An Inclusive Litany

11/11/01

Writing in the Spectator, British therapist Theodore Dalrymple said that a misguided sense of multicultural tolerance led most of the nation's health officials to ignore widespread physical abuse of women when those women happened to be Muslim immigrants. Dalrymple writes that he has known of many cases in which young girls are taken on holiday by their families to Pakistan and forced to marry men they have never met. Girls who refuse are beaten and starved into submission, and sometimes killed.

If all goes to plan, the girl is pregnant by the time she returns to Britain so as to make it easier for her husband to obtain a visa. "When the husband arrives," says Dalrymple, "he behaves himself well for a year; that is to say, the year in which his wife has the legal right to object to his permanent leave to stay." After that, he starts to beat her, often savagely, and the beatings do not stop. If she tries to leave, her parents disown her, and community members refer to her as a prostitute. Since she has not been allowed an education or a chance to form friendships with non-Muslims, she typically endures her fate.

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