Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cultures clash in custody battle

The 12-year-old girl at the centre of an international custody battle, must grow up in a country where the preservation of her chastity will not be jeopardised, a court in Pakistan was told yesterday.

The girl,Molly, who prefers to be known by her Muslim name, Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, vanished last month from her mother’s home in the Outer Hebrides, prompting an international police hunt.

She has resurfaced in Lahore, Pakistan and she is reunited with her father. She claims to have left her mother, her legal guardian and went to Pakistan voluntarily.

Her Pakistani father Sajad Ahmed Rana said that people in Britain lived a lifestyle that “condones and even encourages sexual promiscuity. This is repugnant to the injunction of Islam.”

Islamic convention meant that a girl who was “near puberty” must be placed in a social environment where the preservation of her chastity could be ensured, he said.

In response to remarks by Misbah's mother that she was taken to Pakistan illegally,Mr Rana has sought to portray the dispute as a battle between cultures, and has pointed to his former wife’s alleged drinking and drug taking. He has also criticised her for having a baby with a man to whom she is not married.

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