Saturday, September 02, 2006

today : Milly Molly Misbah and Other Stories

The case of Molly Campbell/Misbah Rana has thrown up several issues that are quite revealing:

1. Any girl who wants to live with her Father must be making that choice under duress. The fact is that pretty much everyone (and especially institutions) believe that Mothers are the best nurterers, even to the point of ignoring blatant evidence to the contrary. Although I don't necesasarily think that the recently disbanded Fathers for Justice Protest group chose some of their tactics wisely, I can surely sympathise with their plight. The courts, social services and the media are all geared towards somehow elevating all mothers to the point of sainthood and stereotyping all fathers as monstrous, uncaring, exploitative, feckless and useless parents - especially where girls are concerned. Nobody questioned the fact that Misbah might want to live with her Father rather than her Mother and the press ( and include the Guardian dn the Indie as well as the Daily Mail in this) jumped to defend her mother without apparently checking anything the Mother said against any facts. I don't pretend to know the detail but it looks like the Mother might be the problem in this case. Anyone whom, after a divorce, rebrands their children by changin their names has probably got some problems in dealing with the aftermath of the divorce. Molly/Misbah's mother also appeared to me to be overdramatising the issue, behaving as if her daughter had been murdered in a pretty over the top way. It seemed false to me from the start. The press had their pictures of a weeping Mother and they stuck with that, pouring sympathy on her plight without question.

2. Almost immediately, and in spite of zero evidence, the suggestion was made that Molly/Misbah had been kidnapped and forced into marriage at age 12. It was almost a fantasy of prejudice. Of course, that's all Muslim Fathers do - wait until their daughters are 12 or so and then force them to marry someone by kidnapping them and tying them up if necessary. It is a hideous distortion of the truth of British Muslim family life. It may operate by some cultural rules that are hard to understand, but not one person interrupted the press hysteria to point out that the 'forced' marriage issue was merely a lazy and convenient assumption.

Of course, forced marriage does exist, as do the rather unfortunately named honour killings. Both are abhorrent. But they are few and far between. Without acces to reliable stats I am willing to bet that as many children of non-Muslim families are controlled and abused in their own way. In my teaching life I have encountered 3 young teenage girls whose prostitute Mothers were acting as their pimps - selling their own young daughters on the streets at 12 and 13. I don't see too many assumptions that all single mothers with daughters are doing this.

Yet, we are in a climate where Muslims are evil. They are not allowed to have the same emotions or problems as the rest of us.

The medias' racism in this case also meant that they immediately sided with the 'normal white Mother. God forbid that the Father might actually be a decent guy. After all, he's a P*ki. Does not compute.

3. If someone wants to choose a life in 'third world' Muslim Pakisan over the wonderful time everyone has in the UK (especially those mixed race kids who have such a lovely time in the cosmopolitan and toally non-parochial Western Isles, then they must either be crazy or under duress. It's aspirational to want to move to Provence, but not Pakistan.And who would want to give up our wonderful Christian secularism for a religious upbringing. I mean, if you want ot become a nun then that's a bit weird but ultimately okay, but a Muslim.....?

4. Nobody of 12 years old is capable of making decision for themselves. The fact is, a mixed race kid who has clearly had to go through a difficult divorce and custody battle and maybe a forced religious conversion is just the kind of 12 year old who might at least know what they don't want.


  1. Anonymous10:49 PM

    Wow! that was a superb article.

    Thank you so much for the professionalism/honesty.

    If only there were more people like you in this world.

  2. Anonymous12:38 PM

    Your comments are not good about the muslim and pakistan. Just want to remind you that muslims and Christians can live together but there are other powers who can not see us united. As for as girl is concerned, she has a right to stay with her family and for your kind information, she has a dual nationality and Pakistan court granted custody to father and also asked the mom to appear in court to defend her case.
    The girl did right, as she can't see her mom every day bed a new man, which is common in west and she decided to leave.
    any way you are a follower of SHATAN

  3. Did this second commentator actually read what I wrote? Which as far as I can recall was slagging off the British press for making stereotyped assumptions about Islam.

    And for your information, anonymous, if I knew who SHATAN was, then maybe I could consider following him/her/it. Yet I looked the word up and it is a totally made up word. A piece of advice: don't appear on Countdown - you'll probably lose.