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Forced marriage by an Imam in Quebec: “My family wants to beat me”

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Of course, no English media is reporting this story. It’s not like it’s in Canada or anything. /sarc tag off.

Saved from a forced marriage in Victoriaville: “My family wants to hit me”

(Victoriaville) Police and Youth Protection Branch (DPJ) have rescued a teenage girl from a forced marriage organized by an imam in Victoriaville this summer. When the girl ran away from home, she found refuge with a family of refugees in the area, which provoked a clash in the community. His protectors have confided to La Presse . Story of a rescue.
Posted on 09 September 2019 at 5h00
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By Vincent Larouche, La Presse, September 9, 2019:

The teenager broke into the apartment of the Al-Atrash family * without knocking. People were chasing him. She seemed terrified, out of breath. She needed a place to hide. Right now.

“My family wants to hit me, my family wants to hit me,” she repeated. Residents of the place wanted to calm her, offer her a glass of water. They could not understand why she broke into their home. But they could see that she had left in an emergency, without even taking the time to put on her shoes.

Then the front door opened again. Six people broke into the modest housing following the girl. His mother, his brothers, his fiancé in his twenties, and two of his friends. They seemed furious, enraged, aggressive.

The fleeing teenager rushed into a room and locked the door. His mother cried, “I want my daughter! Her fiancĂ© took off and started beating in the door of the room, which he managed to smash.

The hunted girl was holding on, leaning her back against the broken door and pushing with her legs on the bed in front of her to block the entrance. ” I do not want to go outside ! She cried.
Scrambling and melee

The six members of the Al-Atrash family interposed in front of the intruders. Father Al-Atrash shouted to the fiance, “But what are you doing? ”

A stampede broke out. Screaming, hand-to-hand, hair pulled, falls: the fiance was wounded in one hand. Pregnant, mother Al-Atrash was pushed violently, causing her stomach pains that led her to the hospital.

I was really scared, it was not easy. Everyone was crying.

Amira, the eldest daughter of the Al-Atrash family

( The press has changed the names of family members because the Youth Protection Act prohibits the publication of any information that would identify the victim in this case or his parents.)

Amira knew the teenager on the run. They were studying in different secondary schools, but since their families had fled the same country in the Middle East to settle as refugees in the same neighborhood in Victoriaville, they had become friends. Amira did not know all the details of her friend’s private life. But she knew they wanted to force her to marry a man in her twenties. And that the girl did not want to know anything about him.

The teenage girl’s forced marriage story was revealed Friday morning by host Paul Arcand on 98.5 FM. The next day, the six members of the Al-Atrash family agreed to give an interview to La Presse in their small salon. For the first time, they told the tense day of April and the rifts it has provoked in the Muslim community of Center-du-QuĂ©bec.

Five months later, as they recollect, the door frame of their bedroom still shows signs of violence.
Police escort

In the chaotic environment that April afternoon, Father Al-Atrash had managed to reach the teenager’s father on the phone. “I told him he’s talking to his world, that I do not want problems,” he recalls. Finally, one of the fleeing teenage brothers agreed that it was not acceptable to invade people’s homes. He took out his band. The dispute has moved out. The teenager still refused to go out, and the Al-Atrash screened to protect her.

The patrol officers of the Victoriaville SQ (SQ) station, who were on the scene, had a hard time understanding what was happening.

“The police were called for an altercation involving about twenty people,” says sergeant Ingrid Asselin, spokesman for the SQ.

Other members of the community were involved in the dispute. The situation was confused. “The police spoke French, but everyone here spoke Arabic,” recalls Father Al-Atrash, who has been taking French courses since arriving in Quebec in 2016, but who is still struggling to make himself understood.

After having sorted out the story, the police made a report to the director of youth protection.

Sgt Ingrid Asselin, spokesperson for the SQ

The same day, the teenage girl was taken out of her home to be placed in a foster home, because the interveners felt that her development and her safety were threatened. Police escorted DYP workers to their destination to ensure they were not being followed.

The teenager herself asked to be placed in a foster home until she came of age, so much did she fear her family. The case moved to the youth court, where the parents and the future husband pleaded for her to stay with them.

Original article in French:

SauvĂ©e d’un mariage forcĂ© Ă  Victoriaville: «Ma famille veut me frapper»

PHOTOMONTAGE LA PRESSE

(Victoriaville) La police et la direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) ont sauvĂ© une adolescente d’un mariage forcĂ© organisĂ© par un imam Ă  Victoriaville cet Ă©tĂ©. Lorsque la jeune fille s’est enfuie de chez elle, c’est chez une famille de rĂ©fugiĂ©s du coin qu’elle a trouvĂ© asile, ce qui a provoquĂ© un affrontement dans la communautĂ©. Ses protecteurs se sont confiĂ©s Ă  La Presse. RĂ©cit d’un sauvetage.
Publié le 09 septembre 2019 à 5h00
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Vincent Larouche Vincent Larouche
La Presse

L’adolescente est entrĂ©e en coup de vent dans l’appartement de la famille Al-Atrash*, sans cogner. Des gens Ă©taient Ă  ses trousses. Elle semblait terrorisĂ©e, Ă  bout de souffle. Elle avait besoin d’un endroit oĂč se cacher. Tout de suite.

