Sunday, July 4, 2010

Threats of Honor Killings Even In UK?

Afshan Azad
Photo by Solarpix / PR Photos

Last week Harry Potter actress Afshan Azad and her family made the news for all the wrong reasons, reasons that if you believe her father and brother's lawyer, she's oh so eager to retract now that his clients are out on bail. Readers of this blog know how strongly I feel about the issue of maltreatment of women in Islamic countries. It's a shock to read about it on Western soil as well. When this story broke last week, Cynical Nymph sent it to me and she and I had the same thought... related to honor issues... before we even had further information. It's a sad thing that we were right.

On Thursday July 1, the BBC reported that Azad's father and brother had been arrested by Manchester police after threatening her life in her apartment on May 21. Her brother was additionally charged with assault. Abdul Azad, 54, and his son Ashraf, 28, appeared in Court on June 29 and were finally released on bail, pending a committal proceeding scheduled for July 12 before Manchester Crown Court. According to an article published in People magazine, Ms. Azad, age 22, was threatened and attacked because she is dating a Hindu and her family, who are Muslim, find this unacceptable.

This afternoon The Sunday Express reports that Ms. Azad is very eager to drop the allegations and retract her statement, according to the attorney, John Wolfson, who represents her father and brother. Thankfully, in the UK, even if a victim retracts a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service may still investigate and take up the matter. The prosecutors term the case a "family honor row" and the CPS confirms their intention to seek a conviction in Ms. Azad's family members' cases.

Hats off to the Crown Prosecution Service for taking the matter seriously and wanting to send a message that honor killings and beatings will not be tolerated in the UK.

For those more into the entertainment side, Ms. Azad plays the role of Ravenclaw student Padma Patil. Hopefully that touch of fame will add to the impetus to keep Ms. Azad safe and thereby allow her to date whomsoever she pleases, since she is after all, an independent, working and productive woman of age 22, and a UK citizen by birth.

Real honor is treating your daughter or sister like she's a human being, with the right to choose her partner.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

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