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  • What Muslim women want


    by guest
    17th July, 2009 at 10:30 am    

    This is a guest post by Lucy James, a research fellow at Quilliam

    South Asian Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in terms of religion, ethnicity and gender in the UK today. A recent poll of unemployed South Asian Muslim women showed that not only are they disadvantaged, but that they are misunderstood and not being given sufficient support in order to break a cycle that, given the chance, will transmit similar attitudes on to future generations. The poll— published in Quilliam’s latest report Immigrant, Muslim, Female: Triple Paralysis [pdf]— established what these Muslim women want: they want to work. Over 600 women were interviewed, 57% of which said that they wanted a paid job. This figure is really positive. Although 39% said that they didn’t want to work, many of these women may have said so because of a lack of confidence rather than as a downright refusal to work.

    The women interviewed in this survey were overwhelmingly (84%) not born in this country, i.e. they were immigrants to the UK. Contrary to expectation, perhaps, the numbers of immigrant women arriving from the subcontinent is unlikely to die out over the generations. A 2008 study by Dale and Ahmed [pdf] of transnational marriages between 1998 and 2005 revealed that 40% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men living in this country married women from abroad. Together with the high rates of immigration from the subcontinent as a whole (in 2006/7, South Asians accounted for the highest rates of applications for settlement visas), the issues surrounding first generation immigrants are going to be ones that are perpetuated down the generations. These women have to stop being sidelined within South Asian/ Muslim communities; they have to be specifically recognised and targeted in government policy.

    Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work. Only 2% said that it was to do with izzat (a South Asian cultural notion of honour). Instead, 65% of the respondents gave practical reasons as the inhibitors to gaining employment. The most popular of these was their domestic responsibilities—particularly looking after children—at 49%. The second highest was insufficient language skills at 20%. However, just because religion and culture were not articulated to be of concern, is not to say that they do not have direct repercussions on the employment status of these women. That 49% said that domestic responsibilities were holding them back, for example, can only be testimony to the strong patriarchal nature of traditional South Asian culture. Given the right practical support, this report believes that these women will build their confidence and determination, as well as gain the requisite practical ability, to be able to stand up to the traditional expectations of some conservative elements in their communities.

    Providing sufficient childcare (in terms of these women, this is particularly providing sufficient access to and awareness of available childcare), as well as supplying enough English language courses (which are also sensitive to cultural requirements and levels of ability), are provisions which fall primarily within the government’s remit. At the moment, the government is failing these women. The most blatant example of this is the ‘redirecting’ of English language (ESOL) class funding towards priority learners which has, in turn, led to drastic funding cuts for beginners’ classes (those most needed by immigrants) in East London. Blame cannot just be ascribed to the government, however. It also lies with Muslim communities themselves. As evidenced in Quilliam’s Mosques Made in Britain [pdf] report, women have limited access to the religious and lay leadership in mosques to shape debates about a woman’s role in family and community life. This inclination towards patriarchal culture is also all too frequently reflected in the communities at large as well. One in four of our respondents said that they needed more support from their family to work. Whether this meant practical or emotional support was unclear, but anecdotal evidence in the report highlighted that in some instances these women are not encouraged to work by their families for fear of disrupting the domestic balance in the home.

    The majority of immigrant South Asian Muslim women without a job want to work. Reasons for this varied—perhaps somewhat expectedly the majority (43%) said it was to financially support their family. Encouragingly, 30% of respondents said that they wanted to work so that they could be more independent. These statistics are very positive and go a considerable way towards undermining the far-right stereotype of these women as ‘lazy immigrants’ who aren’t working because they are held under lock and key by their family, their culture and their religion. The majority of these women suffer from a major lack of confidence in their ability to be able to enter the job market. What they require is a nudge in the right direction— from Government, from communities, from their families. These women will then be able to give back to their families and communities: both financially in terms of earnings, and as role models and ambassadors for their communities in the struggle against all forms of extremism. The government have already realised the potential of Muslim women in the fight against extremism; it is now time they directly addressed this sidelined group.

    These women can and should reach their potential; they just need to be given the practical support in order to do so. As South Asian immigrants they are a ‘hard-to-reach’ group that are often overlooked; as mothers, wives and daughters-in-law they have a lot of responsibilities; but as women they are also individuals in their own right who deserve to be able to achieve.

    This is a guest post by Lucy James, a research fellow at Quilliam


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    Filed in: Economy,Sex equality






    82 Comments below   |  

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    1. pickles

      New blog post: What Muslim women want http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5183




    1. Farid Ali — on 17th July, 2009 at 10:38 am  

      Excellent!
      Really good to see Quilliam take such a psositive role among Muslims.

    2. Rumbold — on 17th July, 2009 at 10:40 am  

      I think we do need an increased focus on language skills amongst Muslim women, as knowing English gives them so much more opportunity. It shouldn’t be made in any way compulsory, but it should be taxpayer-funded and a lot better promoted.

    3. halima — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:03 am  

      Good report. Good on the organisation for pushing some important messages that focus and look at South Asian British women.

      We should all be pushing for ESOL to be better funded- as it’s a cost-effective and less emotive way of supporting people to take their place in UK society.

      One the one hand we criticise people for not speaking English and not integrating into society, and on the other hand, we cut back any minimum support there is for learning English through public channels.

    4. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:03 am  

      There is a compulsory aspect in learning English if you want to get a visa to settle here, even as a spouse? and also, the living in the UK test is in English too…so there needs to be a certain level of English.

