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Cheers - AE

Friday, 21 January 2011

Cultural understanding goes only so far.

Shortly before Christmas, which readers of a sandal wearing Guardian subscribing disposition may prefer to think of as that corrupt display of decadence and materialism based on an outmoded religious festival that happens around Diwali time, or sometimes Ramadan (not Channukah, though), I blogged on the story of one of the young actresses in the Harry Potter films who was experiencing what some might like to think of as culturally related domestic issues.
A young Muslim actress who appeared in the Harry Potter films was beaten by her brother and told by her father that he would kill her after she began a relationship with a Hindu man, a court heard yesterday.
Afshan Azad, 22, who played Padma Patil, a classmate of the boy wizard, was called a “slag” and a “prostitute” in a violent confrontation at her family home which left her so scared she fled through a window, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Every time I read something like this my jaw drops, but in this instance what the fuck were they thinking? Nobody would notice or something? She's not A-list and hasn't had anything like the exposure of the three big names but it's a relatively safe bet that someone would ask questions. The mind boggl... wait, no it doesn't.
Abul Azad, 53, and his son Ashraf, 28, were charged with making threats to kill following the incident in Longsight, Manchester, on May 21. Both were cleared of the charge yesterday after a judge heard that Miss Azad had refused to give evidence despite “expensive and time-consuming” attempts to encourage her to attend court. After going to the police, she “made it plain” that she did not want any action taken against her family, saying that the arrest of her father or brother would put her in “genuine danger”, the court heard.
Now the mind boggles. You had to do a runner through a window, kid. It sounds like you were in genuine danger already.
And now I see this:
The 35-year-old woman had accused her 34-year-old husband - a convicted sex offender - of raping her twice and was due to testify against him at a trial earlier this week.
But prosecutors were forced to offer no evidence and the case collapsed when the women suddenly decided to retract the allegations.
Judge Simon Newell said he was concerned ‘sections of the community’ were ‘exerting influences’ and ‘inhibiting the police’ from carrying out their duties. He implied justice was being interfered with by those close to the woman who wanted her to drop the charges.
The husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has two previous convictions - one for assault causing actual bodily harm against his wife and another for a sexual offence against another woman.
He has already been ordered to sign the sex offenders register until September 2014.
Despite expressing concern that the woman had been pressurised into withdrawing the rape claims, Judge Newell allowed the husband to walk free from court.
And what else could he do?
'It seems to me there are persons who have an interest in this case, who are minded to express opinions and exert influences which are possibly inhibiting the police, the prosecuting authorities and the courts in carrying out their proper functions,' the judge said.
'This will not be tolerated.'
And there I think I see part of the problem, because to an extent it is tolerated. Yes, reporting and then withdrawing a complaint is self-defeating and does a victim no favours but we shouldn't ignore the fact that certain people are so concerned about offending someone's culture or religion and so determined that all of us should bend over backwards to be accommodating that they forget that individual people are getting fucking hurt.

Respect someone else's culture or beliefs by all means, but spouting shit about awareness and understanding as you stand by and ignore the violence and abuse is shows neither respect, awareness or understanding of what individual people are going through. If someone refuses help then there's little that can be done, but all this effort to be understanding sends a message that you're inclined to tolerate certain violent acts if committed by certain ethnicities. And that's not avoiding inadvertently oppressing them with our white anglo views, it's just being a fuckwit.
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