Thursday, 24 February 2011

Mehdi Hasan and Forced Marriages

As mentioned in the previous post the poor people of Britain were recently subjected to the embarrassment that is Mehdi Hasan appearing on Question Time to lecture us and interrupt others on many important issues. If you haven't seen it, here are the highlights of Douglas Murray that appeared on the show with (unfortunately) plenty of Hasan included in it: (Part 2 in the video response).

In particular, other than throwing in a few ad hominems to satisfy myself about what an arsehole the man is I would like to zero in on Mehdi's reply to Douglas' point about forced marriages. The exact quote of Hasan is the following:

"...and to talk like Douglas, about forced marriages, sorry, how many people have forced marriages in this country and show me which cultural group defends forced marriages and which government defends forced marriages I've yet to come across a single one"

To break this down bit by bit. Firstly the part where he says "sorry, how many people have forced marriages in this country" as anyone that watches the the link that I have provided can verify for themselves was spoken in a particularly disbelieving and snide tone as if Douglas was inflating the issue. Well to address the 'how many' part of the question head on, here is a recent article from Newsbeat ( which shows that in 2010 there were nearly 2000 cases of Forced Marriage in that year alone. Of course these are only the cases that were actually reported, in order to deal with this problem a 'Forced Marriage Unit' has been created that has to chase up links all the way to Pakistan to try and rescue the girls that are put through this traumatic experience, meaning that there may be plenty of cases that go tragically unreported.

Now to address the the second part of what Mehdi said. Hasan responded by asking for examples of a cultural group that defends forced marriages or which member of government defends them. It may well be true that no such group can be found, the only problem is that it is totally unrelated to what Douglas had actually said. To address the government related aspect of that sentence first;

Douglas' point was not that the government publicly defended forced marriages but that Multicultural policies and ideologies had made it harder to criticise and publicly address this issue for fear of being called a racist. Hilariously only moments after Douglas had suggested this was the case, Mehdi proved him completely correct by partnering with Jacqui Smith to refer to the EDL, BNP and French National Front merely for raising these issues. As for a more concrete example let's take the case of Tulay Goren, who twice requested help from the police, a plea that was ignored before she was murdered by her father for refusing to take part in a forced marriage he wished to sell her into. Does anyone really think that, the same treatment would be afforded to a white non-Muslim victim who came to the police asking for help because she feared for her life? According to Hasan who spat "rubbish" as Douglas made this point, this is either the uniform policy of the police in the UK or far more obviously this was treated as a cultural issue rather than a criminal issue. For more on this and other issues see this article (, which has been made even more relevant with the recent rape gangs and the defence through cries of racism that the perpetrator's enjoyed. Anyone that has studied this area will know, this is but one of many many examples where the police have been shackled when dealing with 'minority' communities due to a misplaced 'cultural sensitivity'. This problem is not at all limited to just forced marriages.

As for the final point of Hasan's outburst "show me which cultural group defends forced marriages", this is made marginally more tricky to deal with, by Hasan's deliberately misleading statement. If by 'cultural group' he means every single member of a certain ethnic identity in this country, you clearly would not find a public consensus on forced marriage or probably any controversial issue at all from any group. That being said, this does not divert away from the fact that the problem of forced marriages is largely an 'underground' or secretive problem that is not publicly proclaimed, and while it may not have the support of all members of the Pakistani communty in Britain (where the problem largely stems), that does not change the fact that there is a serious wider cultural problem within many of these communities.  The video at the bottom of this post contains Mehdi's specific comments on this issue followed by a recent Newsbeat piece on forced marriages that involved an interview with a victim of the practice. In the segment we are told that one of the difficulties in uncovering these practices in finding people willing to report to the police against the family in question which is extremely hard to do in these communities, because of a wider problem of cultural attitudes in this area which encourage complicity in these acts.

In this interview this poor girl says that more needs to be done to spread awareness about the problem of forced marriages, I wonder how she feels listening to Mehdi snidely imply that there isn't too serious a problem of forced marriages or any of the other nearly 2000 girls a year that go through this barbaric practice. Part of the way through the show Mehdi also argues with Douglas that a few hundred EDL protesters may not seem like much to him but are more frightening if you are a member of the community that they are targeting and I actually sympathise with Hasan on that point (even though Douglas only said they shouldn't affect Cameron's plans for a speech, not that they were not a threat). Sections of the EDL have behaved thuggishly in the past and people have a right to fear them, but I would apply the same argument to those that are being targeted by Muslim gangs for rape, girls that are being forcibly married against their will and innocent civilians being blown up on a bus. These are not problems with the Muslim community as a whole but have become a far disproportionately bigger problem as a result of white skinned, non-Muslim liberals who provide a cloak to such heinous actions through the identity politics, political correctness and other acts of misguided stupidity that come under the banner of Multiculturalism. This is a cloak that on this episode of Question Time, Mehdi Hasan was more than happy to thicken. Perhaps if Hasan did not spend every Question Time behaving and interrupting like a petulant teenager he might have understood Douglas better. Then again I'm non-Muslim "cattle" and therefore a person of "no intelligence" so what do I know (


  1. I enjoyed reading this.

    It is such a shame that Mehdi produced such an incredibly poor defence of cultural relativism. I remember hearing him talking about how his dad used to get dung in his letter box, and how amazing it is that he is on Question Time! As if that was what Douglas was criticising! He also tried to dismiss Douglas by referring to the BNP & EDL.

    He is welcome to provide a defence for cultural relativism, but he only embarrassed himself on that show.

    I was also astonished to see how much applause he got for his rather demagogic sentiments; and how ill-informed the audience is on the subject matter. Nobody has anything against multiculturalism (i.e. diversity of life), but some of us oppose cultural relativism.

  2. On the one hand yes, there is a problem with forced marriages and in particular Asian families. However most Muslims are against such things. The other dimension is the wave of islamaphobia which attracts people who couldn't care less into such debates. Douglas Murray & neocons in general are the Nazis of the 21st century.