      I volunteer at a group for Muslim women in West London and it has been the hardest thing getting them out of their houses. The group is run by Muslim women volunteers and we recently had to rethink our entire strategy because we were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of attendance or input from these women. Some women were told by husbands they weren’t allowed to turn up every week as they wanted cooked breakfasts on a sunday…(I wanted to scream when I heard that one), other women said their in laws were not happy with them coming every week…
      I am a Muslim woman of South Asian descent and I find it frustrating, so I can’t even imagine how local service providers and outreach workers from outside these communities must feel.

      Not only does this lack of getting out of the house have a direct impact on womens’ confidence, it also has a huge impact on health and wellbeing, and the education of their children. You only have to look at the health statistics for evidence of this.

    5. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:05 am  

      and I think English should be made compulsory. For this to happen though, there needs to be funded places for these women when they arrive in the country. If they don’t know English, they won’t be able to communicate with the outside world…

    6. Amrit — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:19 am  

      I am pleased to see the overwhelming amount of household duties that hold SA women back being highlighted in this article.

      Though it is in some respects easier in my community, it is still expected of the wife to give up her job/downgrade once she gets married. Funnily enough, the husband never really faces the same pressure.

      Housework is also used as an indicator of your femininity (if you can’t or don’t want to do it, then there’s something wrong with you!). It becomes a perverse source of enjoyment because you’re not usually allowed to do much else - especially if your in-laws are around. Worst of all, it’s a great isolationist tactic. Most women I know throw themselves into the ‘domestic goddess’ routine because they figure it’s easier than resisting it (like I do). They then end up becoming obsessively houseproud and home-bound and their independence and social life withers away. If they continue to work, they’ll have that particular side of things, but their other social life will fade.

      Sofia - thanks for your interesting comments!

      One thing I wanted to mention as well - this may be slightly odd-sounding. I think in cases such as those described by Sofia above (the cooked breakfasts and in-laws), there is perhaps something that the QF may not have expected. Women may not initially be prevented from working by ‘izzat,’ but that could simply be because there is no real threat of them doing so. I am sure that once this situation arises, families are then quick to invoke ‘izzat.’ It can be a surprisingly nebulous and catch-all term for ‘things we don’t want you to do’ in SA culture. So, maybe even if it wasn’t there to start with, I imagine some families will try and use it to hamper things for women if they persist in trying to work.

    7. Jennifer Smith — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:22 am  

      Funding? In other EU countries, the British have to pay for lessons!

    8. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:23 am  

      “They then end up becoming obsessively houseproud and home-bound and their independence and social life withers away” - now that sounds familiar…i’ve pretty much resisted it..i work, I do voluntary work, and I have family obligations…my house does not look like a tip, but that’s only because my lovely husband does more than his fair share.

    9. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:25 am  

      Jennifer…comments like yours are unhelpful..I am British and I pay taxes, so if my taxes go into funding lessons for people to learn English then I’m fine with that!

    10. Boyo — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:30 am  

      I don’t think anyone these days talks about “lazy” immigrants - quite the contrary!

      I’d be interested to see what Munir and our resident (non) Islamists think of this report.

      Well, not that interested ;-)

    11. Boyo — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      To be fair, as a British resident in Italy (although I work all over the world, and a lot in the UK) I have access to Italian classes for immigrants (mainly Arab, East European and South Asian) which only charge a nominal fee.

    12. Jennifer Smith — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:44 am  

      I think I’ll start a White Wimmins Association and ask for funding!

      Oh, that’s right, that would be racist.

      Sofia, I have been a taxpayer for over 35 years and nobody asked me if it was OK to flood my country with immigrants…

    13. Shatterface — on 17th July, 2009 at 11:49 am  

      ‘I don’t think anyone these days talks about “lazy” immigrants – quite the contrary!’

      I don’t think there’s any stereotype of SA women which sees them as BOTH ‘lazy’ and ‘held under lock and key by their family, their culture and their religion’ because that’s simply contradictory.

      This is a good article, though, and makes me optimistic about SA women living here but I wonder if the 40% of Pakistani and Bangledeshi men marrying women from outside the UK iare a reaction to the fact that SA women already here are beginning to assert their independence?

      As to ESOL, that’s a no brainer: I’m a supporter of life-long learning in any case, but even the most right-wing commentator has to recognise that it’s more economical to pay ESOL course fees for a few months than a life-time of benefits.

    14. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:00 pm  

      Shatterface,

      are a reaction to the fact that SA women already here are beginning to assert their independence?

      The increasingly hysterical attitudes of the male of the group says, yes. Munir, et al.

    15. damon — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:07 pm  

      I agree that Jennifer Smith’s comments aren’t helpful, but can understand that your average Daily Mail reader might tut at some of the things in Lucy James’
      very intersting piece.
      Like how 40% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men in the UK were marrying women from overseas. Does that leave a shortage of potential husbands for women from those communities?

      ”….the issues surrounding first generation immigrants are going to be ones that are perpetuated down the generations.”
      Whether the wider society wants this to happen or not. Maybe it’s nobody’s business but the individuals concerned, but it is the kind of issue that Migration Watch get very animated about.

      Not that I have any problem with this happening, but it means that these communities are going to have a very large growth rate in the UK.

    16. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:11 pm  

      Jennifer Smith @ 7,

      Contrary to what you say, German language tuition is either cheap, or free.

      http://www.goethe.de/enindex.htm

    17. chairwoman — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:12 pm  

      Sofia - We had quite a burgeoning South Asian community where I lived previously (this was over 10 years ago), and there were advertisements in the local newspapers for female fluent English speakers to visit South Asian women in their homes and help them with conversational and basic written English.

