Leadership: It Goes Beyond The Office

To say I was shocked to read that one in five young Muslims support honour violence would be an understatement.   Research highlighted that 69% of Asians aged 16 – 34 say communities should live according to ‘honour’.   This research was not undertaken in the Middle East or another predominately Muslim country, it was undertaken in Britain.

Nearly one in five or 18% said certain acts that were thought to shame families would be justification for violence.  Even more concerning were the types of acts these young people deemed to bring shame and hence a justifiable reason for honour violence.  Marrying someone the family thought unacceptable, wanting to end a marriage or disobeying a father. 

To put the above into context, violence can take the form of acid attacks, mutilations, beatings, abductions and even death.   Whilst 94% stated there was never justification for murder lessor violent crimes are acceptable.   Hard to believe this is Britain 2012.  Wanting to end your marriage to a violent husband, marrying someone you love who maybe from a different culture and even disobeying your father or any other so called act of dishonor does not deserve to be met with violence of any type and it cannot be condoned in any society, let alone Britain. 

I was further chilled to read that of the 500 Asians interviewed for the Panorama poll, 75% of young men and even more shocking 63% of young women said families should live according to ‘honour’.  What this means for the future of British society is anyone’s guess.   We moved out of the dark ages hundreds of years ago and yet in this age we have people who still hold onto these beliefs.   Suppression of women continues. 

More than 2000 honour crimes are committed a year according to a study of police data by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Right Organisation.  It is difficult to determine how many of these attacks lead to death, but the lead prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service believes the number to between 10 to 12 deaths a year in Britain.  Karma Nirvana, a charity set-up to help women in distress receives approximately 500 calls per month and this is viewed as the tip of the iceberg. 

The above article was on page 15 of the International Express newspaper. Thank heavens for the Express for highlighting this problem but, I question why this isn’t on the front page of this and every other publication for that matter.   It appears that we still have a long way to go in making people aware of the plight of women and not just in 3rd world countries but right under our noses in what we consider enlightened society.   We cannot give up on the fight. 

Leadership is about more than just what we do in the office.  It is about standing up and being counted when there is injustice in the world.  It is about speaking out for those who are suppressed and downtrodden.  It is about standing firm in your beliefs for equality for all and it is about doing the right thing and beating women is not the right thing regardless of circumstance.  At times I fear for the world we have created but, the positive thing is what we have create we can change. With good leadership, courage and awareness we can change this.  

(Source: International Express Tuesday March 27th.)