Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Maajid Nawaz Reveals His Very Own Forced Marriage Experience
16 June 2018, 17:30
Maajid Nawaz reveals how his college sweetheart was whisked away to Pakistan and married against her will.
"Most Pakistanis in this country have an experience or a tale to tell when it comes to forced marriage, and I'm no exception," said Maajid.
"Because at the age of seventeen or eighteen, I had a love.
"Somebody I actually fell in love with, whom my parents were aware of and wanted to speak to her parents to see if after we graduated that something could come of that love.
"A college sweetheart.
"To my great shock and dismay, and sadness, when my parents innocently went to speak to her parents, when her parents learned of my love for their daughter, they took her off to Pakistan in the guise of a holiday and married her off to her cousin against her wishes.
"Of course there is a difference between an arranged marriage, and a forced marriage.
A forced marriage is without consent and is therefore rape, and arranged marriage where the parents introduce the two soon to be husband wife or spouses and partners but the but that the partner in the end consents and wishes to please their parents.
"They are different things.
"Arranged marriages are not illegal forced marriages are and forced marriages end in rape.
"But how I know that this wasn't with the with the consent of my quote then college sweetheart was because a couple years later I got a phone call.
"She offered to run away with me and I didn't think it was a practical solution and wouldn't go anywhere.
"It scarred me ever since and I question myself to this day as to whether the 18-year-old me did the right thing, or whether I failed somebody.
"Probably saved her a big headache because I ended up being a bit of a troublemaker."