      There’s little I like doing better than meeting women from other countries/cultures because I am always heartened by how similar we are in virtually every way, I must digress at this point, and say how sad it is that Jennifer Smith feels so much resentment to ethnically different immigrants to “her” country, as if she actually got to know some, she would find that most people have the same ambitions and desires, and that most family and marital arguments follow patterns so similar that they can often be translated virtually word for word.

      Anyhoo, I applied, was accepted, but then the whole scheme fizzled out as there was a fairly general male objection to the women learning English generally, but particularly from British born women who might put “ideas” into their heads.

      And we all know how dangerous women with ideas can be, don’t we?

    18. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

      Well nobody asked the British to colonise India blah blah blah…get over it

    19. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

      that last post was aimed at Jennifer who spouts rubbish…

    20. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:17 pm  

      “This is a good article, though, and makes me optimistic about SA women living here but I wonder if the 40% of Pakistani and Bangledeshi men marrying women from outside the UK iare a reaction to the fact that SA women already here are beginning to assert their independence” -
      Shatterface, I think that is true..I know lots of men that have married abroad because they want ‘traditional’ women (read what you want into that but I read subservient yes women)…sometimes it works, and these men can continue on their brain dead existence with their equally brain dead wives watching ptv global or sony entertainment.

    21. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

      chairwoman- that resonates with our experience..don’t think it’s just ‘dangerous white women’ that may put ideas in their wives’ heads, it’s ‘liberated, modern Asian women’ that also might put crazy ideas in their heads like..oooh…make sure you go get that smear test which may end up saving your life…

      Our group is completely unpolitical…we actually teach women to sew clothes, talk about domestic issues, do arts and crafts etc…it just makes me frustrated that issues I saw growing up 15 years ago are still occurring now.

    22. Shatterface — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:25 pm  

      I’m not sure what the demographics are but if a large proportion of SA men are ‘importing’ wives, shouldn’t the number of SA women here vastly outnumber the SA men now - or at least in the near future?

      How will this imbalance effect SA communities - will they become more ‘feminine’ or more ‘feminist’?

    23. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:26 pm  

      damon,

      This is a very silly piece. You’ll have to excuse me.

      Like how 40% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men in the UK were marrying women from overseas. Does that leave a shortage of potential husbands for women from those communities?

      I’d assume it does. And I’d assume that there will not be any lack of men who think that quite intelligent, quite beautiful women, ought not to be abandonded into spinsterhood. It is only ignorant, sexist, religiously intolerant nutters that think that.

      And their name is munir.

    24. Rumbold — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:30 pm  

      “It is only ignorant, sexist, religiously intolerant nutters that think that.

      And their name is munir.”

      Hahahahaha.

    25. chairwoman — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:30 pm  

      Sofia - I didn’t for one moment think it was “dangerous white women” only.

      I recognise a potentially dangerous women when I meet one, and believe that I am communicating with one right now :)

    26. A Councillor Writes — on 17th July, 2009 at 12:53 pm  

      I know of a very subversive ladies sewing project - where mysteriously the ladies seem to also pick up a good command of English and one of the sewing instructors is also a nurse :-)

    27. Edna Welthorpe — on 17th July, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

      We have strayed from the main idea a little.

      For more than 40 years, female students from Lancaster University have taught English to Gujerati-speaking Muslim wimmin in Lancaster; I assume the programme is still going and still voluntary.

      THAT community was and remains small, far smaller than Urdu-speaking communities and Bengali-speaking communities.

      ON MARRIAGE:
      Cross-cousin patrilinial marriage as a continued custom means the importation of brides and grooms from the subcontinent. Hence the continuing influx of poorly-educated people from village communities NOT the sons and daughters of the smart and well-educated classes of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

      Inbreeding comes with high genetic costs; this is now notorious in pediatric wards in those towns and cities with high Pakistani-descended populations.

      Read Theodore Dallrymple for more on this; as a doctor, he saw many tragic and awful cases of children doomed from birth as a result of their genetic inheritance.

      ASSUMPTION
      Do communities like the Sufis, Ahmadiyya* and the Ismailis have these problems about wimmin’s education and so on?

      * A Pakistani colleague confided, “They are not REALLY Muslims.”

    28. damon — on 17th July, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

      Douglas Clark@ 24
      ”This is a very silly piece. You’ll have to excuse me.”

      That’s quite alright Douglas. It was just an idle thought I had. I’m sure some of this imbalance is taken up by British muslim women marrying guys from South Asia and it would be interesting to know what that the percentage is.
      As to what else happens, I can only guess. I’d imagine that marrying a Muslim would be important for a majority, so they must be marrying guys from outside their families national origin, or otherwise to guys who have independently immigrated here themselves.

      Then there’s websites like ”Single Muslim.com”
      http://www.singlemuslim.com/about/british-muslim.html

    29. Sunny — on 17th July, 2009 at 1:46 pm  

      I think I’ll start a White Wimmins Association and ask for funding!

      I don’t see any problem with that. There’s many East European women who don’t know English either. Do it!

    30. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 2:03 pm  

      #25- yes, i’m the dangerous arts and crafts teacher…

      “is only ignorant, sexist, religiously intolerant nutters that think that.” - unfortunately there are far too many of these types of ppl to label them ‘nutters’…I know lots of these ppl and for them it is about retaining traditionally held gender roles within the house.

      The notion of izzat is not just driven by religious patriarchs, but by women in the family who want to exercise ‘power’ within the household. I’ve seen this happen to ppl within my circle of friends and husband’s family. Therefore, some women will see it a matter of izzat if they work as it will imply that the family needs women to go out and work in order to have a good standard of living. Others then invoke so called religious reasons to keep women at home. It would be interesting to see if the experiences of women in this study differed if they lived independently or with their in laws or extended families, as this peer pressure will influence behaviour.

