep. But my husband appeared to have had his own plans, which I believe were supported by his family (he had an elder brother who married a British citizen too, I believe to become a resident, and who later called his mother to the UK on the basis that she was suffering depression without him).
Soon after my wedding, it all went wrong; he refused to consummate the marriage. He blamed my weight and cellulite for his lack of sexual desire. For a long time I believed this, that I was too unattractive. Even so, I started to accept the sexless marriage with hope that one day I will win his love.
As time moved on, the marriage became abusive. He would fire words at me like bullets, often calling me “disabled”, “problem child”, “obese”, “lazy” etc. His severe psychological and emotional abuse left me gasping for air. He never made eye contact, he would buy presents for his sister in-law but not me. He would often bring food from his mother’s place for himself, but would never offer it to me. He would soil the bathroom seat and expect me to clean it. He called me smelly and told me to sit at a distance. He regularly checked my phone, computer etc.
His physical abuse he would disguise as an “accident”. Once he trampled over my foot with great force, only to say “sorry I didn’t see you”.
From deep inside, I began to hear a voice – it was telling me to “wake up, this man is after the maroon passport”. I refused to acknowledge this voice at first. I contacted domestic abuse agencies, many of which offered me to help to leave the relationship, but I still didn’t want to.
However, eventually his abuse started to reach new heights. My father then told me to remove him from my property, as he could not tolerate seeing me abused in this way. I probably wanted temporary separation at this stage, but not divorce, due partly to cultural pressures - divorced woman are always looked down upon. To be honest, I really loved him, even though he never consummated the marriage. I was taught that love is always unconditional. Love is free from greed, caste, religion, race etc. In any case, my husband did not want to divorce me because he wanted me to help him apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. I was under great pressure to do so, because I feared Talaq.
In May 2014, I strongly believe that my husband had become confident that he would secure his visa, and this is why he began to talk of ending our marriage. I did not welcome this move, as I had given up my fertility years to be with him (I suffer from polycystic ovaries and had a short time only to become a mother, he was well aware of this). Throughout our marriage, I provided food, love, warmth, and support in difficult times. We lived together for more than two years; I believed he must have some form of attachment to me. I now believe I was very wrong to think he loved me.
In August, he got call from the Home Office. I refused to attend an interview to support his leave to remain, and so he left the country. Prior to leaving, he sent me an Islamic divorce; written briefly on a plain piece of paper was “I divorce you” three times. My world was toppled. It’s difficult to explain how it feels. I never received a kiss, hug or any form of appreciation. The Imams told me to have patience - “you will be rewarded on the day of judgment”. Unfortunately, sharia law accepts this three-word form of divorce, where no consent from me is needed, and my opinion is not sought. I felt that plain piece of paper was a mockery of my human rights.
My heartache did not cease there; when my husband left the UK, within 10 days he married again in Pakistan. I was devastated and felt he was cheating on me. I actually assumed that he may have a sexual dysfunction that stopped him consummating the marriage. Clearly, I was made a fool. I later heard that he and his new wife had known long before that they intended to marry; so was she the reason that my marriage was just a paper marriage, kept secret from the world? Was the plan that he would use me to get a passport and then bring his new wife to the UK?
It became clear to me that he kept the marriage to obtain a residency in this country. Otherwise, why did he not divorce me in the first few weeks or months of the marriage? Why did he only start talking about ending the marriage only after he felt that he secured his Indefinite Right to Remain?
Marriage, a scared bond that should be difficult to break, has become a mockery at the hands of people like my husband. He can divorce and remarry at ease without any questions being asked. Imams would never question him as to why he did not he consummate our marriage, whereas I would be vilified for not being a good bride. They will not see that I contributed more money to put food on the table than he did, or that I have been damaged by his abuse and his bigamy.
It hurts to see that his second wife is the apple of his eye. This marriage is celebrated and recognized, whereas mine was a fraud. She dressed up like a bride but I was made to wash the dishes on my wedding day. I am the loser simply because I am British. For him, it was a shame to kiss me, hug me, or even sit next to me – but not to seek a visa using my name.
I have been damaged by this and face many unanswered questions. Today, I am struggling for justice - but my case has already been lost according to the sharia. Laws should serve to benefit a society, and bring justice, but sharia law allows men to control women and their marriages. They can severe the marriage bond using sharia law, and not face any questions for doing so.
I don’t believe for a moment that there aren’t vast numbers of British born girls who are being used for visas and left stranded, while their husbands move on to second or third sharia wives.