« Ma famille veut me frapper, ma famille veut me frapper », rĂ©pĂ©tait-elle. Les rĂ©sidants des lieux ont voulu la calmer, lui offrir un verre d’eau. Ils n’arrivaient pas Ă  comprendre pourquoi elle faisait irruption ainsi chez eux. Mais ils voyaient bien qu’elle Ă©tait partie dans l’urgence, sans mĂȘme prendre le temps de mettre ses souliers.

Puis la porte d’entrĂ©e s’est ouverte Ă  nouveau. Six personnes ont fait irruption dans le modeste logement Ă  la suite de la jeune fille. Sa mĂšre, ses frĂšres, son fiancĂ© dans la vingtaine, ainsi que deux amis de ce dernier. Ils semblaient furieux, enragĂ©s, agressifs.

L’adolescente en fuite s’est prĂ©cipitĂ©e dans une chambre et a verrouillĂ© la porte. Sa mĂšre criait : « Je veux ma fille ! » Son fiancĂ© a pris son Ă©lan et commencĂ© Ă  donner de grands coups dans la porte de la piĂšce, qu’il a rĂ©ussi Ă  dĂ©foncer.

La jeune fille traquĂ©e tenait bon, appuyant son dos contre la porte brisĂ©e et poussant de toutes ses forces avec ses jambes sur le lit devant elle, pour bloquer l’entrĂ©e. « Je ne veux pas sortir ! », criait-elle.
Bousculade et corps Ă  corps

Les six membres de la famille Al-Atrash se sont interposĂ©s devant les intrus. Le pĂšre Al-Atrash criait au fiancĂ© : « Mais qu’est-ce que tu fais ? »

Une bousculade a Ă©clatĂ©. Cris, corps Ă  corps, cheveux tirĂ©s, chutes : le fiancĂ© a Ă©tĂ© blessĂ© Ă  une main. Enceinte, la mĂšre Al-Atrash a Ă©tĂ© poussĂ©e violemment, ce qui lui a causĂ© des douleurs au ventre qui l’ont menĂ©e Ă  l’hĂŽpital.

J’avais vraiment peur, ce n’était pas facile. Tout le monde pleurait.

Amira, la fille aßnée de la famille Al-Atrash

(La Presse a modifiĂ© le nom des membres de la famille, car la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse interdit de publier toute information qui permettrait d’identifier la victime dans cette affaire ou ses parents.)

Amira connaissait l’adolescente en fuite. Elles Ă©tudiaient dans des Ă©coles secondaires diffĂ©rentes, mais comme leurs familles avaient fui le mĂȘme pays du Moyen-Orient pour s’établir en tant que rĂ©fugiĂ©s dans le mĂȘme quartier Ă  Victoriaville, elles s’étaient liĂ©es d’amitiĂ©. Amira ne connaissait pas tous les dĂ©tails de la vie intime de son amie. Mais elle savait qu’on voulait la forcer Ă  Ă©pouser un homme dans la vingtaine. Et que la jeune fille ne voulait rien savoir de lui.

L’histoire du mariage forcĂ© auquel Ă©tait destinĂ©e l’adolescente a Ă©tĂ© rĂ©vĂ©lĂ©e vendredi matin par l’animateur Paul Arcand sur les ondes du 98,5 FM. Le lendemain, les six membres de la famille Al-Atrash ont acceptĂ© d’accorder une entrevue Ă  La Presse dans leur petit salon. Ils ont racontĂ© pour la premiĂšre fois cette journĂ©e tendue d’avril dernier et les dĂ©chirements qu’elle a provoquĂ©s dans la communautĂ© musulmane du Centre-du-QuĂ©bec.

Cinq mois plus tard, alors qu’ils se remĂ©morent le tout, le cadre de la porte de leur chambre Ă  coucher affiche encore des marques de violence.
Escorte policiĂšre

Dans le chaos ambiant, en cet aprĂšs-midi d’avril, le pĂšre Al-Atrash avait rĂ©ussi Ă  joindre le pĂšre de l’adolescente au tĂ©lĂ©phone. « Je lui ai dit qu’il parle Ă  son monde, que je ne voulais pas de problĂšmes », se remĂ©more-t-il. Finalement, un des frĂšres de l’adolescente en fuite a convenu qu’il n’était pas acceptable d’envahir ainsi la maison des gens. Il a fait sortir sa bande. La dispute s’est dĂ©placĂ©e dehors. L’adolescente refusait toujours de sortir, et les Al-Atrash faisaient Ă©cran pour la protĂ©ger.

Les patrouilleurs du poste de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ) de Victoriaville, accourus sur place, avaient bien du mal à comprendre ce qui se passait.

« Les policiers ont été appelés pour une altercation impliquant une vingtaine de personnes », raconte la sergente Ingrid Asselin, porte-parole de la SQ.

D’autres membres de la communautĂ© s’étaient mĂȘlĂ©s de la dispute. La situation Ă©tait confuse. « Les policiers parlaient français, mais tout le monde ici parlait arabe », se souvient le pĂšre Al-Atrash, qui suit des cours de francisation depuis so

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