      As for questions around childcare, it would also be interesting to see attitudes amongst these women on having strangers look after their pre school children.

    31. The Common Humanist — on 17th July, 2009 at 2:26 pm  

      When I was at Bradford Uni in the mid 90′s I was stunned in my 18 year old liberal glory to learn there were asian women in the local community who had been here since the 60s and 70s and who still couldn’t speak english.

      Post degree working in the area I found that alot of young asian colleagues spent alot of time translating for and escorting their mothers about. For whatever reason they had been prevented from learning english and their movements were controlled via needing a male child or reletive in such a way.

      Odd to say the least.

    32. Ravi Naik — on 17th July, 2009 at 2:30 pm  

      I don’t see any problem with that. There’s many East European women who don’t know English either. Do it!

      Hahahahaha :)

    33. sabinaahmed — on 17th July, 2009 at 3:27 pm  

      I agree with Sofia`s comment. I too do voluntary work with the health authorities and other bodies to try to get women(mostly Muslim)to attend information sessions on health,child care benefits and learning. They are the hardest group to persuade. The government scheme against etremism, also want the police to work with these women. A special officer has been appointed in each rea,am involved with one such scheme, but finding it hard to get others on board..

    34. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 3:41 pm  

      Sabina, at the group I’m at, the community safety officer came along to the group and handed out child alarms and spoke about safety on transport..maybe you could get the officers to come to local groups, or attend events that local mosques/communities are holding.

    35. Galloise Blonde — on 17th July, 2009 at 3:57 pm  

      Sofia at 30, the report does discuss the childcare issues you’re talking about, and particularly says that South Asian Muslim women are worried about non-Muslim childcare providers: their suggestion is that some of these South Asian women who need work become registered childminders.

    36. Edna Welthorpe — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:02 pm  

      A brief and factual piece of mine about the joys of present-day multi-culti Canada was briskly erased.

    37. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:07 pm  

      evil edna..that’s because you conveniently erase a whole lot of history too…

    38. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:08 pm  

      Galloise- sorry missed it…”But it is noteworthy that the number ofrespondents wanting better childcare to enable them to work is quite low given that
      49% said that they could not work because of their responsibilities in the home, including
      caring for their children.” Also is there a difference in attitude depending on area?

    39. Sofia — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

      I also think this report would have benefitted by putting in Indian muslims too

    40. sabinaahmed — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:44 pm  

      Sofia
      thanks, the trouble is that in the west of England whrer I live, there are not many groups as such. A lot of women are the young girls,who have come as brides to the community of resturant owners.
      I was invited to join an initiative in 2004/5, started y Lord Patel.The Lords commtt; had given a million pounds to improve the job prospects of Muslim women. They were going to provide a lap top to every women to learn. Am not sure what came of it, I declined as at the time it was very poorly organised and run.
      I wonder if anyone has any information?

    41. The Common Humanist — on 17th July, 2009 at 4:57 pm  

      “Sofia at 30, the report does discuss the childcare issues you’re talking about, and particularly says that South Asian Muslim women are worried about non-Muslim childcare providers: their suggestion is that some of these South Asian women who need work become registered childminders”

      If I were worried about muslim childcare providers (am not BTW) I would be, rightly, labelled islamophobic or racist. How are the concerns of these women somehow legit but the other way around not?

      It is incredibly offensive to suggest that somehow a non muslim just simply isn’t good enough to look after a muslim child.

      It seems integration has a heck of a long way to go amongst some immigrant groups but I also wonder how far does this extend to second, third and fourth generations?

    42. damon — on 17th July, 2009 at 5:05 pm  

      Sabinaahmed @ 40 ”A lot of women are the young girls, who have come as brides to the community of resturant owners”.

      That surely should be a whole other thread in itself.

      ”Young Banglideshi woman comes to UK as bride of Weston-super-Mare resturant owner”.

      How does that work out? Are these resturant owners themselves British? (Or born here, or born in Bangladesh … and does that make any difference to anything anyway?).

    43. sabinaahmed — on 17th July, 2009 at 5:12 pm  

      Hi Damon
      these men are naturalised British,or they have indefinate leave to remain in the country. They do a valueable job,improve the economy and have made Indian curry the national dish.
      Their women on the other hand are another matter. They have gone “back home” to get married. For various reasons. These are young girls,in their early twenties. They do not speak English,and the men do not want them to go out and participate in any activities or learn it. So we have a whole group of such women who are more or less confinde to the kitchen.

    44. Galloise Blonde — on 17th July, 2009 at 5:17 pm  

      I have a few other comments from reading the first two-thirds of the report:

      Firstly, one of the first reasons they give for women not being able to take part in the survey was that their husbands answered the phone and refused to pass it on because they thought the phone call was offeriing their wives a job. I’d like to know how many husbands reacted like this: it kind of undercuts the idea that family are not a significant factor in preventing women from finding work.

      Secondly, is that they have taken a survey of women solely of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin but entitled it ‘Muslim women’ as if this group was representative of a much larger and more diverse group of women. If Quilliam had broadened their approach they would have had to deal with issues like asylum-seeking women who are prevented from working, and women who need help to convert professional qualifications gained in their country of origin rather than the JobCentre type approach we see in this document. Why not call it ‘What South Asian Muslim Women Want’ — it would be be more honest? I generally prefer not to use religious categories where they are not useful in any case.

      TCH at 41: I do agree.

      Have a great weekend all.

    45. Boyo — on 17th July, 2009 at 5:20 pm  

      “It is incredibly offensive to suggest that somehow a non muslim just simply isn’t good enough to look after a muslim child.”

      Of course it is, but get with the programme - because “Muslims” (whoever they are) are “disempowered” etc their prejudices are excusable. It’s a cultural thing - don’t be so damn Islamophobic!

    46. anobody — on 17th July, 2009 at 5:36 pm  

      “Like how 40% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men in the UK were marrying women from overseas”

      Firstly, I don’t think it would be wise for people to assume that they do this because they are Muslims. I haven’t read anywhere in the quran or hadith where man is required to marry a paki from the pind because she is better at rolling a round chappati.

      I believe some commentators are right to suggest that young SA men go abroad to get married as they believe the woman folk are less educated, more traditional and thefore subservient. To do so for purely, these reasons is cowardice. However, I think there are far more complex cultural dynamics involved.

      People forget that marriages abroad through emotional blackmail, or through a sense of duty to parents, occur with both men and women. I think a large majority of this 40% figure is due to to parental pressure, or emotional pressure and a sense of duty to parents.

      I’m not letting SA men off the hook here and it is a sad indictment that many do not allow their womenfolk to learn English. Hopefully this will change.

      (Just for the record, I believe that if these marriages occur it should be a prerequisite they are competent in speaking and writing English before they are granted any visa).

      Just some questions for the SA women who have posted here: How many of you would have parents or grandparents in old people’s homes? How many of you know of parents or grandparent of a South Asian background in old people’s homes, or are elderly and living without reach of immediate family? How many of you have an imported sister-in-law?

    47. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2009 at 7:06 pm  

      anobody,

      People forget that marriages abroad through emotional blackmail, or through a sense of duty to parents, occur with both men and women. I think a large majority of this 40% figure is due to to parental pressure, or emotional pressure and a sense of duty to parents.

      I think it would be incredibly wise to assume that they do this because they are muslim men. Because they can. It is both wrong and evil.

      So there you go anobody, yet another case of your religion being open to question.

    48. Mantis — on 17th July, 2009 at 7:18 pm  

      Why can’t South Asians living in Britain find partners here also? I mean, it would save a lot of trouble marrying someone who can already speak English, have qualifications, etc? Why do they have to be fixed up with some village idiot abroad? This ain’t just with muslims, as sikhs do it as well as hindus.

    49. sonia — on 17th July, 2009 at 8:01 pm  

      Interesting. As people pointed out, language and literacy skills are important. Each borough will have its own routes into providing free basic skills and ESOL classes etc. of course the point is always signposting and how to enable the women to be able to surmount the barriers they’re facing to participation (like its ‘bad’ to be out of the house unless for some ‘good’ household/family related reason).

      I would say fundamentally the key barrier is not being able to feel self-development is essential to oneself, and that it is some ‘luxury’ they may indulge in. i think a lot of emotional support work in their own homes/strong peer groups/role models are absolutely necessary - so women of their own background, similar situations, within their own circles whose homes they can ‘legitimately’ go to for a cup of tea etc. these are the locales where support and coaching for self-esteem needs to happen before the women can even access the services that are out there to help them get economically active.

    50. sonia — on 17th July, 2009 at 8:02 pm  

      Remember half the battle is about having the self-belief that one’s own life is significant, rather than being just a ‘vehicle’ for the family

    51. douglas clark — on 17th July, 2009 at 8:14 pm  

      Remember half the battle is about having the self-belief that one’s own life is significant, rather than being just a ‘vehicle’ for the family.

      I beg to differ. It is the whole of the battle.

    52. Edna Welthorpe — on 17th July, 2009 at 9:01 pm  

      Sofia 37 - my error; I mistook the threads

      Mantis @ 48 needs to grasp
      “…keep it all in the greater extended family …” if you are from a low-trust society in which nobody with any sense trusts anyone outside the extended family much

      Understandable enough given that no-one but a total fool trusts outsiders EXCEPT in high-trust societies

      and those high-trust societies are being eroded by the influx of people from low-trust societies who sensibly buy 10-tola bars of 24-carat gold because the rupee might crash any minute

      Read Robert Putnam on the subject of the erosion of high-trust societies in an age of mass immigration

      and so goodnight from a different time zone to yours

    53. sonia — on 18th July, 2009 at 12:38 am  

      jennifer smith, the ESOL classes and basic literacy classes are available to white people as well.. there are a lot of people who come from socially excluded backgrounds (who were born here and of various ethnicities including white) who are in need of basic literacy skills, and the lack of skills confidence and networks means they aren’t economically active. the wider problem is that there is the classes are actually there, but uptake is low because of the lack of funding into interventions into actually telling people what’s out there for them, and emotionally supporting them to make positive choices for themselves.

      there’s no need for competition, between groups to be seen the most ‘victimised’. It’s just sad and depressing that in a ‘first’ world country these kind of parallel realities exist side by side.

    54. anobody — on 18th July, 2009 at 12:50 am  

      douglas clarke,

      “I think it would be incredibly wise to assume that they do this because they are muslim men. Because they can. It is both wrong and evil.”

      oh rly?

      I beg to differ. You can’t just make sweeping comments without corroborating what you have said. I challenge you to find a verse of the Quran which specifically advocates, shipping in women from foreign lands to be taken as a wife. If this was exclusively an Islamic practise I would have expected hoards of Somali brothers going back to Somalia to marry, but I don’t think that’s happening. Do you? Similarly Islamic communities in the UK from Indonesia, and the Middle East would be doing the same, but they are not. As I’ve mentioned earlier, this practise is very much exclusive to South Asian minority, more so due to cultural pressures.

      There are some South Asian men who take up this practise, who happen to be Muslim, but similarly there are South Asian men who are not Muslim, who also take up this practise.

      I admire your interest in the condition of Muslims and in Islam in general. I know very many of us are falling on the way side and are taking up deviant practices which were not practised by the Prophet (peace be upon him) his companions and the salaf (may Allah be pleased with them). However, I think the Sheikh who is providing your information is also misguided and clouding your judgement.

      Allah knows best.

    55. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:06 am  

      Anobody, there is no e on my second name, just so’s you know.

      There are some South Asian men who take up this practise, who happen to be Muslim, but similarly there are South Asian men who are not Muslim, who also take up this practise.

      Well, that was my point, wasn’t it? I am unaware of your claim that other groups take up this practice. Perhaps you could link?

    56. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:06 am  

      douglas clark
      “I think it would be incredibly wise to assume that they do this because they are muslim men. Because they can. It is both wrong and evil.”

      I think its clear you have extreme hatred of Muslims nd consider us some eveil demonic force

      “So there you go anobody, yet another case of your religion being open to question.”

      This has nothing to do with religion retard-who-knows-f-all-about-islam

    57. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:09 am  

      Boyo
      Of course it is, but get with the programme – because “Muslims” (whoever they are) are “disempowered” etc their prejudices are excusable. It’s a cultural thing – don’t be so damn Islamophobic!

      While as Boyo has said on this forum criticising hugely armed with the latest weapons nuclear Israels policies towards the unarmed Palestinains is “anti-semitic”

    58. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:21 am  

      “Shatterface,

      are a reaction to the fact that SA women already here are beginning to assert their independence?”

      douglas clark
      The increasingly hysterical attitudes of the male of the group says, yes. Munir, et al.

      When did I say that you shameless liar?. You and your ilk support the banning of Muslim women from education in France and Turkey because they wear hijabs and denying women the right to wear a niqab in France. I vehemtly oppose this.

      A tabloid addled ignoramous such as yourself is unable to distinguish between South Asian culture and Islam. Islam encourages women to be educated and to be independent. Our role model the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s wife Khadija (may God be pleased with her) was a succesful businesswomen who was his employer.

    59. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:23 am  

      douglas clark
      “Well, that was my point, wasn’t it? I am unaware of your claim that other groups take up this practice. Perhaps you could link?”

      so if you are unaware why make the point? except to indulge in some Muslim-bashing

    60. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:24 am  

      munir,

      Whilst it would be true that I think you are an evil little bastard, it would be completely untrue to charactarise me as disliking Muslims in general. For I have hung around here for a very long time and have come to like folk that commentate here. Muslims and others, both.

      You, however are a sad little bastard without a cohesive thought in what you describe as a brain. You have always criticisised anyone that doesn’t see the world through your lenses. I have attempted to talk you down. That was a complete fail, because you are a complete and utter nutjob.

      To my immediate family, and to folks that know me, I am not a retard. The same thing cannot be demonstrated about you.

    61. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:29 am  

      This is for the retarded hate monger Douglas Clark, from the report above

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”

      “Not one respondent said that Islam was behind their reason for remaining without work”


      Douglas Clark is an “essentialist” Islamophobe- he believes all (bad) things Muslims do must be traced back to Islam - and that Muslims, being diffent creatures from the rest of humanity, arent influenced by other things such as culture and environemnt as others are.

    62. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:41 am  

      Hmm..

      I am not, to the best of my knowledge, an Islamophobe. Is there anyone else out there that thinks I am? Just so’s you could share this astonishing revelation with me? It is certainly the case that I do not agree with quite a lot of Islamic prescriptions, such as the views that are prevelant on homosexuality, nor slavery, nor the place of women in society, for these seem to me, as a rationalist, to be complete bigotry.

      But, there you go, that is a different point of view from munirs’ and not an insult in sight….

    63. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:42 am  

      Douglas Clark

      “Whilst it would be true that I think you are an evil little bastard,”

      I can imagine that would be the case after I exposed your cack ignorance of Islam (you dont even know that Muslims are monothiests!!!-the entire cornerstone of our religion). Actually it was a team effort as on the “Burkha” thread you triumphantly posted a text which disproved your entire point

      I dont actually think your an athiest - you just believe Douglas Clark is God so consider any opposition to him and his thoughts evil and blasphemy

      ” it would be completely untrue to charactarise me as disliking Muslims in general. For I have hung around here for a very long time and have come to like folk that commentate here. Muslims and others, both.”

      he he …Some of my best (online) friends are Muslims

      “You, however are a sad little bastard without a cohesive thought in what you describe as a brain.”

      Funny a while ago you were commenting that I had a good brain. Contradicting yourself again Dougie?

      ” You have always criticisised anyone that doesn’t see the world through your lenses.”

      Actually this is you- you are incapable of seeing the world other than through your Eurocentric lenses. A religion must teach that the veil is bad and that homosexuality is OK because thats what you believe.

      No I have pointed out the errors of lying ignoramoses like you who lie about what Islam actually teaches.

      ” I have attempted to talk you down. That was a complete fail, because you are a complete and utter nutjob.”

      It was a complete fail because your arguments were flimsy and prepostrous.

      “To my immediate family, and to folks that know me, I am not a retard. ”

      When it comes to Islam and Muslims you are- you are unable to engage other than the demonic sterotype of Muslims (evil men, opressed women) you have created in your mediasheep head and engage with what Muslims actually say..

    64. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:49 am  

      Douglas Clark
      “I am not, to the best of my knowledge, an Islamophobe. Is there anyone else out there that thinks I am? ”

      Actually you have to be fair defended Muslims - but what else can you say about this comment #47

      “I think it would be incredibly wise to assume that they do this because they are muslim men. Because they can. It is both wrong and evil.

      So there you go anobody, yet another case of your religion being open to question.”

      ” It is certainly the case that I do not agree with quite a lot of Islamic prescriptions,”

      fair enough - disagreeing with what a religion teaches doesnt make you a “— a phobe”

      “such as the views that are prevelant on homosexuality, ”

      Its true Islam strongly disapproves of homosexuality (though not of homosexuals) yet you wasted huge amount of ink argue Islam supports homosexuality- only to now admit it doesnt!!! what a joker

      “nor slavery, nor the place of women in society, for these seem to me, as a rationalist, to be complete bigotry.”

      You dont even know what these are or even understand them! Kindly tell us your sources for where you learnt about these issues- bet you cant

      But, there you go, that is a different point of view from munirs’ and not an insult in sight….

    65. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:57 am  

      munir,

      Answer me directly or not at all.

      It is perfectly clear that you do have a brain, it is not at all obvious what is directed towards. Or perhaps it is. Towards defenciveness where none is required, perhaps? Yes, munir, that seems to be what you are about.

      And you sir are an evil little bastard of the first order. There are people that are not of your religion and people that are, that are trying to get along together and a hateful little tit like you tries to spoil it.

      Evil wee tit is as evil wee tit does. Not that you’d be able to see the point. Oh noes! He just goes on being a tit….

    66. anobody — on 18th July, 2009 at 2:02 am  

      douglas clark,

      I don’t have to provide links. We can ask PP members here if South Asian (non Muslim), who are non resident in the South Asia go abroad to get married.

      It goes on very much within Sikh Punjabi communities, and less so in Hindu communities. Although we know it is not Hinduism or Sikhism which advocates this practise.

    67. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2009 at 2:45 am  

      anobody,

      Well, without the evidence, your claims are worthless.

      Go ahead, and ask folk here about non Muslim practices, though even if you get a vote for it, I’ll call it wrong. And I am unaware of it being common anywhere other than in muslim communities. Despite you correction.

    68. Julian the Apostate — on 18th July, 2009 at 8:05 am  

      I wish manners were better on this site

      Surely the real challenge is whether or not Islam can exist intact and unchanged in the real modern world.

      http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_2_when_islam.html

      It probably can’t, at least not in its present form.

      However, the Russian Orthodox Church has been resuscitated to serve as a prop to the Putin regime and the entire legitimacy of Pakistan is predicated on its Muslim identity

      [Israelis have a cultural identity as Israels but most of them aren't really terribly bothered one way or the other about being Jews*]

      * An Israeli agnostic told me this so it must be true

    69. Boyo — on 18th July, 2009 at 8:09 am  

      Heh. Even I know Muslims are monotheists Douglas! ;-)

    70. chairwoman — on 18th July, 2009 at 11:53 am  

      What in heaven’s name is wrong with you Munir? You seem to think that practicing your religion gives you some sort of moral and actual superiority over everybody else.

      The insults you direct at Douglas, apart from being primary school level, are misplaced and untrue.

      If you adopt this attitude in your dealings with ‘real’ people in your daily life, you must be not only disliked and despised, but perilously near to being on the receiving end of some kind of physical attack.

      Not everybody is as tolerant of your sort of verbal abuse as the Picklers.

    71. Amrit — on 18th July, 2009 at 12:16 pm  

      I just have to inform you douglas, that unfortunately the practice of getting a wife ‘from the village/back home’ is not uncommon in the Sikh community, and I would bet, in the Hindu community as well.

      Something which has recently come to my attention more is the appalling manner in which Indian women are tricked into marrying partners who are disabled and effectively made to become their full-time carers.

      A lot of families go for women from the SA subcontinent not just because they are subservient, but because it is presumed that they will be so glad to come to this country that they will accept any conditions. The main condition usually tends to be that they NOT WORK. The tide seems to be turning (slowly) now.

      I wonder if some of the women surveyed were a victim of this pressure to not work, even indirectly. Often, simply the act of marrying a woman from ‘back home’ is an implicit sign of certain bigoted attitudes towards women.

    72. anobody — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

      douglas clark,

      “Go ahead, and ask folk here about non Muslim practices, though even if you get a vote for it, I’ll call it wrong. And I am unaware of it being common anywhere other than in muslim communities. Despite you correction” Post 67

      I’m not saying they are right.

      Unless I’ve completely misunderstood what you have said, you’ve claimed that these practises are carried out by SA browns specifically because they are Muslim. Here:

      ““I think it would be incredibly wise to assume that they do this because they are Muslim men” Post 47

      This is what I am refuting. I have said it is not because they are Muslim, as there is nothing in Islam which says you have to import a bride from your ancestral homeland. This is ludicrous. I’ve argued that if it is the case, why then is there no evidence of such practices amongst other non-SA Muslim communities settled in the UK? I’ve also argued that the practise of marrying abroad, is common amongst other SA communities who are not Muslim, e.g the Sikh community and less so by the Hindu community (although it is not a religious practise).

      You deny this also, just because you douglas clark have not heard of it. So I’ve asked people here on PP who will have first hand knowledge on this, which Amrit has kindly responded to in post 71. Just in case you missed what she said:

      “I just have to inform you douglas, that unfortunately the practice of getting a wife ‘from the village/back home’ is not uncommon in the Sikh community, and I would bet, in the Hindu community as well.”

      Now douglas clark, do you still think it is an exclusive practise of South Asian men of a Muslim background? Or is Amrit making it up? Do you still believe they are “doing this because they are Muslim men”?

      Allah knows best.

    73. Boyo — on 18th July, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

      “You seem to think that practicing your religion gives you some sort of moral and actual superiority over everybody else.”

      Isn’t that the whole point? It is after all what the Koran says? ;-)

    74. chairwoman — on 18th July, 2009 at 2:15 pm  

      Well the Old Testament tells me the same, and the New Testament tells Christians the same, the difference is that most followers don’t actually believe that to be true, and those that do have the good manners to keep their opinions to themselves.

      I just can’t stand arrogant sanctimonious, abusive, prigs!

    75. halima — on 18th July, 2009 at 3:32 pm  

      Men importing brides?

      Why i thought it was the thing to do .. mail order brides, internet brides, Thai brides, etc etc .

      It boils down to economics.

      In parts of the world where relatively poorer people live - you can take it for granted that women will marry for money. Traditions enable it. Some parts of the world, men will marry for money. It’s not rocket science.

    76. Boyo — on 18th July, 2009 at 4:03 pm  

      Chairwoman, I’m not sure it does? I agree the Jews are the Chosen People, and (John?) has Jesus say no one can come to the Lord except through me, however I don’t believe Christianity actually explicitly states that Christians are superior to other believers, as do the other monotheistic faiths? I may be wrong, but I think this is a key difference - the idea of love (as opposed to race with the Jews or Justice with Muslims) kind of undermines the superiority argument. Although admittedly that hasn’t necessarily been the case in practice ;-)

      Nonetheless, I do feel that modern Christian cultures (ie, the West) remain relatively true to the egalitarian message of Jesus, if at times it is misunderstood or abused. Cue outraged squeaking… yet I know of few Westerners who would object to their children being cared for by an “unclean” Muslim, or indeed few Westerners who would decline from touching a Muslim, as is the case with a sizeable minority of Muslims (not least my local newsagent).

    77. Jennifer Smith — on 18th July, 2009 at 4:46 pm  

      “Nobody asked the British to colonise”… are you joking?

      How long are you people going to whinge about that one? You weren’t even there. I think I’ll have a go at the Greek and Italians for Alexander the Great and Caesar.

      YOU GET OVER IT… I’m talking now… stupid woman! All I am saying is how much money do you think there is left now the labour party have bankrupted us?

      You all leave in your socialist perfect utopia’s, pathetic!

    78. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 5:34 pm  

      Boyo- you know zero about Islam

      ” yet I know of few Westerners who would object to their children being cared for by an “unclean” Muslim, or indeed few Westerners who would decline from touching a Muslim, as is the case with a sizeable minority of Muslims (not least my local newsagent).”

      In Islam non Muslims arent considered “unclean”- it is after all allowed to marry some of them. there is absolutely no prohibition touching non-Muslims (in a non sexual way before Shatterface gets excited) of the same gender.

      Is your newsagent of a different gender?
      Or maybe they are people of taste and just object to touching you

      “You seem to think that practicing your religion gives you some sort of moral and actual superiority over everybody else.”

      Boyo
      Isn’t that the whole point? It is after all what the Koran says?

      Where? there are numerous ayahs and hadith condeming arrogance- it was after all the sin of Iblis (the devil)

      …Verily, Allâh does not like such as are proud and boastful; Those who are miserly and enjoin miserliness on other men and hide what Allâh has bestowed upon them of His Bounties…. Qur’an 4:36-37

      “I shall turn away from my revelations those who are unjustly proud in the Earth. Even if they see every sign, they will not believe in it. And if they see the right path to salvation they will not take it. If they see the wrong path to error and sin they will take it. This is because they reject Our messages and are heedless of them.”
      Sûrah Al-A’raf 146

      Abu Hurayra reports that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “Grandeur is my shirt, majesty is my skirt; whoever compares himself to me is arrogant. I throw him to the fire and I do not regret it.”

      Ibn Mas’ud relates that the Prophet (saws) said, “Whoever has an atom of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise.” Then one of his companions asked, “What do you say about someone who likes to dress in fine clothes?” and he answered, “Allah is beautiful and likes that which is beautiful. Arrogance is to deny reality and to consider others beneath oneself.”

      The Prophet said, “Paradise and Hell (Fire) quarrelled in the presence of their Lord. Paradise said, ‘O Lord! What is wrong with me that only the poor and humble people enter me?’ Hell (Fire) said, ‘I have been favored with the arrogant people.’ So Allah said to Paradise, ‘You are My Mercy,’ and said to Hell, ‘You are My Punishment which I inflict upon whom I wish, and I shall fill both of you

      The Quran says “Verily the hyprocrites (will be) in the lowest pit of the fire” Quran 4:145

      Munafiqeen are people who outwardly are Muslims but inwardly do not believe. Islamically it doesnt refer to non-Muslims.

    79. munir — on 18th July, 2009 at 5:47 pm  

      Boyo
      “I may be wrong, but I think this is a key difference – the idea of love (as opposed to race with the Jews or Justice with Muslims) kind of undermines the superiority argument”

      Actually the idea of justice undermines the superiority argument

      4:135 O you who believe! be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness of Allah’s sake, though it may be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives; if he be rich or poor, Allah is nearer to them both in compassion; therefore do not follow (your) low desires, lest you deviate; and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely Allah is aware of what you do.

    80. chairwoman — on 18th July, 2009 at 6:22 pm  

      We’re not chosen to be superior, Boyo.

      We’re chosen to follow an extremely difficult set of rules, at which I fail dismally :)

    81. Deborah — on 23rd July, 2009 at 8:36 am  

      I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

      Deborah

      http://maternitymotherhood.net

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